What is hypnosis?
What is trance?
What is hypnotherapy?
Are there any myths around hypnotherapy?
Why do people choose hypnotherapy?
What is the process of hypnotherapy?
Are there any people or problems you don't work with?
Is 'clinical' hypnotherapy different?
What does trance feel like?
How is trance induced?
Can anyone be hypnotised?
Is hypnosis safe?
What if I don't experience trance?
Can I speak during trance?
Will it be distressing?
Are there any side-effects?
Will I reveal personal secrets?
Can I eat, drink or smoke before sessions?
How will I feel afterwards?
Hypnosis comes from the Greek word 'hypnos' which means 'sleep'. We now know that trance and sleep are different states. Hypnosis is the process of inducing a trance. The term is sometimes used in place of 'hypnotherapy'. This is incorrect because hypnosis itself does not involve therapy (it can be used for other purposes, such as creating a trance for entertainment or relaxation).
Everyone has experienced everyday trances such as:
- You were so involved in chatting to someone that sense of time disappeared.
- You're enjoying a drink that you don't remember making.
- You became engrossed in a film or book.
- You see a child's eyes glaze over as they are told a bedtime story.
- Performing repetitive tasks and 'losing yourself', such as mowing the lawn.
These are natural trance states. A hypnotherapist induces the same pleasant, relaxed state deliberately. You will become very focused and able to concentrate more on the things that will bring about solutions to your problem.
Client are encouraged to enter into trance and then offered hypnotic suggestions. When someone is in a trance, they are more open to suggestions, and can therefore be encouraged to think and behave differently. However, you can't be made to do anything you don't already want to do. Suggestions are ideas, normally based on our earlier discussion, e.g., "You can enjoy feeling relaxed and put these troublesome memories behind you."
A stage hypnotist will use the client's suggestibility to entertain people. A hypnotherapist will use suggestibility to bring about positive changes in the client's life.
The mind has two parts, the conscious mind and subconscious mind. We use our conscious mind when we think. The subconscious mind is hidden beyond our awareness. In addition to its more positive aspects, it is also responsible for habits, impulses, emotions, irrational thoughts and some illnesses.
When in a trance, the client's busy conscious mind relaxes allowing their subconscious mind to come to the fore. The therapist can then speak to a more receptive and focused subconscious mind to create deep-rooted and lasting change.
Film, TV and comics portray the hypnotist as a 'mind-controller'. In fact, you will only do things you want to do. If you wish, you can refuse to enter a trance, bring yourself out of trance, and reject any suggestions made.
Hypnotherapists are sometimes regarded as being the same as stage hypnotists. Stage is a place for entertainment and people cooperate in that frame of reference. Uncooperative people are returned to the audience. In a therapy room we are working towards clinical goals rather than 'dancing like a chicken'!
A common myth is that hypnotherapy is a 'magic wand' or 'miracle cure'. Your own effort is likely to be required.
Another myth is that hypnotherapy is difficult to explain scientifically and therefore it doesn't work. This is rather like saying breathing oxygen didn't work until science understood it. Lots of scientific studies have shown hypnotherapy to be effective, we just don't yet quite know why.
There are lots of reasons. Here are some of the common ones:
- Recommendations from people who have benefited.
- Referral from a doctor, psychologist, psychotherapist, or another hypnotherapist.
- Medicine is not working and the client wants something additional or different.
- The client wants to tackle unconscious problems.
- Other therapies have not worked.
The process can vary considerably because I tailor therapy to you and your needs. Everyone is different. Still, I can provide a general guide:
- Have a read around this website and decide if you might like to work with me.
- Call me, without obligation, to chat about your needs and any questions.
- If you are happy to proceed, you can book an appointment.
- Your first session is an assessment. I can make sure I am likely to be able to assist, and get an idea of how many sessions are likely. No trance is induced on this session. It's all about getting the facts together in preparation for the course of therapy.
- At the next session, with your readiness and permisison, I induce a trance.
- While in trance I provide hypnotic suggestions and sometimes as more questions. Insight into causes and solutions often emerge at this stage.
- Each session will involve some talking, e.g., about progress and any new information, and some trance work.
- Therapy is brought to an end when the client thinks the solution is in place or earlier if they prefer.
There are always problems that a hypnotherapist feels comfortable dealing with in terms of their knowledge, skills, interests, personal values, etc. and other problems they do not work with. If a therapist is not comfortable working with a problem or client they may refer the client on to another therapist.
Therapists need to feel comfortable and safe. They would not work with someone they felt posed a risk to them. Anyone who became abusive would be asked to leave therapy immediately and permanently, for example.
