Frequently Asked Questions
Common Questions about Hypnotherapy
Hypnosis is the process of entering a state of deep relaxation. It is a natural trance state, like daydreaming, when the mind is at ease and focused and where time seems to pass quickly. It is accompanied by positive feelings of a deeply relaxed mind and body. This deep relaxation helps your subconscious (or unconscious mind) become more attentive and receptive to ideas and so open to desired change.
Hypnotherapy is a treatment that acknowledges that the mind and body do not work in isolation. By enabling you to become totally relaxed, I can help you channel your body’s mental and physical self-healing processes that lie in your subconscious. It is your unconscious mind that has the power to make the permanent changes you need. When undergoing hypnotherapy, you are open to the power of suggestion but cannot be induced to do anything against your will; you remain in control at all times. It is a completely safe and effective form of therapy.
We all experience trance states in our every day lives, perhaps when we are so absorbed in a task that everything else is forgotten and time passes unnoticed; so trance is a natural state that your mind has experienced frequently already.
You can choose to sit or lie down and I will help you to relax, and from here guide you, with words, into a hypnotic trance. You will probably want to close your eyes. Once in a trance you will not loose control, you will be able to move [scratch your head for example] and be aware of what is going on around you. I find that when in trance I am more aware of the every day sounds, perhaps the ticking of the clock, but they don’t seem to matter. Some people describe it as an altered state of mind; your mind becomes will become quieter and calmer. You will still be in full control, when we become entranced by a good book or film we block out the world but would still respond to someone urgently calling our name, hypnotherapeutic trance is no different! You cannot get ‘stuck’ in a trance and there are no adverse side effects. Some clients are able to clearly remember everything I say, however some remember only snippets; either way is perfectly normal. You may find yourself recalling some of the themes and suggestions between our sessions, again this is usual; your mind is revisiting the ideas and working on solutions.
So trance is a hyper-attentive state and when your mind is calm and relaxed together we will be able to bring about the changes you want and help to focus on positive behaviour.
As we know our minds are complicated things! I like to see them as icebergs; the conscious mind, the wakeful part, is the part above the water, the part of the brain that we are aware of and what is seen by the world. The part of the iceberg under the water is our unconscious mind, hidden, the area we associate with dreams and sleep, the part we usually keep to ourselves. Our conscious part has the ability to analyse, reason and make value judgments. It usually decides what is possible and impossible for us to do, so the limitations we place on ourselves are often based on a conscious assessment of our life experiences
The unconscious part [sometimes referred to as the sub-conscious] seems to have a far greater capacity for information than the conscious part; psychologists have known for years that we process an enormous amount of information here.
Our reality is created through the conscious mind communicating with the unconscious mind. Sometimes this communication breaks down and the unconscious tries to protect us by locking away distressing issues and these can make us anxious or even physically ill.
The pleasant, relaxing feeling hypnotherapy provides can remain with you for some time after leaving the session. I will also give you a number of techniques that will enable you to recreate these positive feelings at any time. You will be able to drive, return to work etc. with no adverse effects.
The overall effects of the therapy can remain with you for life. I will encourage you to use self-hypnosis and relaxation away from the sessions and these you can adapt as you need. Many find that the benefits gained from the hypnotherapy have a positive impact in other areas of their lives.
Anyone who has experienced daydreaming or just zoned out for a while has experienced a hypnotic trance. As it is a ‘talking therapy’ children under 5 and those with severe learning difficulties may find it unsuitable. I will never hypnotise anyone who is not willing.
Both client and therapist need to feel safe and comfortable with each other. I will not continue working with a client who becomes violent or abusive.
Hypnotherapists often have areas in which they are more knowledgeable and skilful or in which they have a personal interest. If I feel that you would be better served by another hypnotherapist or a different type of therapy I will suggest this to you.
