What is hypnotherapy?

Contrary to popular belief, hypnosis is not a state of deep sleep. It does involve the induction of a trance-like condition, but when in it, the CLIENT is actually in an enhanced state of awareness, CONCENTRATING entirely on the hypnotist's voice. In this state, the conscious mind is suppressed and the subconscious mind is revealed. The therapist is able to suggest ideas, concepts and lifestyle adaptations to the client, the changes can then become firmly planted. These suggestions help people make positive changes within themselves. It’s like watching a really, really good movie and being unaware of other things at the same time that are happening around you.

Hypnosis usually involves the person experiencing a sense of deep relaxation with their attention narrowed down, and focused on appropriate suggestions made by the therapist.

In a hypnotherapy session you are always in control and you are not made to do anything. It is generally accepted that all hypnosis is ultimately self-hypnosis. A hypnotist merely helps to facilitate your experience. Hypnotherapy is not about being made to do things, in fact it is the opposite, it's about the client feeling empowered to make lifestyle changes that serve them even better.

The practice of promoting healing or positive development in any way is known as hypnotherapy. As such, hypnotherapy is a kind of psychotherapy. Hypnotherapy aims to re-program patterns of behavior within the mind, enabling irrational fears, phobias, negative thoughts and suppressed emotions to be overcome. As the body is released from conscious control during the relaxed trance-like state of hypnosis, breathing becomes slower and deeper, the pulse rate drops and the metabolic rate falls. Similar changes along nervous pathways and hormonal channels enable the sensation of pain to become less acute, and the awareness of unpleasant symptoms, such as nausea or indigestion, to be alleviated.

How does it work?

Hypnosis is thought to work by altering our state of consciousness in such a way that the analytical left-hand side of the brain is turned off, while the non-analytical right-hand side is made more alert. The conscious control of the mind is inhibited, and the subconscious mind awoken. Since the subconscious mind is a deeper-seated, more instinctive force than the conscious mind, this is the part which has to change for the patient's behavior and physical state to alter.

For example, a client who consciously wants to overcome their fear of spiders may try everything they consciously can to do it, but will still fail as long as their subconscious mind retains this terror and prevents the client from succeeding. Progress can only be made be reprogramming the subconscious so that deep-seated instincts and beliefs are altered or abolished altogether.

What form might the treatment take?

Any misconceptions a potential client may have about hypnosis should be dispelled. The technique does not involve the client being put into a deep sleep, and the client cannot be made to do anything they would not ordinarily do. They remain fully aware of their surroundings and situation, and are not vulnerable to every given command of the therapist. The important thing is that the client wants to change some behavioral habit or addiction and is highly motivated to do so. They have to want the treatment to work and must establish a good clinical rapport with the therapist in order for it to do so.

The readiness and ability of clients to be hypnotized varies considerably and hypnotherapy generally requires several sessions in order to achieve meaningful results. However, the client can learn the technique of self-hypnosis which can be practiced at home, to reinforce the usefulness of formal sessions with the therapist. This can help counter distress and anxiety-related conditions.

What concerns can be treated by hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy can be applied to many psychological, emotional and physical disorders. It is used to relieve pain in surgery and dentistry and has proved to be of benefit in obstetrics. It can shorten the delivery stage of labour and reduce the need for painkillers. It can ease the suffering of the disabled and those facing terminal illness, and it has been shown to help people to overcome addictions such as smoking, weight loss, anxiety and stress and to help with bulimia and much more.

Children are generally easy to hypnotize and can be helped with nocturnal enuresis (bedwetting) and chronic asthma. Teenagers can conquer stammering, depression, and build self confidence in various areas to make those teen years better for themselves.

Phobias of all kinds lend themselves well to hypnotherapy, and anyone suffering from panic attacks or obsessional compulsive behavior, and stress-related problems like insomnia, may benefit. Conditions exacerbated by tension, such as irritable bowel syndrome, psoriasis and eczema, nail biting, excessive sweating, restlessness, and even tinnitus and clicky jaws (tempero-mandibular joint dysfunction) can be treated by these techniques.

I work with children, teens and adults of all ages.