Hypnotherapy – what is it and how does it work?
When thinking about Hypnotherapy for the first time it’s best to start by getting rid of some misconceptions. You will not be put into some sort of trance where you are no longer in control of your actions. Forget about stage hypnotists and TV shows that make people look silly, that is entertainment. Clinical Hypnotherapy is an acknowledged treatment by many health professionals, GP’s and the NHS.
You will be deeply relaxed, but aware of what is happening the whole of the time. Hypnosis is actually a perfectly natural state, which many of us experience quite normally in our everyday lives. Indeed we all sub-consciously hypnotise ourselves, probably several times most days, without realising that is what we are doing. When we catch ourselves doing it we call it daydreaming. In a hypnotherapy session this altered state of awareness is induced therapeutically, enabling beneficial, positive suggestions to be readily accepted into the subconscious mind to replace negative, harmful or unwanted thought processes with more helpful and empowering ones. A therapeutic hypnotherapist uses it as a kind of mental key to unlock the power of your subconscious mind, where past knowledge and memories are stored along with a vast reservoir of potential for your future. The ability to carry out this process effectively and safely is only achieved after lengthy and well supervised training.
Although ‘Hypno’ is a Greek word meaning ‘to sleep’, in clinical hypnosis you are not asleep. The altered state of awareness or consciousness required is induced under carefully controlled conditions by suitably qualified, experienced professionals.
The ‘therapy’ part of the word comes also from a Greek word, therapeia, meaning to heal or take care of which is what we are here to do. Following an in depth discussion to find out the exact nature of your problem, which in itself requires a skilled practitioner to conduct successfully; a treatment plan will be written, tailored to your needs as it is for every individual client. The actual treatment starts when the natural relaxed hypnotic state is induced by your qualified therapist in controlled conditions. Then, with the skilful guidance of the therapist, you are helped and encouraged to make the necessary changes within your subconscious mind to affect the positive results you want to achieve. Although this can sometimes be achieved in just one or two sessions, it is usual that additional sessions may be required.
Remember, you, the client, are always in control throughout the process. The therapist is your skilled guide on this incredible inner journey of self-healing.
Will I be made to do something embarrassing or against my will?
Absolutely not! The procedure will always be explained to you beforehand. Throughout the treatment you will always be fully aware of what is happening to you. You cannot be made to do anything, and you are free to end the session at any time if you do not feel comfortable. You are always in control.
I am a bit anxious; I don’t understand what will happen to me…
It’s quite natural to be a bit anxious about something unfamiliar but there really is nothing to fear. The first part of the initial session will always be an in depth discussion about the particular issue to be addressed, this is to enable us to understand the problem fully and determine the best course of treatment. This will always be fully discussed, explained and your questions answered before you agree to any hypnotherapy treatment taking place. The actual hypnotherapy starts with relaxation techniques for both your body and mind, followed by positive suggestions for the changes which need to be made or maybe using visualisations, perhaps taking the mind on a pleasant guided journey where you can visualise those changes. At the end of the session you will feel refreshed, invigorated and empowered, already aware of the positive and successful changes you have made.
Will I be asleep?
No: The depth of hypnotic trance will vary with each individual and the type of hypnotherapy approach but it is not the same as being asleep. The outward signs, slow gentle breathing, rapid eye movement, even light snoring, may be quite similar but you will always remain aware and in control. You will be able to bring yourself out the deep relaxed state should you feel the need, and easily respond to the therapists suggestions to end the session when completed.
How quickly does it work?
That varies; sometimes the results can be felt immediately. In the case of something like weight loss for example, reaching a particular goal, will naturally take time but you will notice a difference in yourself from the very first session and be encouraged by your own success to reach that goal. A guide to the number of sessions required is shown on our Treatments page. You are likely to notice changes very quickly after each session and it is sometimes important for treatment to be carried out in stages as part of a process. This is to allow your subconscious mind time to accept these changes and adapt to them.
As this testimonial shows:
Weight Loss & Confidence – W.J. Bournemouth
“Thank you for all your help in getting me to a point in my life where I can move forward with a confident, assertive outlook on everything and in control of my relationship with food.”
Could I remain hypnotised after the session?
