“ Introduced to the medical community in the late 1700s by Anton Mesmer, who named it "mesmerism". „
I went to see a young lady in Milton Keyes where I live for hypno 4 stop smoking and now I don't smoke whereas I used to smoke at least 20 a day. This was a few years ago. Yes the session was expensive but I used to spent about £140 a month on fags anyway so in the long run I'm saving money. I was really sceptical about hypnotheapy but it worked for me and I'd say give it a go. I do sometimes think about cigarettes but I have never been tempted to actually start smoking again and I feel so much better now for quitting as I have a lot more energy. Plus my children are happy with me and so is my Mrs. Just be sure you trust the person you see and that they have proper training and all that 'cos some of them dont'.
The purpose of this article is to highlight the benefits of hypnotherapy, and to give a deeper understanding of the mechanisms at work. The reason for doing this is to demystify much of the misunderstanding that exists surrounding what hypnotherapy is and what it can do. It seems to me quite 'tragic' that a practical and effective approach to solving a wide range of common and complex problems is often disregarded, or feared by some sections of the public as a result of these apparently common misconceptions. Increasingly health professionals across the board are recognising that hypnotherapy may have a role in the treatment and recovery process in a wide range of problems e.g. recovery from and coping with aggressive cancer treatment. I hope to show how hypnotherapy can be an effective means to treat a range of problems from psychological to some physical issues. You must always consult a medical practitioner if you are suffering from a physical problem to make sure that there is no underlying illness/disease behind your condition. Sexual dysfunction, for example, can be caused by diabetes, vascular problems and many other physical issues. It can also be caused by psychological blocks which is what hypnotherapy can help with. Clearly this is just one example amongst the wide range of issues that hypnotherapy can help with. The following is a list of some others, which is by no means exhaustive:- anxiety/panic attacks, allergy response (e.g. asthma, hayfever etc), pain control, phobia, habit cessation (e.g. smoking, nail biting, overeating), fear of public speaking/chairing meetings, post surgery pain relief and healing enhancement, sexual problems, coping with bad memories, stress reduction, confidence building, self esteem issues, exam nerves, performance enhancement (sport, exams and more), weight loss, IBS, and of course it can simply be used as a beautiful way to relax, and de-stress.
Just a little of the history of Hypnosis
In the 1770s Anton Mesmer is said to have discovered that by certain procedures involving hand gestures, eye fixation etc., one could be persuaded to enter a trance like condition (he was also convinced that a 'universal magnetic fluid had an effect initially - hence the early name of animal magnetism for hypnosis). He believed that the subconscious could then be accessed and a certain suggestibility would become apparent. Dr Milton Erickson (1901 -1980) became a leading light of the hypnotherapy movement (Eriksonian Hypnotherapy) and his influence is still strong today.
Of course hypnosis or a form of it has been know virtually since mankind evolved, what else do shamans do other than self hypnosis - sending themselves into a trance like state where their consciousness is altered.
Ancient forms of healing have in some cases something in common with hypnosis, via the level of suggestibility involved. If a subject is told by someone they trust that they will feel benefit from something the likely hood is that they will. Of course this in turn could be said to be linked to a placebo type effect.
However, much scientific research over recent decades has proven that hypnosis really does activate certain areas of the brain which respond in a different way to the way a placebo affect works, or mere suggestion alone. For instance when a subject was asked to imagine colours in a black and white photograph areas of the brain corresponding with creativity were activated. When the same experiment was done under hypnosis the visual areas of the brain that are activated when the person is actually looking at a coloured picture, i.e. really seeing colours were at work. There have been articles covering this in the Scientific American, New Scientist, and supporting studies (and probably some debunking, but these tend to be not so recent, or so strong) can be found easily on the internet.
I believe one of the major reasons why there are a lot of misconceptions around hypnotherapy is the way in which it has been portrayed in the media (films etc.,) and often confused with stage hypnotism. Also hypnotherapy in more recent years has often been lumped in with alternative therapies, some of which are a bit dubious or viewed as kooky, and may not have the same professional and ethical structure and standards as hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy can also be seen as a bit of a joke 'performed' by a 'magician' with a pencil moustache (I love the bad hypnotist in Little Britain - "look into the eyes not around the eyes") or as something linked with mind control and the paranormal. Hypnotherapy is none of these things, although stage hypnotists are still around, by and large they actually know what they are doing and can be quite entertaining, however hypnotherapy and hypnosis alone are quite different beasts.
