What is hypnotherapy?
I'm a hypnotherapist, but in reality, hypnosis is only one small part of the work I do to help people with their emotional (mental) health. The rest of the time I might be actively listening, assisting a client to reframe unhelpful thoughts, teaching them self-hypnosis or breathwork techniques for anxiety, or empowering strategies to boost their confidence. A lot of the work I do doesn't involve hypnosis at all, and is much more about coaching and equipping people to live their very best life.
There are a whole heap of misconceptions and myths attached to hypnosis, which means that unfortunately a lot of people may never even consider it as a therapy for personal change.
So what actually IS hypnotherapy and why might it be useful to you?
Hypnotherapy is a collaborative process between therapist and client, and as with any therapy, a commitment to change is required on the part of the client.
We drift in and out of hypnotic 'trances' several times a day without even realising; it's natural to all of us, and therefore we can all be hypnotised. My role is to help a person remove the negative trances that that have begun to affect their life and replace them with new, more positive ones.
There is much debate over the best way to describe hypnosis. My definition is this - a highly focused attention which uses the power of the imagination in order to bring about change in a person's thoughts, feelings, behaviours or perceptions.
Therapeutic hypnosis is a process that most people find really enjoyable and relaxing. It can feel a little like daydreaming; your conscious awareness drifts in and out of the experience, and this provides an opportunity to speak directly to the unconscious mind, the (non-physical) part of us where all our deep-seated beliefs and memories live. This is the point at which we can offer new, more appropriate suggestions and bring about the desired change.
There's absolutely NO mind control involved - despite this drifting of your conscious mind you'll always be awake and aware. The people you see in hypnosis stage shows are doing those crazy things because they have willingly agreed to be part of the show and have been chosen for their high level of hypnotisability.
Hypnotherapy is effective for a range of conditions - amongst other things, I work with anxiety and stress, fears and phobias, weight management and relationships with food, stopping smoking and other unwanted habits, building motivation and confidence, pain management and trauma release. The COVID pandemic has been a major trigger for a lot of people. Old traumas and buried emotions are re-emerging and causing unexpected anxiety and fear.
The number of sessions required depends very much on the individual and what their goal is. Very occasionally one session is all that's needed - but between three and five sessions is usually the average. Hypnotherapy can be incredibly fast and effective, so I never lock people into long programmes - I want them to fly free and fly high as soon as they are able, knowing they will have my support every step of the way.
The truth of the matter is that all hypnosis is self-hypnosis - my role is simply to guide my clients into a place where it becomes easy for them to make these changes themselves. And that is a really magical moment and one I'm hugely privileged to witness!