Hypnotherapy FAQ

What is Hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy is the practice of hypnosis for therapeutic purposes. Hypnosis is not a state of sleep at all. Actually hypnosis is a sleep of the nervous system where your body is relaxed and your mind is alert and receptive to new suggestions, so rather than being asleep and unaware of what is going on around you, you are in a state of heightened awareness but also incredibly relaxed and in this relaxed state you are more suggestible and more open to suggestions because the critical factor (the part of your mind that screens thoughts and suggestions) shuts down while the subconscious mind, which is highly open to suggestion, takes over. Hypnosis is a trance like, naturally occurring state of mind that can bring you into a safe, natural state of relaxation. There are many schools of thought on this, but it is generally agreed that it is a state of focused attention which uses both the conscious and unconscious mind to facilitate change. You have probably experienced hypnosis naturally thousands of times whether you are aware of it or not. Normal, everyday hypnosis occurs when you are driving down the road and lose track of time, or when you are focusing on a book or a good film – often you don’t notice what is going on around you. You are not asleep, and you are in control. It’s an imaginative free-floating and pleasant state of mind where you’re far more aware than usual but also a lot more focused. Brain scans on people who are in hypnosis show that brain wave activity moves from a Beta state to an Alpha state, and sometimes, to a Theta state. This is not dissimilar to the pattern of brain activity during meditation.

Is Hypnosis Safe?

Yes. Hypnosis is safe because you are in control the whole time. Hypnosis has been approved by the British Medical Association in 1955 and the American Medical Association in 1958. The American Psychological Association approved hypnosis as a science in 1960. For over 200 years prior to official recognition medical and psychological professionals were using hypnosis to benefit their patients.

Who Can Be Hypnotised?

Anyone who can follow simple instructions can be hypnotised if they choose be. Hypnosis cannot be done against a person’s will, and is safe and effective for adults, teenagers and children. Studies conducted at Stanford University have shown that intelligence is not an important factor in determining an individual’s ability to respond favourably to hypnosis; although statistically there is some evidence to indicate that persons with higher intelligence and greater creative abilities tend to be somewhat more responsive to suggestion. In fact the ability to be hypnotised is often a learned trait. You can teach your body and mind to go into trance, and get better and better at it as you practice self – hypnosis. All hypnosis is self – hypnosis.

What is the difference between the Conscious and Subconscious Mind?

The Conscious part of our mind deals with reasoning, calculating, analyzing and remembering what we need to get through the day. The Subconscious houses all of our permanent memories, creativity, belief systems perceptions and programmed habits and behaviour. Hypnotherapy can bring the Subconscious back in harmony with the Conscious, so our experience reflects what we want, not what we are conditioned to accept.

What is Hypnotherapy used for?

Hypnotherapy can be used to improve, and in many cases entirely remove, any symptom or challenge that is caused by emotions, habits, behaviour or psychological issues. Experts now agree that many life problems, including physical disease, may have underlying causative factors that are predominantly psychological or emotional. Hypnotherapy works well with any issue involving psychological/emotional factors. Resolving a problem that’s “inside you but feels out of your control” can give you your life back. As well as resolving problems, many now use hypnotherapy to improve performance in sport, business, study, the arts and personal relationships.

How Does Hypnotherapy Work?

The most powerful feature of the trance state is how it connects our conscious minds to our subconscious minds. Think of subconscious mind as a computer’s file system. Our subconscious is like our hard drive, where we store every experience, emotion, belief and thought we’ve had. In the relaxed, hyper-focused state of hypnosis, and under the guidance of a hypnotherapist, we can run a Google search on our subconscious, pulling up the repressed memories and buried emotions at the root of our mental health challenges. Each unhealthy current behavior, such as smoking, losing one’s temper, excessive alcohol consumption, or compulsive overeating has a chain of events that laid the foundation for all of our current unhealthy choices. Through the ‘memory chip’ that has been laid down in the subconscious mind, we can trace back the experiences and subconscious decisions we made as children that may be leading us to the behavior that is no longer healthy for us. This goes well beyond simple suggestibility.

Am I in Control? What about the part where the hypnotist tricks you into quacking like a duck or doing their evil bidding?

A Hypnotherapist cannot make you do anything you don’t want to, even if it’s good for you. Forget what you’ve seen in the movies and on TV, you are actually more in control of your mind & body during hypnosis than at any other time because your attention is focused. Clinical hypnosis is very different from stage hypnosis, so you will not be asked to do anything that is foolish or useless. It is impossible to get “stuck” in hypnosis. You are awake, aware, and in control the whole time. Hypnosis requires your consent and rather than someone controlling you, it enables you to feel more in control of your own life. Stage hypnosis is entertainment, where a willing member of the audience volunteers to demonstrate the power of their imagination.

What are the types of Hypnotherapy that you use?