If someone became attached to the therapist they would be referred on to another therapist and, with permission, their case notes would be passed on.
Most hypnotherapists do not work with:
- Children under the age of 5
- People with severe learning disabilities or cognitive impairments.
- Clients suffering severe mental problems if they pose a risk to the therapist.
- Clients who are forced to come to sessions against their will e.g., being pushed into it by a partner.
'Clinical hypnotherapy' is the same as 'hypnotherapy'. The process would be the same under either term and the therapist would have the same skills.
The experience varies from person to person. Trance is pleasant, relaxing and peaceful. Some people experience mild tingling sensations, warmth, peace, drifting, floating, lightness, heaviness or imagery. It is so pleasurable for some people that they resent being brought out of trance! Other people hardly notice the trance; they just feel their mind wandering a little.
Usually clients find themselves going deeper in subsequent sessions. Any concerns usually disappear once the client realises how positive the experience is.
There are lots of different techniques. A common approach would be closing your eyes, breathing exercises, relaxing your muscles and then a pleasant visualised journey along a beautiful stream, beach or up a mountain, etc. Another induction involves staring at a picture or object. I am trained to use special language patterns and techniques to help your conscious mind relax. I don't use the domineering techniques that are usually seen in stage hypnosis.
If you have experienced daydreaming, getting 'lost' in a film, book, music, or a boring or repetitive task, you have already experienced a trance. People with severe learning difficulties and children under the age of 5 can experience trance but may find it more difficult to benefit from a 'talking therapy'. A client does not have to want to relax, or even be able to relax, although they might as well take time out and enjoy the process even more! It helps if the client and therapist have good rapport and trust, and if the client genuinely wants to achieve their goals and is expecting a powerful form of 'assistance' rather than a 'miracle cure'.
Hypnosis can be resisted and I would not hypnotise someone against their will. The depth of trance is normally unimportant.
Hypnosis and trance are 100% natural and safe - you already undoubtedly experience trance regularly in day-to-day life. You cannot get 'stuck' in a hypnotic state. You remain aware of yourself and your surroundings and you can voluntarily terminate the trance at any point. You can also speak at any time.
There are no known contraindications with epilepsy or medications. In fact, relaxing is normally beneficial. However, as blood pressure drops, someone who already has low blood pressure may feel a bit dizzy and we can help manage this.
Whilst trance itself is completely safe, we also need to consider the therapeutic work we'll be conducting in trance. I would need a letter from the doctor if, for example, someone was considering therapy for something very emotional and they had severe heart problems that could be affected. Take medications as usual and bring along any you might need for normal day-to-day living, such as medications for asthma.
This is not likely to happen. Even the most sceptical clients enter a trance if they want to, including people who believe they cannot be hypnotised. In fact, such clients have a strong will and they can use this mind control to their advantage and choose to enter a trance when they feel ready.
Hypnosis is not sleep but this provides a good analogy. If you either try to stay awake or try too hard to sleep, it is hard to sleep. The same is true of entering trance. The key is to flow with and accept whatever thoughts enter your head. You can communicate any concerns to me so I can help.
Yes. Sometimes I ask questions and at any time you can communicate your needs, thoughts, ideas, memories, concerns, or anything else.
Trance induction is a very gentle process and trance is relaxing. However, the nature of some problems may mean we need to do things that are uncomfortable.
For example, someone with a fear of cats will, at some point in therapy, need to think about them. This enables them to learn how to manage their emotions in a safe environment and with the therapist's coaching and support. It also helps the client test progress.
Importantly, clients can stop any therapeutic technique at any time. I have methods to quickly manage any distress.
Only positive ones such as being more relaxed, realising your potential, problem-solving, being happier, less fearful, more content and/or sleeping better. There are no known negative effects on driving, operating machinery, etc. from the trance, over and above anything experienced in day-to-day living. You are likely to feel alert, refreshed and ready for the challenges ahead. Tiredness occurs in some clients, especially if they have been tackling difficult or emotional issues.
Clients remain in control and only disclose what they want to.
Yes. However, please avoid alcohol and recreational drugs. If you have an active mind or find it difficult to relax, it might help to avoid stimulants, such as caffeine (e.g., tea, coffee, cola, chocolate) and nicotine (tobacco).
Typically, more relaxed, refreshed, positive and ready for the challenges ahead.
The pleasant relaxation effects of an individual trance session can last hours, depending on the person and life events after they leave the therapy room. Techniques can be offered to enable you to return to these relaxed feelings at will.
However, if the session has involved a lot of thinking or emotion, clients occasionally feel quite tired straight after or a few hours after the session, just as they might after a day shopping or at work.