What is hypnosis and hypnotherapy all about?
Hypnosis is a state of mind, enhanced by (although not exclusively) mental and physical relaxation, in which our subconscious is able to communicate with our conscious mind. This hypnotic or trance-like state of mind can be brought about by yourself, either unaided (self-hypnosis) or with the help of another person e.g. a hypnotherapist. The hypnotherapist uses the resultant state of mind to encourage beneficial change to occur, which is known as ‘Hypnotherapy’.
The media often gives a skewed view of hypnosis and hypnotherapy in terms of what it is and how it works. Putting someone in a trance is often depicted as a process involving the eyes. The Little Britain character Kenny Craig was known for saying “look into my eyes, not around the eyes..”! The Disney film The Jungle Book portrays Kaa the snake putting Mowgli and other characters into a trance with his eyes and Disney’s Incredibles 2 shows people being hypnotised when electronic masks are placed over their eyes or via television/computer screens.
Believe it or not, we have ALL been in a hypnotic or trance-like state at some point in our lives. The most common one, that happens at least twice a day, is the few moments before you drop off to sleep and just as you wake up in the morning!
Have you ever driven your car home from work and not remembered the journey? You are instinctively aware of where you need to go and how to drive the car, but you aren’t focusing on that completely. Your mind is elsewhere, thinking about your day or what to cook for dinner or what you may be doing that evening? You still register the other vehicles on the road, changing gear and turning corners but you are not 100% focused on them.
Somehow you manage to get safely home.
Or maybe you're into meditation and relaxation? Meditation and mindfulness is dedicated time to focus inwards. It is a time of peace and quiet, where you can focus simply on breathing in and out, acknowledging and letting go of any thoughts coming in and out your mind like watching traffic move up and down a road. You are aware of the outside world but you aren’t focused on it.
These are all examples of hypnotic or trance-like states, similar to those used in hypnotherapy. Notice that none of them involve "looking into the eyes" of anyone!!
What is hypnotherapy?
Your mind is like an iceberg. The conscious mind is the part that sticks out above the surface of the water and the subconscious & unconscious minds are below in the depths of the ocean. The conscious mind accounts for only around 10% of the amount of work your mind does. The rest is done by the subconscious and unconscious mind. The subconscious mind is the powerhouse of your brain, and it where all the information that we gather is stored. The unconscious mind is where all of our deep memories stay; the ones that we don’t “think” about unless we maybe hear a certain song or smell a particular fragrance we haven't smelt for years. It is also where our repressed memories are stored; those memories that our brain feels were too traumatic for the conscious mind to know. Our subconscious mind communicates closely with the conscious mind to provide it with information when it needs it. We’ve all had times when you couldn’t remember something straight away but it came to you later on, when you weren’t consciously thinking about it – your subconscious mind had to find it!
During everyday consciousness, your mind will probably spend most of its time in the beta brain-wave state allowing you to function with every day activities, sometimes moving into the alpha state when you are relaxed or doing something creative, occasionally into theta state if deeply relaxed or doing something like meditation and finally into delta state when we are asleep. When you are being put into a trance, you are put into the theta brain-wave state whereby the conscious mind is by-passed and we enter the subconscious mind. We also enter this state just before going to sleep and on awakening. When you are in this theta brain-wave state, your mind is relaxed, enhanced and receptive, which is ideal for acting upon permanent behavioural changes such as giving up smoking, losing weight or even just increasing your confidence!
Will I be "under the power" of the hypnotherapist?
Hypnosis is actually a process of self-hypnosis and the hypnotherapist simply acts as a facilitator, guiding you and helping you to relax deeply and reach that theta brain-wave state. When being put into a trance, your mind is still in complete control and you can come out of it at any time, or if you are worried about the process, you can actually stop it from happening. Which is why it is so important for clients new to hypnotherapy to receive what we call a pre-talk and have any worries or concerns they may have about hypnotherapy explained and appeased. You will certainly not be “under the power” of the hypnotherapist and you cannot be made to do anything against your wishes or moral code. You won’t even want to reveal your inner most secrets, if you don’t want to. You are in complete control throughout entire hypnotherapy session.
During the trance, you are not asleep and nothing can happen without your consent. You can hear everything being said and afterwards will usually remember all that has happened while in hypnosis. We simply help you to focus your attention inwards so that the demands of the outside world are switched off. You will be in a state of deep relaxation during which your critical analytical or conscious mind shuts off making your subconscious and unconscious mind more accessible.
With the right techniques and a hypnotherapist who has developed a good rapport or professional relationship with their client, virtually everyone can enter the hypnotic state. Some of the best hypnotic clients are intelligent people with a strong ability to visualise. It was thought that those with a very low IQ could not achieve the hypnotic state, however it is more likely to be the level of concentration that a person of low IQ can maintain that is relevant to whether hypnosis occurs or not. The important thing is to ensure that the client feels safe and secure, understands the process and what will happen and is happy to go along with it. So its my job to make sure that happens!
What can hypnotherapy be used for?
Hypnotherapy can help with a great many conditions, particularly those made worse by stress. It can help some people change certain behaviours, such as stopping smoking, encouraging weight loss or preventing nail biting. It can also help people change perceptions and sensations, and is particularly useful in managing and treating pain, managing stress-related issues and a range of long-term conditions. This is done by using suggestion techniques (where the hypnotherapist “talks” to your subconscious) during the trance. Analysis techniques can also be used to explore a possible psychological root cause of a disorder or symptom, such as a traumatic past event that the client has hidden in his or her unconscious memory. Once the trauma is revealed, it can be worked through with the therapist and the issue or symptom can often be resolved.
The list below details some of the condition’s hypnotherapy can be used for but this is by no means exhaustive:
Addictions including smoking cessation and drug addiction
Anxiety and panic disorders
Bruxism (teeth grinding)
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Fears & Phobias
Sexual Problems – male & female
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Obsessions & compulsions
Wondering if hypnotherapy can help you?
Here's what to do next...
You can either drop me a message via the "get in touch" button below, send me an email or give me a call.
I will respond to your message as soon as I can and ask you for some information about you .
We will then arrange to meet for a free, 30 minute no obligation consultation in person here at The Old Farmhouse.
During our first meeting, we will chat about areas of your life that you need help with, whether hypnotherapy will work for you and how many sessions you may need. I will also explain to you how hypnotherapy works and answer any questions you may have.
If hypnotherapy is the best option for you and we both feel we can work together well, we will arrange our first hypnotherapy session. If not, then I am happy to give you information about other options and signpost you to other services that may help.
I look forward to hearing from you soon!