What is hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is a an evidence based therapy which can help relieve the symptoms of medical problems as long as you are ready to actively participate in the process. Although there are about 70,000 research references worldwide, it is still often misunderstood by the public. People still think that hypnosis means ‘going under’ or losing control, but actually, you are in charge throughout the whole process and actually allowing it to happen.
What is hypnosis?
I practise solution focused hypnotherapy which combines talking therapy with developing an understanding of the workings of the brain (first part of the session), and hypnosis (second part of the session). Opinions vary on the exact definition of this natural state of mind: “First of all, contrary to what many people believe, hypnosis is not always a trance state or a sleep state even though a person in hypnosis may appear to be sleeping.
Hypnosis is really a natural state of mind and is an important part of everyday life. Whenever our mind wanders, daydreams or is focused on something, such as reading a book, driving a familiar route or watching a film we are in a state of hypnosis. People who are in a hypnotic state are known to slow down their brain waves from a Beta state to an Alpha state, sometimes in a deep trance this could also be to a theta state. This is not dissimilar to the level of brain activity experienced during meditation.” When used in the therapy room, hypnosis is an effective tool that helps you to bypass the critical faculty of the mind and to work directly with the subconscious so you can reprogramme the unwanted responses.
What is solution focused hypnotherapy?
Solution Focused Hypnotherapy (SFH) is a mind focused therapy that enables you to make sense of both neuroscience and the workings of the brain, as well as their practical application in everyday life. This type of therapy looks to the future rather than the past.
During our session I will encourage you to visualise a more positive future and to apply your own skills and resources to finding solutions to the problems that concern you. It is an empowering technique that will build up your confidence and positive expectations.I will show you how you can train your mind to adopt new habits and decisions.
These techniques will reduce your stress levels and consequently alleviate the physiological processes that cause distressing symptoms. Solution focused hypnotherapy is effective on many levels as it encourages us to think and act in a positive way, have a healthier lifestyle, sleep better, control or change our habits and overall, achieve a balance in all aspects of our life.
Do we need to talk about my childhood or analyze my past experiences?
No, we don’t. Solution focused hypnotherapy is different from analytical therapy, which is based on the notion that our development as a person is directly affected by past experiences – often from childhood or earlier life. Analyzing the past has proved to be counterproductive as it is keeping us in the ‘primitive brain mode’.
If there are feelings or traumas we need to let go then hypnosis, as one of the gateways to the subconscious, allows us to remove the emotional charge about them in an easy and gentle way, without dwelling on the past. All this enables you to focus your thought energy on how you want things to be, rather than how you don’t want them to be. Moreover, if there is anything you want to keep private, you are most welcome to do so.
How does hypnosis work?
During hypnosis a client achieves a state of focused attention. This state is also called a trance as the person experiencing it is focused solely on specific thoughts or tasks while everything else going on in the person’s surroundings is temporarily ignored. This state helps the client to bypass the critical faculty of the mind and update unhelpful subconscious programming. The best illustration of this is when someone pays us a compliment or we get praise for our work but are not able to accept it due to other unhelpful beliefs. In hypnosis, however, this filtering is removed so we become receptive to change and update our subconscious programming.
What is hypnosis used for?
Hypnosis can be used for many things – from relieving the symptoms of medical conditions to learning new ways of doing things, letting go of unwanted habits or improving performance, confidence and general wellbeing. Hypnosis is now a very popular complementary therapy at many world renowned clinics. The Mayo clinic in London, for example, uses it for anxiety management, addictions and pain management.
Hypnosis can be used to help with a wide range of issues such as:
- Fears and phobias
- Anxiety and stress
- Social anxiety
- Anger management
- Public speaking
- Sports performance
- Sleep problems
- Panic attacks
- Low self-esteem
- Low confidence
- Exam nerves
- Binge eating/drinking
- Pain management
- Weight Management
Hypnotherapy, however, is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Some of the conditions mentioned above require a prior consultation with a healthcare provider.
What percent of people cannot be hypnotized?
