What is hypnosis and is it different than Hypnotherapy?
The American Psychological Association describes hypnosis as a cooperative interaction in which the participant responds to the suggestions of the hypnotist. It is mental and physical relaxation. I like to refer to is as the state which is between awake and asleep. While in hypnosis (or trance) you’re conscious mind is in a relaxed state of being. Aware of but far less critical of sensory input. Sort of like a day-dreaming feeling.
Hypnotherapy is the use of hypnosis for therapeutic purposes – it’s a safe, simple and drug-free technique to help you make the beneficial changes you desire.
Will I be asleep or in a Coma-like state?
Contrary to what is commonly believed by many, hypnosis is NOT a “sleep” state even though you may appear to be sleeping. It is actually a natural state of mind, which is induced normally in everyday living much more often than it is induced artificially. Every time we become engrossed in a novel or a movie, we are in a natural hypnotic trance. Those moments when you are driving a familiar route and you suddenly realize you missed your exit, or don’t recall the last few intersection lights. Your conscious mind was busy thinking/day-dreaming and your subconscious mind was doing the driving. The latter would be a perfect example of waking hypnosis.
What does Hypnosis FEEL like?
Hypnotic states can be divided into three types: (Light and medium trances are those most used for therapy)
- Light trance ~ only slightly more pronounced than a relaxed daydream; imagination is enhanced and attention turns inwards.
- Medium trance~ which also has muscle relaxation to a point where there is unwillingness to move and feelings of emotional serenity and peacefulness.
- Deep trance ~ intensified physical relaxation to a state of lethargy. Deep trance may limit the effectiveness of hypnotherapy, as it tends to slow the client down, losing some mental flexibility. This is the level of trance primarily used in entertainment stage hypnosis shows.
The great majority of my clients find hypnosis to be very pleasant and relaxing. Often they will say “I have never felt so relaxed in my life” or “That was so relaxing, I didn’t want to come back”. Some are surprised by how normal and natural trance seemed, sometimes claiming that trance has not happened. They say “I couldn’t have been in hypnosis because I heard every word you said” or “I could have opened my eyes at any time” or even “I was still in control of my actions so I couldn’t have been hypnotized”. All of these statements are true because the client IS in control of their own behaviour and are aware of their surroundings while they are in a hypnotic state.
Will I lose control?
Not at all. You will be completely conscious and aware, just deeply relaxed. Most of us are already familiar with trance as it often occurs naturally – for example when we dream or daydream, listen to some wonderful music, read a book, watch television or listen to a story. Plus, while Stage Hypnotists want you to think they are the puppet-masters, the reality is that nobody can be made to do anything which goes against their core values. The subconscious simply wouldn’t take on those suggestions. You will retain your free-will at all times!
How does it work?
We use hypnosis in therapy because it’s a natural learning process – hypnosis allows access to the subconscious mind where fundamental emotional and behavioural changes take place.
Hypnosis can be used in many ways ways to assist you with reaching your desired way of being.
- Suggestion Therapy ~ the hypnotic state allows the person to better respond to suggested changes. It helps to reinforce the planned behaviour changes. It can also help people change perceptions or and sensations, commonly used in pain management.
- Analysis Therapy – This technique involves using hypnosis to discover the root cause or underlying reason for a disorder or symptom. This can include discovering a possible traumatic event or experience which created a negative behaviour or disorder as a coping mechanism.
- Parts Therapy ~ We all have different aspects of ourselves that make us up as a whole, sometimes those aspects (parts) of ourselves aren’t working together. If you find yourself sabotaging your best efforts, chances are that you would be a good candidate for Parts Therapy. A very simple example of having “parts” is perhaps when you are out shopping for a much needed pair of shorts and you happen across an amazing pair of shoes, they fit like a dream and they are oh-so-comfortable. Then it begins, the inner conflict about purchasing them because well, they really aren’t in your budget, but look how beautiful they are! Yes! No! Yes! No! Yes! And you end up with a pair of unneeded shoes and no shorts! Parts Therapy is excellent to help get those opposing parts working together to reach the same goals… no more self-sabotaging!
What does the hypnotherapist do?
My focus is on clarifying what you wish to change or improve, helping you to set manageable goals, and then using hypnosis for reinforcement, ensuring those changes happen as quickly as possible. As part of this process, I encourage my clients to recognize their emotional patterns, to look at them in different ways perhaps never considered on the past.
This process is done through general counselling and is often then reinforced at a subconscious level through the use of hypnosis.
How can I benefit?
- manage anxiety
- feel more self-confident & energetic
- regain your natural ability to sleep well
- reduce conflict, stress, anger, resentment and fear of rejection
- improve your concentration, overcome procrastination and make better decisions
- learn to relax easily, promoting better health and well-being
- develop and sustain relationships more easily
- increase your memory, creativity and emotional intelligence
- achieve a healthier work/life balance
Who uses hypnotherapy?
Over the years, I’ve helped many people from all walks of life realize the benefits of hypnotherapy, people such as:
teachers & students, medical professionals, dancers & musicians, designers & illustrators, ferry captains & bus drivers, therapists & counsellors, HRs & PRs, barbers & baristas, builders & architects, police & wardens, bankers & brokers, smokers & breathers, parents & children, writers & readers … people who knew what they wanted & people who didn’t … people who wanted their lives back & others who were just lost for words. But mostly it was just the everyday person who wanted to make positive changes in their life.
Perhaps it’s time to see where you fit in.
How many sessions will I need?
I practice a solution-focused hypnotherapy which means that we establish a goal from the start and work towards resolving situations as quickly as possible – sometimes in a single session. Typically though, most situations need around 3-6 sessions to resolve themselves; for smokers it’s generally 1 session with the possibility of a booster. Above all, my emphasis is on creating beneficial change rather than endlessly discussing old habits or past mistakes.