What is hypnotherapy?
Hypnosis works on the unconscious mind which generates our emotions and controls our habits. By using hypnotic interventions, we can communicate directly with your unconscious mind to establish quick and permanent change.
Hypnosis is a natural experience, there is nothing spooky or strange about it, we all do it naturally every day, in varying degrees, as we day-dream or get absorbed in a good book or film – and our mind wanders off. It’s not like on TV, for behaviour change work we use a different approach – one of permission, compassion and relaxation.
Before we discuss how it works it is good to understand a little about the mind, you have two minds, firstly, the conscious logical mind that interprets what you see and hear and secondly, your creative unconscious mind.
Your unconscious mind is responsible for looking after your emotions, feelings and memories, as well as, controlling all of your automatic functions, such as breathing, walking, driving and most of your other behaviours. It is here in your unconscious mind where the lasting changes that you are looking for need to happen and by offering positive suggestions to your unconscious mind – you can do this.
However, have you ever wondered why, although you have already tried to make these changes to yourself many times in the past, you only had varying degrees of success? It’s because the logical conscious mind filters the flow of information into the unconscious mind, and as a consequence of this – your unconscious mind often does not “hear” the full message, and so can’t act fully upon it.
What does a hypnotherapist do?
The role of the hypnotherapist is to relax you – through the use of relaxing language, storytelling and specialised language patterns, so you feel comfortable enough to relax down deeply enough where we can connect with your unconscious mind. Then, while you settle down into a wonderful and safe hypnotic rest (like the dreamy time between sleeping and waking) your unconscious mind is left fully open to receive the positive suggestions for change that have been agreed upon beforehand.
Importantly, even though you are in a relaxed and calm state you are still aware of events around you. You can relax safely in the knowledge that the unconscious mind will not respond to any command that endangers you or is in any way inappropriate to you. Where appropriate I teach you how to use self-hypnosis so it is possible for you to manage specific issues or continuously manage your own personal development. Hypnosis was approved by the British Medical Association over 40 years ago and this popular and safe form of therapy is widely recognised as the key to safe rapid behavioural change.
hypnosis versus hypnotherapy
Hypnosis is the process of getting you into a calm and relaxed state of mind where you are ready to act upon new suggestions to update the unconscious mind (that keeps on running old outdated programs).
Hypnotherapy is what happens once you are in a calm and safe relaxed hypnotic trance – because, in reality, anyone can deliver a hypnotic induction, the real skill and knowledge come from the delivery of the analytical techniques required to uncover the client’s problems. Then through the use of metaphor, symbolism, storytelling and a whole range of psychological interventions (all relevant to the client) allow the unconscious mind to gently realise that some of it are strategies are no longer appropriate and it is then more receptive to engage new suggestions for what might be the best ways to move forward.
Some common concerns
Clients are sometimes concerned that they will “lose control” in hypnosis. However, general consensus indicates that regardless of how deeply people may go into hypnosis and however passive they may appear to be, they actually remain in full control of the situation. They are fully able to talk if they wish to (or not, as the case may be) and can terminate the session, stand-up and leave the room at any time.
It is likely that the notion of loss of control stems from most people’s misconception of stage hypnosis, wherein participants are apparently persuaded to perform all manner of (usually foolish) acts. However, you should be aware that participation in a stage act is 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!
What can hypnotherapy treat?
In my hypnotherapy Buckinghamshire practice I use these techniques about 35% of the time – it is a powerful tool in my psychological toolbox and its effectiveness is often intrinsically linked to other processes delivered before and after as part of the full therapy process. I use various elements of hypnotherapy when treating depression, anxiety, phobias and other confidence related issues.