I use a variety of methods; choosing those that I feel will be most suited to you. One that I use, and can teach you, is progressive relaxation, this helps you to focus on and relax all parts of your body. An alternative approach is to talk you through a pleasant journey perhaps along a beautiful beach or though a tranquil wood; I will always use a destination that suits you. I do ask for your feedback and often incorporate your interests and use your favourite inductions in future sessions.
You remain in control; hypnosis is not a truth pill. Everything discussed is done so in confidence. I do ask all clients to tell me if they are taking recreational or medicinal drugs. As a fully registered hypnotherapist I am bound by the same confidentiality agreements and ethical codes as doctors and other registered therapists.
I suggest that you choose clothes that you feel comfortable wearing. Some clients feel happier not wearing contact lenses but this is personal preference. Eating and drinking beforehand is also fine, but I do ask that you avoid alcohol. Likewise stimulants such as tea, coffee, colas and cigarettes taken before a session may make relaxation that little harder.
Most of us enjoy this form of entertainment but it can cause confusion especially if you want to understand hypnosis and how it works. Films, some television programmes and stage shows give the impression that people are in the total control of the hypnotist. Far from it, the so called ‘victims’ are in control, they have volunteered and want the chance to perform, whether as a dancing chicken or holding a conversation with a hat stand. They are in their element; all they needed was the right suggestion and a stage to perform upon. In hypnotherapy you and I will have agreed on the suggestions and from this point the world is your stage.
I can’t give guarantees. It is not a magic cure-all but is has helped a great number of people on a great number of occasions. It is a partnership: while you are in trance I will give you suggestions to empower you to reach your goals and achieve the changes you want.
Each session will last about an hour; sometimes they may be a little longer or a little shorter as I always ensure that my client gets the maximum benefit and the session ends positively.
Most treatment will probably take several sessions. The number will depend upon the nature of your problem and whether there are any contributing factors that also need resolving; your motivation and goals. Most issues can be successfully treated within 3 and 6 sessions, however some deep rooted or complex problems may take longer. If you compare this to other psychotherapy treatments, which can take from 10 to 20 sessions, hypnotherapy is a very effective short term answer, and clients usually report improvements fairly quickly.
No, but I do ask that if your problem is medical [e.g. allergy, IBS, skin complaint] that it is properly diagnosed by your doctor first and that if you are on prescribed medication you continue taking it. Likewise, if you are receiving any psychological counselling, I would ask that this too, continues alongside my work.
I may need to contact your doctor or psychologist if I need to have a greater understanding of your condition or to make sure that our sessions together compliment their work. This will only be done with your written permission.
A smoker can consciously know smoking is harmful and yet is compelled to smoke. Many are fully aware and understand the government health warnings; that smoking is increasing socially unacceptability; its high cost; its unpleasant smell and taste; etc. but none of these can override the powerful unconscious habit. Hypnotherapy tackles the unconscious desire to smoke.
An overweight person may be overeating or eating unhealthy foods even though consciously knowing this is unhealthy and wanting change. The unconscious mind has different ideas but these are hidden from view. The person cannot understand why they yo-yo diet. This is because the unconscious desire to eat too much and the wrong types of food keep silently winning despite the conscious efforts to stop. Specific hypnotic suggestions to eat healthily can change this.
Everyone, including people with arachnophobia, knows British spiders pose no threat whatsoever. Even with this conscious knowledge, they still find their unconscious fears taking over when faced with a spider. Hypnotherapy builds confidence and helps the client to explore and deal with the initial cause [e.g. having one thrown at them].
Hypnotherapy can be used for many medical problems. We shouldn’t regard the mind and body as if they are separate entities. A mind that is stressed can cause ulcers in the body. Often just thinking about something, whether it is pleasurable or distressing, can make your heart race and give your stomach butterflies. Our minds and bodies are part of the same system.
Hypnotherapy has been used successfully to treat, manage or improve many medical complaints including, asthma, burns, wounds, skin problems, menstrual problems, IBS and many more (see a more comprehensive list here). Hypnosis has been used for dental work and even major surgery where people are allergic to anaesthetic.