To explain what hypnosis is, let us first explain what it’s not. There is nothing mystical or magical about hypnosis, it’s not a magic wand, it doesn’t involve mind control and you won’t be clucking like a chicken (unless you specifically want to!). Therapeutic hypnosis has nothing to do with stage hypnosis, which is designed purely for entertainment purposes.
Hypnotherapy involves therapeutic hypnosis. It is a focussed state of attention, which is described by many as extremely relaxed and trance-like. In this relaxed state of awareness, the Hypnotherapist makes suggestions to the client that can be experienced as changes in sensations, perceptions, thoughts or behaviour.
It can be used to help you access or develop powerful personal resources that can be directed towards achieving your goals. For example:
In fact, hypnotherapy can be used to resolve any issues that may be having a negative impact on your life.
There is a body of clinical evidence that supports hypnosis when conducted by a qualified, skilled, professional therapist.
For example, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends it for certain conditions.
Hypnotherapy is often considered to be a brief therapy, and can resolve many issues in as little as 1 or 2 sessions, however usually we are looking at between 4-6 sessions for most issues. At Alternatives, we adopt a solution-focussed approach to therapy, which includes developing a positive mindset, and a belief that you already have the answers within you.
For it to work effectively, the client and the therapist form a therapeutic relationship. This means we work together; we have an open and honest dialog; we feel comfortable with each other and we work towards a specific outcome or goal.
Hypnotherapy is a collaborative process that includes carefully crafted suggestions that work in harmony with the goal of therapy. Each experience is unique as it is tailor-made to suit the individual. A good hypnotherapist does not adhere to the “one-size-fits-all” approach and will form a treatment plan in accordance with the client’s needs and the issue presented, encouraging a flexible open mind and a positive orientation.
During a session, our therapist will discuss the issue and the goal of therapy, and teach you how to enter hypnosis and use whichever method(s) she thinks will bring about the greatest benefit to you.
She may use a combination of methods, depending on your needs and the issue involved. An integrated approach might include one or more methods in which our hypnotherapist is trained and qualified:
Hypnosis is a powerful and flexible tool that can be used to enhance any method of therapy.
Hypnosis accesses a powerful connection between the conscious mind and what we call the “unconscious” mind. It’s like a bridge that integrates two different parts of the brain so they can work together effectively. The mind can then influence the body to make subtle changes in experience, bringing about positive, lasting change. Any suggestion can be accepted or rejected by the client so you remain in control of your experience at all times.
Hypnotherapy not only helps with issues like stress, anxiety, weight management and giving up smoking, it can also alleviate pain and the symptoms of IBS; bring about emotional and physical wellbeing; remove energetic blockages; stop self-sabotage and create an empowering vision of the future.
In a hypnotic trance, a person becomes more receptive to suggestions, especially ones that are aligned to what they really want. A trance is a natural state that we all enter many times a day, for example when deeply engrossed in a good book, or watching a gripping movie, or when we drive home and forget the last 10 miles of the journey – the conscious mind is busy focussing on something and the unconscious mind takes over. At some point we become aware that we have “drifted off” or we might not hear someone who is talking to us.
You can enter a light, medium or deep trance. In a light trance you may be aware of the sounds in the room and the sounds of the hypnotherapist’s voice – this is normal. In a deep trance you may be so relaxed that it might feel like you are asleep and you may not remember everything that happens. It’s a bit like zoning out, drifting off, or day-dreaming. However, you will usually be able to focus on the suggestions, either consciously or unconsciously.
Most people report a deeply relaxed state that they would like to stay longer in. We also use uptime alert hypnosis, which means your eyes will be open. Every experience is unique.
During a session, you can learn how to use self-hypnosis to bring about positive change, using auto-suggestion and mental rehearsal. This is a method of combining suggestion with visualisation and activating it with positive emotion. It can help you to prepare for a difficult situation such as going for an interview. You can also use self-hypnosis to reduce physical pain. Hypnosis switches off the stress hormones and many people like to use self-hypnosis to relax and rebalance after a hard day.
No, no one has ever got stuck in hypnosis. What happens towards the end of the session is the therapist will prepare and guide you back to full conscious awareness. During the session, you are always in control and you can bring yourself up and out of trance whenever you want to, however most people want to stay there longer.
It starts with a chat over the phone or in person, to see how hypnotherapy can help you. Then we book the initial consultation. This will include a full history of the issue and you will have a chance to talk about anything on your mind: your hopes and fears, your dreams and wishes for the future. This discussion helps us to identify your therapeutic goals and form a plan to get you from stuck to unstuck.
Each session builds upon the last one and you will usually be given tasks that will enhance the work we do. This might involve practicing a hypnotic technique, learning how to relax in a certain way, or listening to a hypnosis audio.
Sometimes, for certain medical conditions, it may be necessary to obtain the approval of your GP, or we may need to inform them of a plan of action.
No, you will only tell the hypnotherapist what you want to tell them. You are in control all the time.
Firstly, be aware that there are people who practice hypnosis without qualifications and without insurance. Choose a hypnotherapist who is registered with a professional body, well qualified and insured, and find someone you can talk to easily and feel comfortable with.