What Is Hypnotherapy?
There are many forms of psychological therapy but Hypnotherapy is distinctive in that it attempts to address the client’s subconscious mind using hypnotic trance as a powerful tool to facilitate change. The result is that unwanted behaviours and habits can be modified, self-defeating thoughts transformed and even the body’s autonomic healing functions can be influenced at a deeper unconscious level. It can be described as a state of detachment from one’s surroundings, similar to daydreaming or meditation. The actual meaning of the word hypnosis comes from the Greek word ‘Hypnos’ meaning sleep yet hypnotic trance is very unlike sleep in that the recipient is actually more aware, not less during the session.
What Does It feel like?
The most common experience is one of feeling deeply relaxed, calm and aware of everything around you. Often clients also talk about feeling physically, mentally and emotionally refreshed afterwards as though their mind has had ‘a massage’. You already know what hypnosis feels like though, because you frequently experience natural hypnotic states, when travelling, daydreaming or watching television. It is those times when you just ‘drift off’. In fact, after emerging from their first hypnotic trance, many people don’t even think that they have been hypnotised.
How Will My Body React?
It is quite usual to feel some interesting sensations during hypnosis, such as your arms or legs tingling or feeling heavy or light. There can be the sensation of the mind being separate from the body. It is also quite normal to see interesting images, or patterns of light or colour. None of these sensations are harmful though and most are very pleasant.
Can Anyone Be Hypnotised?
Yes, but only if you want to be. The only requirement is the desire to be hypnotised (or at least allowing it to happen) plus an understanding of what you need to do in order to achieve the hypnotic state. The degree, however, varies from person to person. Most therapy sessions do not require more than a light trance state. Just remember that being hypnotised may not feel as you expect it to feel, but that does not mean that you are not in hypnosis.
Is It Safe?
Absolutely. You enter hypnosis via a deep relaxation technique and the entire session is safe and controlled at all times. Hypnotherapy is non-addictive with no unwanted or unpleasant side effects. Only the natural power of your own mind is used to relieve symptoms and alter unwanted behaviour patterns. It is perfectly natural and ethical.
Will I Be In Control And Aware Of What Is Happening?
Yes, all the time. You do not go ‘out’, ‘under’ or ‘to sleep’. You are not unconscious. You are in an altered state of consciousness with a very narrow focus of attention. You can hear everything that is being said. Nothing happens without your consent. You have absolute control. However, you will be extremely relaxed.
Will I Remember What Happens During The Sessions?
Ninety per cent of people remember some of what was that was said during the session but most people don’t remember all of it.
Could I get Stuck In Hypnosis?
No. The trance state can be terminated at any time you chose. It is your choice to enter hypnosis and you are able to bring yourself out at any time too. If you were left in a trance state by a hypnotic CD, for example, you would either return to full consciousness on your own or enter a natural sleep and awaken after a short pleasant nap.
Could I be influenced to do something against my will?
No, you are completely in control. You cannot be ‘made’ to violate your own values of accepted behaviour or moral judgement. You would either reject the suggestion or come out of the hypnotic trance. It is your experience and you are in control throughout.
Is it anything like stage hypnosis on TV?
No. Hypnotherapy is a recognised form of treatment to help people overcome emotional disorders and unwanted habits whereas stage hypnosis is trance used purely for entertainment purposes. A therapist would never ask you to do anything that you don’t feel is entirely comfortable doing. So no clucking like chickens here! It’s worth noting though that participation in a stage act is also an entirely voluntary process (thus “permission” is already given to the hypnotist) and that there can be no such volunteer who is unaware of exactly what they are letting themselves in for!
Can Hypnosis Cause Me To Reveal Hidden Secrets?
This is a fear commonly expressed by some people. They are afraid that while hypnotised they will say something they would not normally say. But hypnosis is not a truth drug or a lie detector and it is actually just as easy to be economical with the truth in a trance state as it is in a normal state. A client will not do or say anything that contravenes their inner principles.
What If I Can’t Relax?
Some people do find it hard to ‘switch off’. However, relaxation itself is not a necessary requirement for hypnosis to ‘work’. Light trance is all that is needed for most sessions with a hypnotherapist. There are many different styles of hypnotic induction and it could simply be a question of finding the right style. In addition, many people are not able to relax fully on the first session but find they are more able to let go with subsequent sessions.