Hypnosis is a natural state of mind, and it actually happens to us several times a day. Have you ever been on a journey, maybe driving yourself or sat on a train, thinking about what you need to do that day or the film you watched the night before, and suddenly you look up and realise that you have arrived? You have been in a hypnotic state. Your conscious mind has wandered off to daydream, and your subconscious has come forward. But if something happened during the journey, like a car breaking unexpectedly in front of you or an announcement on the intercom, you would ‘snap back’ and act appropriately. This is because your subconscious is always alert and aware, and looking out for your wellbeing.
On its own hypnosis is simply a calm, tranquil feeling, but when used in therapy, it can produce powerful results.
The British Society of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis states: "hypnosis usually involves the person experiencing a sense of deep relaxation with their attention narrowed down, and focused on appropriate suggestions made by the therapist." Your subconscious cares for you, and will do whatever it believes you need to keep you safe. But sometimes a past event gives the subconscious the wrong impression of what it is we need. It tries to protect us from future bad events by making us react to anything that reminds it of that first bad event. Suggestions made during hypnotherapy will help your subconscious understand what you truly need, and counteract the impressions left by that first damaging event.
In hypnotherapy, there is no controlling people’s minds, no sleep like state where you wake with no idea of what has happened to you with your mind changed. In a hypnotherapy session you are always in control. Hypnosis could be seen, ultimately, as self-hypnosis, with a hypnotherapist merely helping to facilitate your experience; ‘to guide you through’. Hypnotherapy is not about being made to do things, in fact it's the opposite; it's about empowerment.
During a hypnotherapy session the therapist would be able to, not only converse with your subconscious, but also have you start a dialogue with your subconscious. This will lead to the issues that effect you, even if you didn’t know they were troubling you. Sometime we can suppress things, bury them deep in the back of our minds, but these things still have an effect on us, shaping how we react to day to day life and our thoughts and feelings. With suggestions the hypnotherapist can insert ideas (discussed with the client before hand) straight into the subconscious, bypassing any barriers that prevent you from doing so yourself. With analysis the hypnotherapist can delve deeper (and quicker) into your issues and truly find what troubles you.
Hypnoanalysis involves you speaking to me, under hypnosis, and exploring your mind, your issues, and any memories, thoughts or feelings that are causing you to be stuck in unhelpful cycles.
Hypnotherapy can help with a wide and diverse list of issues that we can all face in our day to day lives. From general anxiety to identified issues, if you are willing to commit to each session, then hypnotherapy is a very powerful tool. Maybe you don’t know what’s troubling you, or maybe there’s an issue that you can’t seem to fix; because there is something you don’t recognise underneath. Hypnotherapy can help you identify what’s really going on, and guide you to a way to fixing it.
Issues that hypnotherapy can help with
Fear of flying,
Fear of driving,
Fear of the dentist,
Fear of animals,
Fear of public speaking,
Fear of spiders,
Fear of what other people think.
And many, many more.
The number of sessions required can vary for each issue and each person. It is important, with any therapy, that you commit to the work and continue coming, even if you come across something uncomfortable. By facing these things, you can explore them, process them, and let them go.
No, I can't make you cluck like a chicken*
That would be the main myth that has to be busted here. Not just the whole chicken themed issue, but the idea that I can make you do anything you don’t want to do. I can't. During hypnosis you will be relaxed and open to suggestion, but only suggestions that you have previously discussed and agreed upon. Your conscious mind will be allowed to wander as your subconscious comes to the foreground, but if anything happens during hypnosis that you don’t like, your conscious mind will immediately come back. When travelling in a car or a bus or a train, on a journey you know well, you may find yourself drifting off into your thoughts, but if something happens - a loud sound or a jolt - you will snap back. That is hypnosis, and the same would happen in the session room.
And now to the second myth; ‘I have no willpower!’
Yes, you do. You may think that you don’t, but you have more than enough to make the changes in your life that you really want to make. You also have enough willpower to resist hypnosis if you want! So building trust between client and therapist is very important, this is why I offer a free consultation, so we can discover if we can work together, before you commit.
Thirdly, ‘I don’t feel like I was hypnotised, I didn’t feel very different.'
Hypnosis feels different for every person. Some people feel a light relaxation and are conscious of everything, other people reach a thoroughly deep state and feel as if no time has passed. It doesn’t matter, as long as you commit to your session.
*Unless you really want to.