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If you have not experienced hypnosis before I’ll talk to you about hypnosis and answer any questions you have. I will then take you through a brief experience of hypnosis so you can experience it for yourself and make an informed choice as to whether a hypnotherapy program is right for you.

If you decide hypnosis will help you, I will discuss some ideas with you as to how we might proceed to help you achieve your desired outcome.

WHAT HAPPENS DURING A HYPNOSIS SESSION?

At the introductory session I first ask you to fill in a form. If you have not experienced hypnosis before I’ll talk to you about hypnosis and answer any questions you have. Then I’ll take you through a brief hypnosis session so you can experience it for yourself and make an informed choice as to whether a hypnotherapy program is right for you. If you decide it is, I’ll then discuss some ideas with you as to how we might proceed to help you achieve your goal.

From this point you will be scheduled to have one hypnosis session per week until you are satisfied you have achieved your goal. Most programs run from 4 to 6 weeks but as we are all unique individuals, for some this might be less, for others it may be longer.




 

 
HYPNOTHERAPY

WHAT IS HYPNOSIS?

There is no clear definition of hypnosis. Most people gain their first experience of hypnosis through watching television as a stage hypnotist performs his act. Although hypnosis is relatively easy to master, it is not as easy to understand, and that should not be surprising as we are being asked to understand the human mind. Even those who have spent years studying the mind know we are just beginning to scratch the surface.

If we exchange the word “hypnosis” for “altered state of consciousness”, the best way to describe hypnosis then would be “every level of consciousness except sleep”. Each level of consciousness is a trance state that we operate in, whether it is during hypnosis or any activity that requires focused attention. For example, when we read, watch tv, listen to music, or become bored with a conversation and drift off, we enter a trance state.

The word trance invokes many ideas for different people but what most people don’t know is that humans have the natural ability to enter trance many times a day. We do this when we watch TV and block out everything else around us, get lost in a good book and don’t hear people talking to us, when we drive and reach our destination only to realise that we don’t remember some stages of driving there. This also happens when we become lost in the melody of a favourite piece of music or when we meditate etc. Hypnotherapists use this natural ability by purposely leading a client into a hypnotic state where suggestions can be made to bring about a desired change. This is called hypnosis.

HOW DOES HYPNOSIS WORK?

Hypnosis works on the principle that we have one mind but many aspects to it. For descriptive reasons these can be divided into two main aspects – the conscious mind and the subconscious mind. Our conscious mind controls our voluntary movements, it thinks, analyses, deliberates, asks ‘why, attends to information and is logical. Our subconscious or unconscious mind controls our involuntary movements like breathing and walking, it feels and is intuitive, it contains our storehouse of memories, it knows ‘why’ and it is unlimited and expansive.

From this description you can understand that it is within the subconscious mind that all our learned patterns of behaviour are contained, some good, some not so good. So to change those patterns we no longer want we have to bypass the subconscious mind to reach the source of those unwanted patterns. This is done by the therapist inducing a hypnotic state while gently “pushing” aside the conscious mind to gain direct access to the subconscious mind for reprogramming with new suggestions.

COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS

• When you are hypnotised you are unaware of what is happening.

False. When you are hypnotised you are more aware of everything because your senses are heightened.

• You have to be deeply relaxed to go into a trance.

False. Far from being relaxed, being in chronic pain can create a trance state. Also, shock, mental overload, being very busy and occupied with focus (like gardening) can all create a trance state. As an example, how many times have you done some gardening then later realized that you scraped yourself but don’t remember doing it?

• Some people are more hypnotizable than others.

False. Anyone can be hypnotised if the right methods are used. Some people may respond better to visualisation techniques, others may be better with counting backwards, while others might require soothing relaxation techniques to enter a hypnotic state.

• Susceptibility to hypnosis is a sign of a weak personality.

False. People who have a high level of concentration make good hypnotic subjects.

• You can be made to do something during hypnosis that you don’t want to do.

False. If I hypnotised you to rob a bank you wouldn’t do it. That suggestion would have no affect because your subconscious mind is grounded with your personal morals and ethics. You will never do something against your will.

• During hypnosis you may say something you don’t want others to know.

False. Some people are worried about words popping out of their mouth uncontrollably that they would rather not have said. This doesn’t happen because under hypnosis you are in control and you will only reveal what is in your best interest.

• Hypnosis is like a lie detector a truth serum.

False. The truth is a person can lie better when they are hypnotised than in their normal conscious state. If you ask a child who took the last biscuit they’ll say, “not me it must have been the cookie monster” while they wriggle and squirm under your scrutiny. However, put them in a hypnotic state and they will become very relaxed and just say “not me”, convincing you they didn’t do it.

• You can get stuck in hypnosis.

Completely false. Someone once asked me what if I fainted while they were hypnotised? Would they become stuck in hypnosis? If a person was in the deepest state of hypnosis humanly possible and I left them in that state, after a while they would become bored and either fall asleep waking feeling refreshed, or just open their eyes to see what was going on. As far as I know no one has ever been admitted to hospital with a terminal case of trance.