No but it is quite normal to feel relaxed and/or invigorated on coming out of a hypnotic state. You will usually come around fairly quickly and as professional hypnotherapists, we always leave a little time for feedback and to ensure that you are fully conscious and alert before you leave.
There are many different ways that hypnotherapy can be used very successfully, for both emotional and physical problems. The list below is by no means exhaustive and is meant only as an indication of the most popular treatments. There are many other applications, some of which require specialist training and if you wish to discuss a particular problem that is not listed here please feel free to contact us in confidence, either by telephone or email and we will be happy to give you any information we can, if we are unable to help, we can probably refer you to a colleague who specialises in that particular field.
Addictions help in coping with cravings, self – esteem and confidence issues during recovery.
Anxiety releasing pent up emotions and fears through hypnotherapy can greatly reduce the feelings of anxiety, learn simple relaxation techniques to use anytime you feel anxious.
Concentration for help with exam preparation, driving test, etc., helping to focus the mind on an important event or activity.
Confidence Building feel more relaxed about public speaking, interviews or presentations or simply dealing with general lack of confidence issues.
Dental Phobias overcoming fear of treatment or injections and also learn to control pain levels.
Emotional Concerns release those negative emotions and replace them with positive helpful ones to empower your life and your future.
Habits break those unwanted habits like nail biting, thumb sucking, skin picking, and many more.
IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) discomfort in the digestive system, often caused by emotional stress and anxiety which can be effectively treated with hypnotherapy. (Should always be diagnosed by a Medical Professional to ensure there are no physical reasons for the symptoms)
OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) the repetitive urge to check doors and windows are locked, taps switched off, etc, stemming from intrusive, repetitive, negative and unwanted thoughts and behaviours.
Pain Management (see below for more information)
Panic Attacks Intense, short bursts of anxiety often causing physical symptoms which can be treated very successfully with hypno-analysis.
Performance Boost enhances your academic or athletic abilities, performing arts, drama, dance, speeches etc.
Phobias help to overcome your fear of spiders, snakes, heights, flying and many more.
Quit Smoking no patches, no pills, all you need is the motivation and we can help you to stop smoking with our unique treatment plan.
Self Esteem Boosting regain your self- belief and positive outlook, great for coping with loss / rejection etc.
Sleeping Problems causing irritability and poor concentration, hypnosis can help you relax into better and naturally healthier sleeping patterns.
Weight Control the easy and permanent way to lose weight, no dieting, no pills, no starvation, no boring supplement drinks, simply helping you to change the way you think about your eating habits.
This is a specialist area of hypnotherapy which merits a little explanation. Pain is basically a message from the brain to let you know that there is a problem somewhere in your body and as such should not be ignored. If you stub your toe or cut your finger it is obvious what is causing the pain and it can be easily dealt with, but if the cause is unknown, then it should always be properly diagnosed by a suitably qualified medical professional before any treatment can be determined.
Within Hypnotherapy, there are many tried and tested methods of reducing the amount of pain that is experienced and these can be particularly beneficial to long term and chronic sufferers. Giving you a degree of control over the pain can be very empowering and help to enhance your quality of life, often restoring your confidence to do things that you had given up on.
Hypnotherapy can also be very useful in coping with the anxiety of anticipated pain such as surgery or perhaps dental treatment. By learning how to control the level of pain through self- hypnosis the anxiety will be reduced, leaving you much more calm and relaxed and it is also proven to reduce recovery time after the procedure.
Coping with Illness
Anxiety and Stress, Coping with Parkinson’s – Mr M B of Christchurch, Dorset
“With Parkinson’s the anxiety goes up and hypnotherapy helps to maintain the status quo”
“Since having a course of hypnotherapy treatment with Joy my automatic negative stress and anxiety responses have changed to automatic positive responses. I now have more energy; I have resumed my enjoyment of outdoor activities such as long walks including my much loved pleasure of walking on the Isle of Wight as I have less fatigue. Next month I plan to go walking in the Lake District. My appetite has improved and I feel physically healthier with an improved diet of nutritious foods I take much better care of myself. Physically my responses are quicker I find I am looking forward to the future and so much happier, engaging in social activities and family events that I once found too daunting. I now find I spontaneously accept invitations with an automatic positive response and find I am truly enjoying myself and making the most of my life”.