The main thing that differentiates stage hypnosis from hypnotherapy is that the hypnosis that stage hypnotists employ is usually used for purely entertainment purposes containing no therapeutic element. Whereas hypnotherapy is mainly all about the therapy, a hypnotherapist does as much work with a client outside of hypnosis.
The reason stage hypnotists seem to be able to achieve hypnotic 'trance' relatively fast is that they employ a quick and simple technique to gauge which members of the audience are most likely to make good hypnotic subjects, i.e. they want to be involved, and respond quickly to hypnotic 'induction' (creating the hypnotic state). This is the same technique that a hypnotherapist could use, however in a therapy context its primary use would be to prove to the client that they can indeed be hypnotised, thus starting to build a level of trust in the therapist. Once the stage hypnotist has eased his/her subjects into a hypnotic state the subject feels able to release certain inhibitions within themselves, which 'allows' them to 'perform' under the instruction of the hypnotist for their fellow audience members.
The therapy component of hypnotherapy is probably the most important, and the therapist should have experience in counselling skills and sometimes a branch of psychology. The hypnotherapist should take time to gauge accurately whether hypnotherapy really is what the client requires, or if they should be referred elsewhere. There are many things the therapist bears in mind when deciding what approach to use with a client, what the predominant personality 'type' is - a bit of a pigeon hole, but it is only a broad brush stroke to help gauge the 'kind' of hypnotic induction and wording of the treatment that will be most effective for the client. Also taken into account by the therapist is what imagery could be most effective in hypnosis for the client i.e. whether using visual terms, auditory, taste (gustatory), feel (kinaesthetic) etc would work best with the clients' subconscious. Is there a need to seek out a trigger event, or can simple suggestion work be effective? What 'tools' or coping mechanisms does the client need in order to cope with the issue they are presenting with? There are also many more subtle things to take into account. The client may simply need to talk, and hypnosis can be incorporated into conversation - 'hypnotic conversation', where the client is not hypnotised, but with their permission is guided through certain scenarios, allowing them to go deeper into the issues surrounding the problem. All these things should help the therapist decide on the best treatment course for the client.
Hypnotherapy could be seen as re-programming your mind to behave in a more positive way. Many hypnotherapists incorporate Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) into their hypnotic sessions. This is a subject all of its own, and is seen as controversial by some therapists (not all agree that it actually works). NLP is supposed to help with changing self limiting ways of thinking and responding to the challenges of life. Hypnotherapy is employed to 're-route' responses that aren't appropriate (such as with a phobia), for example, filing away negative experiences in a less painful 'drawer' of your mind, creating new switches to literally 'turn down' pain signals, or turn up production of white blood cells (such as after cancer treatment, when immunity can be knocked for six). The mind is a wonderful 'control room', and hypnotherapy can give you the keys to it more effectively. In essence Hypnosis is a 'different' mental state, which allow you to access your subconscious mind and 're-programme' unwanted thought patterns whilst enhancing positive ones.
Hypnosis is not mind control, which is what some people fear it amounts to, and it simply cannot be effective without the full co-operation of the subject. You have to allow yourself to follow the hypnotists' instructions, and you are in control at all times.
