Hypnotherapy FAQs

Hypnotherapy FAQs

People often have questions about what hypnotherapy actually involves so here are the answers to some hypnotherapy FAQs. You might just find the right answer here, but if not, please feel free to contact me on 08707 054 706 or email me at julie@sharpmindshypnotherapy.co.uk.

What is hypnosis?

Hypnosis is a very natural state that our bodies enter into naturally at least twice a day as we pass in and out of sleep. We also enter into a hypnotic state when we switch to “automatic pilot” when driving a familiar route or when we become engrossed in something such as a good film or book. A film that we know, consciously, to be acted by actors, following a fictitious script can cause us to feel real fear or cry real tears. In other words, something imagined can produce a physical effect! This is possible because whilst the conscious mind has what is known as a “critical faculty” (the ability to analyse and think), our subconscious minds do not and cannot distinguish between what is real and what is imagined. This is why a nightmare can be so terrifying to a young child. In hypnosis, the conscious mind is dampened down or switched to “idle” and the subconscious becomes both more easily accessible and more open to suggestion. In this way, any negative and unhelpful behaviours, memories or beliefs can be replaced with positive suggestions purely through use of the imagination and visualization techniques.

Will I lose control?

Hypnosis cannot make you do or say or be anything you do not want to. Indeed, all hypnosis is really just self-hypnosis; the therapist’s job being no more than that of a guide or facilitator. If you wanted to get up and walk out, you could. Even the clucking chickens on stage know that they are walking about clucking like chickens, much to the amusement of those in the audience. But if they so chose, they could stop, sit down and say “I just don’t feel like being a clucking chicken today”! However, the process of hypnosis may bring to the surface a painful or frightening memory. As the subconscious cannot distinguish between what is real and what is imagined, the memory will likely produce the emotions that were attached to it, as if the event were repeating itself in the present time. Hypnotherapy uses techniques to help the Client deal with this kind of scenario arising. However, my personal belief is that whatever has happened in our lives, we survived it; it did not kill us! We have therefore lived through it at least once – often many times in our memories. The idea of hypnotherapy is to free the Client from the ties that bind him or her to that painful or frightening memory, so that they may lead a more fulfilling life that isn’t plagued with negativity and worry. I therefore seek to provide a safe, confidential, non-judgemental space for the Client to achieve this. Rather than thinking of it as losing control, if anything, I think of it as the Client taking control to deal with their problem.

What is hypnotherapy useful for?

Hypnotherapy is widely endorsed as a treatment for stress and anxiety related issues, pain control and habit breaking. For a comprehensive list of uses, please see my Common Uses page. Whilst hypnotherapy is still not widely available on the NHS, some private health insurers now cover it, and in recent years it has been gaining steam in the medical world after a recommendation from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which now recognises hypnotherapy as an effective treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Hypnotherapy can be used very effectively either in tandem with traditional Western medicine or independently after other avenues have been exhausted.

What happens in a typical session?

A typical session lasts between one and a quarter and one and a half hours. You will be invited to sit down in a comfy recliner and will be asked (in the first session) to complete a confidential Client Form with some background information, details of any medication you may be taking and your desired goals. We will then briefly discuss your problem and what you wish to change. I will explain the process of hypnosis, what to expect and answer any questions before inducing a relaxing hypnotic state. The relaxation will take around 12 minutes and will be followed by the therapy itself. A range of different approaches and techniques may be used depending on the client’s needs. I offer client-centred hypnotherapy which involves delivering appropriate scripts as well as using techniques to uncover and deal with root causes of unhelpful behaviours. You may be asked to indicate responses to questions with a finger movement or you may be asked to respond verbally. In both cases, you will remain deeply relaxed and feeling sleepy. Two key techniques that are used are Inner Child and Gestalt (cutting ties) therapy. These are powerful healing therapies and usually involve the client verbalising an imagined dialogue between themselves and another. If this is something you would rather not share audibly, you can conduct the dialogue in your head, with the same powerful results. After each session, we will spend a few minutes discussing the session; the techniques used, what emerged and how the client is feeling. Subsequent sessions will always begin with a review of what has changed since the last session.

What if I get stuck or don’t wake up?

Oh if only! But I’m afraid it is impossible not to wake up. Hypnosis is a natural state that we all go into and out of every day of our lives. The worst that can happen to you is that you fall asleep and get a good rest!

Can anyone be hypnotised?

Hypnosis occurs when the brain waves slow from “beta” to “alpha”. The human brain passes in and out of “alpha” mode on a daily basis. Technically, therefore, anyone can be hypnotised. Hypnosis simply means “focussed state of attention”, so any time we are in a focussed state of attention – such as reading a good book or watching a good film – we are, effectively, in a state of hypnosis. We are easily suggestible in this state; suggestible enough to cry at a sad film or feel our heart race in a horror movie. That said, some people are more suggestible than others and children particularly so. However if a person does not wish to be hypnotised then they won’t be. A hypnotic state cannot be achieved without the client’s (conscious or subconscious) consent, but achieving a hypnotic state is an easy and enjoyable experience. All you need to do is be able to follow an instruction and use your imagination. If you can do that, can suspend any scepticism and are committed to the process, then hypnosis will follow. And with hypnosis comes healing.

Is hypnotherapy safe for children?

Hypnotherapy for children is considered to be highly effective and completely safe. Children tend to respond well to hypnosis as they are naturally imaginative and use their subconscious far more than is the case with adults. Children also spend considerably more time with their brains in “alpha” mode (which is the naturally occurring hypnotic state). Hypnotherapy can help to address a number of issues commonly experienced in childhood and adolescence including fears, bed soiling or wetting, exam and test nerves, anxiety, low self-esteem and eating disorders.

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