Hypnosis is a state of mind we naturally enter several times a day. It is an integral part of human nature, but as there was no real understanding of what hypnosis is, it has been susceptible to misinterpretation. The moment we close our eyes and take a deep breath we enter a relaxed state of mind, called alpha. The human brain enters this alpha state just before sleep and can be created during daydreaming, mindfulness, meditation or light hypnosis. When we deepen this state even more, we are able to reprogram our mind. According to this, everyone can be hypnotised, if not by a hypnotherapist, then by their own thoughts and emotions! There is an expression: ‘Blinded by emotion’ which illustrates this very well. Emotion, as one of the ways of updating our subconscious, also adds to our programming. However, this may not always be favourable to us, as our brain tends to code painful events into beliefs about life and the world. Hypnosis, on the other hand, allows us to be selective about the thoughts and ideas we want to adopt.
How quickly does hypnosis work?
Hypnosis can work very quickly and clients can see results sometimes within a couple of sessions! The best illustration of this is when they decide to stop smoking. Imagine having a habit for years and years and then being free from it within a couple of sessions. It is possible! However, every client is different and sometimes there may be more symptoms working in the background, so something that looks like a spider phobia may also involve anxiety, early childhood trauma and low self-esteem. Hypnosis can be very effective and there have been numerous studies to confirm this. However, the success of the therapy depends on a variety of factors: the complexity of issue, client commitment and therapist’s expertise.
Is hypnotherapy evidence based?
There’s been a lot of research involving hypnotherapy and it has become a common complementary therapy in numerous world-renowned clinics. Study called Hypnosis in the treatment of anxiety- and stress-related disorders provided evidence that hypnosis is a safe alternative to medication for improving anxiety-related conditions.
A 2009 meta-analysis also found that hypnosis is effective in improving symptoms of depression.
A 2010 study found that hypnosis has a positive impact on the quality of sleep as it is inducing and increasing slow-wave REM sleep. In the study, clients who listened to a hypnosis tape before taking a nap achieved 80 percent more REM sleep. Smokers who undergo hypnosis are more likely to stop smoking and stay non-smokers.
A study in 1994 suggested greater efficacy of smoking cessation and found that 80% of participants abstained from smoking even after 6 months.
What happens in a hypnotherapy session?
During the initial consultation we talk about the symptoms you’ve been experiencing and how I could help you achieve your desired outcomes. When we start therapy, during the first part of our sessions we talk about what’s been good. We also discuss areas in your life you’d like to improve to steer our session towards achieving your desired outcomes. I encourage my clients to focus on how they’d like to be and feel instead as knowing this can help us effectively with a wide range of issues.
What does being hypnotized feel like?
When my clients come out of hypnosis they often report feeling like they had a very good rest. Although they have actively participated in the therapy work, the process of clearing the subconscious barriers always leaves them feeling lighter, more clear headed and very calm. Another interesting thing is that, when one is in a deep state of hypnosis, the sensations in the body become less prominent. One of my clients came to the session with a very painful gout – they were struggling to walk and asked if the session could be shorter due to pain. When the session finished they reported not feeling pain throughout the whole time while in hypnosis!
What is the difference between hypnotherapy and hypnosis?
Hypnosis is a state of mind we naturally enter several times a day and hypnotherapy is a complementary therapy that uses hypnosis. In this situation, hypnosis is induced by a trained and certified hypnotherapy practitioner to help alleviate the symptoms of medical conditions, change habits, improve performance and general well-being.
Is hypnotherapy available on the NHS?
Hypnotherapy is not available on the NHS.
Is hypnosis covered by insurance?
There is a growing number of insurance companies offering to reimburse part or all of the costs of hypnotherapy treatments as long as they are done by licensed professionals. Usually, to be eligible for reimbursement for hypnotherapy sessions, one needs to be referred by a GP. Below are some insurance companies that recognise hypnotherapists registered with the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council.
How do I choose a hypnotherapist?
When looking for a private hypnotherapist, choose someone who’s:
- appropriately qualified by a recognised training establishment
- registered with an independent professional body
- trained in working with your condition
Have more questions? Please get in touch, I’d love to help.