Herer are SOMEof the tecniques I use Solution-focused hypnotherapy: Solution-focused simply means that the hypnotherapist works with the client in order to create and work towards a solution, rather than focusing simply on ‘getting rid of the problem’… It’s generally much more effective to work ‘towards something’ (a goal), as opposed to ‘away from something’ (a problem). Behavioural hypnotherapy: This helps the client to modify their current (or future) behaviours and habits. by will work collaboratively with the client during the intake/case history process (before the hypnotherapy begins) to agree on appropriate changes. They then use hypnotherapy techniques and hypnotic suggestions to support and embed these behavioural changes. Using hypnotherapy to support behavioural changes enables clients to better ‘stick to it’ and carry on the changes after the session is over. This is often one of the ‘least intrusive’ types of hypnotherapy, hence why it’s usually the first approach used by professional hypnotherapists. Cognitive hypnotherapy: Cognitive hypnotherapy techniques focus less on behaviours/habits and more on the thoughts and beliefs relating to those behaviours. Sometimes the mind can ‘get stuck’ in unhelpful ways of thinking (that may once have served a positive purpose). Cognitive hypnotherapy can help clients to ‘update’ their beliefs on a ‘subconscious level’, meaning that they begin to think about things differently. Cognitive techniques can draw from a range of different therapies and theories, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), rational emotive behaviour therapy (REBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and even mindfulness approaches. I, as with all other branches of hypnotherapy, will choose the right approach to meet the client’s personal requirements, goals and values. Analytical hypnotherapy (or hypno-analysis): Using ideas and approaches from the analytical school of psychotherapy, analytical hypnotherapy is used to identify ‘why’ a client has a problem, or why they’re doing what they’re doing. Many analytical hypnotherapists work to find ‘root causes’, with a view to helping the client respond to said causes differently. Analytical therapists also help clients to find ‘insight’ within themselves, because sometimes we have ‘the answers’ within us, yet we may not be aware of them. Ericksonian hypnotherapy: Named after Milton H. Erickson, an American psychiatrist and hypnotist (and a key figure of modern hypnotherapy), Ericksonian hypnotherapy uses ‘indirect suggestions’, storytelling/metaphors and more ‘off the wall’ approaches in order to create changes in clients, whether on a behavioural, cognitive or even analytical level. Ericksonian hypnotherapy (when performed properly) can be highly effective, however there are some hypnotherapists that label their approaches as ‘Ericksonian’ when in fact they are not. True Ericksonian hypnotherapy is highly adapted to each individual client and tends to rely on the therapist’s innate ability to judge what type of intervention a client needs. Whether a story relating to their problem, a challenging homework task to break a habit, an abrupt and confrontational conversation or even simple, indirect suggestions relating to their goal… Fundamentally, Ericksonian hypnotherapy can be thought of as a combination of many different therapeutic approaches, but in it’s simplest form (the form that is most often taught by modern hypnotherapy schools), it refers more to metaphors and indirect suggestions (which can be a very useful tool in creating change with clients). Regression hypnotherapy (or regression to cause): Regression (or ‘regression to cause’) refers to taking a client back in their mind to past events that may have some bearing on their problem. It’s worth noting that regression doesn’t have to be used to access negative events/memories, regression can also be used to access past resource states and positive memories too. In terms of therapy, regression is often one of the last approaches a I will use (or should be), because most of the time a behavioural, cognitive or analytical approach will be much easier on the client (psychologically). When I works through the above-mentioned approaches first, I’ll usually find a more appropriate/effective solution for the client, without needing to ‘go back’ and search for a potential cause (which could potentially re-traumatise the client). On some occasions I might use regression as a first approach, but usually this will only be for phobias/fears. The reason I might use regressions for phobias as a first approach is because it’s highly likely that the phobia relates to a past event (often from childhood). Working with said event will often be the key to removing the phobia (though I could use non-regression approaches to work with phobias too).

What is the proof that hypnosis works?

The fact that hypnosis works and is an incredible, painless and fast way to change behavior has been proven over and over again because its impact on the brain can be measured scientifically. There is scientific evidence that something happens in the brain when people are hypnotized that does not happen when they are not hypnotized. Hypnotherapy has a genuine effect on the functioning of the mind, as well as the body. Hypnosis was used in ancient times in Egypt to cure women of infertility. The word hypnosis originates from Hypnos the Greek God of sleep. Hypnosis was practiced as ‘animal magnetism’ 200 years ago in Vienna then France by Dr Franz Anton Mesmer, which is where the word mesmerized comes from. In the 1950s medical hypnosis began to gain credibility as more reliable measures of hypnotizability were developed and the research into the many benefits of hypnosis gained validity. Stanford University was the first to establish a reliable “yardstick” of susceptibility called the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scales. The Stanford scale showed that almost everyone can be hypnotized. Today, it is understood and accepted that hypnosis can be an important part of treatment for many conditions including medical conditions, which is why it is used in many leading hospitals including Great Ormond St, Addenbrooks and UCLA. Recent medical research using modern brain imaging techniques shows that the connections in the brain are different during hypnosis.