What is Hypnotherapy?
Put simply, hypnotherapy employs hypnosis, or trance, for therapeutic purposes. Hypnosis is merely a form of focused thinking or concentrated attention whilst relaxed, and crucially is where we can communicate with your subconscious mind with the express intention of effecting beneficial changes. Hypnosis is easy to attain – we ordinarily engage in this form of trance many times a day, often without being aware of it. For instance, we apparently daydream for 15-50% of the day; or we may drift off whilst listening to music or watching television, or we lose track of our environment whilst driving. This state, where importantly, we are particularly open to positive suggestions and in touch with the wisdom of our subconscious minds, can be reproduced in the therapy room through guided relaxation and imagery.
The way I work, I guide from behind to enable you to strategically employ hypnosis to access your subconscious mind – your greatest ally – to sense the best and key ways forward for you, so that you can come up with solutions to problems, and develop positive forms of behaviour and thinking, which will then become your automatic response.
Consequently, you will make beneficial differences to the way you think, the way you feel and the way you react, by replacing old patterns of behaviour and thinking with new more positive ones, thus enabling you to cope so much better with life’s challenges. The therapy focuses on your strengths and resources, enabling you to imagine and look forward to a better, happier future where you are in control of your thoughts, feelings and actions in a positive way.
If you have experienced unpleasant or traumatic events in the past which adversely impact on your life, we shall of course, if appropriate and if you wish, acknowledge they happened, and then enable you to ‘put things to bed’ on your terms, so that you can regain control and move forward. Crucially, please be reassured that you will never relive any trauma: that would be completely counterproductive. Once these issues have been resolved sufficiently, we shall then work on getting you from where you are to where you want to be.
Furthermore, I teach clients self hypnosis to allow them to work on, for instance, chronic pain or their immune systems, again by communicating with and taking direction from their subconscious minds. These techniques are easy to learn and, used intensively, produce valuable, welcome and lasting rewards.
What it is not
First of all, please be reassured that you will not be made to cluck like a chicken, or bark like a dog! This is the stuff of stage hypnotism, which bears no relation to hypnotherapy at all. Moreover, many people believe that hypnotherapy is something that is done to them: that they explain their issue to the therapist who then simply hypnotises their problem away, as if by magic. This is not the case.
Rather, hypnotherapy is a much more collaborative process, and it is crucial to understand that change happens because you want it to and because you are prepared to work with me and take the necessary steps to allow it to happen.
Additionally, contrary to the image commonly portrayed in films, books and the media, hypnosis does not involve the therapist taking control of your mind. In the approaches adopted in hypnotherapy, you cannot be hypnotised against your will, and neither can you become stuck in a trance. You will always be aware of your surroundings and what is going on, and you will not do, say or think anything you do not want to: your subconscious mind will always operate in your best interests.
How long does it take?
Hypnotherapy generally works comparatively quickly because we focus on solutions and future change, unlike psychotherapy and other talking therapies which tend to spend time analysing problems. Length of treatment depends on the issues you want to address, and your commitment to effecting change. However, there are two exceptions:
Stopping smoking takes two sessions; and specific phobias take the initial consultation followed by three sessions.
Please note that hypnotherapy is a complementary therapy, and thereby does not replace medical intervention. Your GP should always be your first port of call.