Under hypnosis Mr M’s tremors and shaking in both his left and right hands and arm, and right leg and foot stops for a period of time. He has learnt self-hypnosis to help himself to control, steady and calm his body.
Habits & Addictions – Stop Smoking Mr D B, Parkstone, Poole.
“I had tried to give up smoking so many times, but always fell back into the same old habit after a while. I could feel that it was really starting to affect my health, getting out of breath very quickly and often coughing in the mornings. When John said that it would only take one session of hypnotherapy I was a bit doubtful, but the session was quite an intense experience and I came away feeling so positive and confident, quite clear in my own mind that I really was a ‘non-smoker’. The follow up session was also invaluable as it helped me to deal with the cravings and understand other after effects. I wish I had done it years ago, I could have saved a fortune!”
Does Hypnotherapy work for everything?
Within Hypnotherapy there are many styles of techniques that can be used in many different ways to help with a wide spectrum of problems, many of which can be successfully treated with hypnotherapy alone. For some issues it can be very helpful when used alongside counselling and coaching to help to produce enhanced or quicker results. For details of the most popular treatments, see our treatments page. If you would like to discuss a particular problem which is not listed, do please contact us, we will be happy to give you any information we can and if we are unable to help, we can probably refer you to a colleague who can. Call us on 01202 303722
Why choose hypnotherapy over other treatments?
When you choose hypnotherapy you avoid the need for prescribed medication and therefore possibly harmful side effects. The treatment is completely non-invasive. All you have to do is spend some time relaxing in a very comfortable chair as the treatment is conducted professionally and confidentially, with your full co-operation and consent at all times. If it’s right for your problem, why would you not choose hypnotherapy?
For example, we can also integrate different styles of hypnotherapy treatments where we feel it is appropriate and will be of specific benefit to you. Of course, this will always be fully explained to you before you agree to this treatment being included. Our experience shows that hypnotherapy is a very useful way to quickly resolve certain issues that may otherwise be blocking progress. Such as regression work can often unearth relevant personal experiences and memories, long forgotten, deep within the subconscious mind which can throw new light on current difficulties and aid progress.
Fear of flying and travel sickness – Mrs R. K. of Bournemouth, The mother of a 10 year old girl
“Joy, just to let you know that (my daughter) was brilliant on both the flight to and from Pisa…No adverse incidents whatsoever. She was completely relaxed and ate very well before the flight. It was completely relaxing for my husband and I too! Thank you for all your help”
Do I need to see my Doctor before treatment?
Hypnotherapy is not a substitute for medical treatment and any medical conditions should be properly diagnosed by a suitably qualified medical professional. We will always check if you have any relevant medical conditions or are currently taking any prescribed drugs and if so, we are bound by our Code of Ethics to advise you to inform your GP before carrying out any treatment. This is done to safeguard your own health and safety and does not mean that treatment cannot be carried out successfully. If you are visiting your GP before coming for hypnotherapy it is advisable to speak to him or her about it, alternatively we are happy to contact him or her on your behalf if you want us to.
Is the treatment confidential?
The best and most successful hypnotherapy is always based on personalised treatment, tailored to suit your individual requirements. It is essential, therefore, to obtain personal information from you in order to do this. Please be assured that this information and anything that is discussed during the sessions remains in the strictest confidence at all times. Unless legal statute requires us to notify the appropriate authorities, (usually relating to criminal issues and issues of self- harm), what is said or done in the treatment room stays in the treatment room. This is compliant with our Code of Ethics which can be found via the link to the Hypnotherapy Society on our About Us Page.
Is there a Professional Organisation to ensure high standards?
We are both registered with the National Hypnotherapy Society, one of several professional bodies which currently regulate hypnotherapy practice and we are listed on their website address. John is also registered with the GHR, General Hypnotherapy Register as a Senior Practitioner and Hypnotherapy Supervisor. We are also listed on other hypnotherapy registers which cover Great Britain and Ireland at hypnotherapistregister.com and hypnotherapy-uk-register.co.uk