As you may already know, I recently qualified as a clinical hypnotherapist and am now offering this new service to clients, here at The Old Farmhouse, in addition to the coaching. Many of you will have heard of hypnosis, usually in relation to the entertainment business where people are put into a trance and asked to quack like a duck or something equally embarrassing. I can assure you, that is not something I will be doing and for several good reasons too!
Personally, I used hypnotherapy CDs during my two pregnancies to help with relaxation and mindfulness about the birth. Usually I fell asleep after listening to the CDs, but they were helpful in calming my pregnant mind and preparing me for the birth! I have also seen a hypnotherapist, to help with the aftermath of a divorce which caused significant anxiety, sleeplessness and tension. I found the sessions interesting to experience in terms of how my body reacted – I almost couldn’t feel my body when I was put into a trance. Most importantly though, I felt that my ability to deal with my situation was easier, I slept better and I could cope with the stress.
Professionally, as you know, I am a coach and have been training and practising as a coach intermittently for the last 10 years. In November 2018, I obtained my Master Practitioner in Neurolinguistic Programming where I learnt about the power of suggestion and the trance-like state with some of the NLP techniques I now use. When I decided to take the leap into being a coach full time, I felt the desire to also train as a clinical hypnotherapist. Having researched hypnotherapy, it seemed a good fit alongside the coaching and NLP. There is clearly some benefit in being able to help people move forward through the coaching process, but sometimes they get stuck due to physical, psychological and mental health issues such as weight loss, anxiety or depression. Hypnotherapy can be used to help resolve some of these issues and get people back on track. For me, hypnotherapy has become part of the toolkit to support my clients to create their best life!
So you may be thinking…. what is hypnosis and hypnotherapy all about?
Well, 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!
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 of your mind, like watching traffic move up and down a road. You are aware of the outside world but you aren’t necessarily focused on it.
Think about when you have a shower, you will feel completely focused on one thing. The water is warm and soothing, cascading over your body, washing away the trials and tribulations of the day. Leaving you clean and fresh. You are calm and relaxed and aware of your surroundings but not necessarily paying any direct attention to them; you can hear the water dripping on the floor and down the drain, the birds singing outside and even cars driving past. But all the while you are focused on the water.
Do you ever drive your car home from work and not remember 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 your kids may have got up to at school that day? You still register the other vehicles on the road, changing gear and turning corners but you are not 100% focused on them. Somehow you still manage to get safely home.
How often do you scroll through social media like Facebook or Twitter? Do you pay real attention to what you are seeing and reading? You’re not really focused on where you are, what you are sitting on nor who is around you. You are just reading and scrolling, although you are still aware of the outside world and can break out of your activity at any point.
When you listen to music, particularly relaxing music through earphones, a feeling of complete relaxation, peace and contentment will often wash over you. You switch off to the outside world and focus solely on the music entering your ears. Instinctively you may move and sway in time with the music, with your eyes closed and your breathing soft.
All of these are examples of hypnotic or trance-like states, similar to those used in hypnotherapy.
Shortly after I had started my training, my partner came into my office, sat in my relaxation chair and said “Come on then... mind-meld me!”. He was joking of course as he understands the concept of hypnotherapy (I hope!), but it did make me wonder how other people perceive it.
I have a number of friends who have had hypnotherapy for a variety of conditions and issues, and all are very positive about it. It worked for them and they would recommend it in a heartbeat. Others say they don’t think they could be hypnotised and are also fearful of it, something I think comes from its portrayal by the media which is frequently very negative.
The media often gives a skewed view of 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.
Conversations with my thirteen-year-old son and even some adult friends usually revolve around me putting them “under” and getting them to do silly things, like the hypnotist shows you sometimes see for so-called entertainment. My son often expresses concern over me getting him to do things he may not have any control over. My daughter, having enjoyed some mindfulness sessions with me, understands that it is more about being deeply relaxed and that she is in complete control.
Did you know that hypnosis is actually self-hypnosis and the hypnotherapist is just there to help guide you into that lovely relaxed, trance-like state?
And did you know that even when you are in that lovely trance-like state, you are still in complete control?
Photo by Benoit Beaumatin on Unsplash