A common fear expressed by those interested in hypnotherapy is that you can somehow get 'stuck' in hypnosis. You most certainly can not get 'stuck' in a hypnotic state, any more than you can get stuck in a daydream. Should you be left your own devices once in hypnosis (for some unfathomable reason) you would 'wake' within a relatively short time, or drift off into a true nap and wake feeling refreshed when you are ready. Some people do go deeper into hypnosis than most (my husband goes into a fantastically deep and effective hypnotic state, I'll never need to do the dishes again, but even they can not get 'stuck'. When the hypnotherapist instructs the client to wake they will usually include words such as 'becoming fully alert, energised, and refreshed' so that the subject will emerge from treatment feeling great. When the session is concluded, you may feel a tiny bit disorientated, but this is by no means always the case and will pass very quickly anyway. Should any danger present whilst you were in hypnosis, if an alarm went off for example you would wake immediately, your subconscious always has your best interests at heart. An example of this is when I used to rent a very pleasant room within a suite of rooms all used for therapeutic purposes. A lady I had only worked with on one occasion previously was mid hypnotic induction, and responding beautifully, I had just reached a little section I like to include, suggesting that any outside noises would only aid her relaxation, knowing that the everyday world was still carrying on, safe and ready for her to resume her normal routine when she was ready. When an extremely loud noise that I can only describe as some kind of behemoth breaking wind issued from the small bakery on the ground floor..... I don't care who you are or how deeply you respond to hypnosis; you hear an elephant farting in the room you are going to wake up! We both cracked up and gave up on the session for that afternoon, having a 'therapeutic' chat instead (fee waived of course). Luckily she hadn't had far to come, or difficulty arranging another session for the next day, or we would have persevered that afternoon.
You can not be made to do anything which is against your normal moral code whilst in hypnosis, because as mentioned above hypnosis is not a kind of external mind control. You will also definitely not divulge any information that you would not be otherwise willing to. Your subconscious is to the fore, and the main job of your subconscious is to protect you; therefore it won't allow you to embarrass or incriminate yourself. Also your conscious mind is always on standby, ready to step in if anything happens that you do not like, and wake you up.
I thought long and hard about including this next 'bit' but thought it might be something that would occur to a person interested in the field, and that may have heard negative things to this effect. The previous section about how your subconscious will protect you begs the question as to how people have claimed a hypnotist has touched them 'inappropriately' during a session. I know this is a controversial opinion and I don't wish to offend anyone, but I believe if this has happened, (whilst I am in no way casting doubt on any persons claim of such a thing happening, I am positive that it's more rare than hens' teeth, however there are unscrupulous people in every profession) then of course the therapist has acted unethically, and grossly betrayed the trust of the client, and profession, and the full weight of the law should be brought to bear. However if the client had been completely horrified and outraged by what had happened they most certainly would have snapped immediately out of hypnosis. Someone who has low esteem may be more vulnerable than others, and may not be sure as to whether or when they should say stop, and allow something to go on longer than they should, or they may see the advances as affection and it may even be suggested to them in that way. However you are never unaware of what is happening during hypnosis, and your conscious mind is always there in the background, ready for your subconscious to jolt it back into full alertness at any time. I can't reiterate strongly enough YOU are always in control during hypnosis. Hypnotherapy is a well regulated field, with professional bodies, and a code of ethics, just like any clinical area, and is just as safe as going to your doctor/nurse/dentist etc. If you have any doubts only see someone you feel totally comfortable with, or comes recommended, alternatively use a same sex therapist, and always check their qualifications, and professional accreditation/insurances whatever gender they are.
An example given to demonstrate how you can't get stuck in hypnosis could also be used to illustrate how you are aware during hypnosis, and will still have your own best interests in mind. A colleague had been working with a lady who had been having hypnotherapy for a few sessions and had a very stressful life. She very much enjoyed the relaxation and suspension of her worries during the hypnotherapy and found that aspect as beneficial as the treatment component. She gradually became more 'difficult' to rouse at the end of the session. On one occasion the therapist in question had tried the normal method of rousing the subject for five minutes, and the lady remained 'stubbornly' in hypnosis. Another client was due to arrive shortly so the therapist (who had a bit of a sense of humour) came up with the idea, of saying something along the lines of 'that's fine feel the benefit of this wonderfully relaxing hypnotic state, you may rest there as long as you need, as the session is now over you will be billed for the extra time at the end of your relaxation per minute, from now'. The lady roused quickly, saying how the time had flown by but she mustn't take up any more of his time. He felt a little guilty as he understood how the lady felt, but his next client needed his attention. This incident affirms that when you have the right incentive (in this case the thought of a bigger bill) you will wake up.
Hypnotherapy is not a magic bullet, and contrary to what some people might think or others might imply it isn't suitable for everyone for everything. Some illnesses and medications make hypnotherapy more difficult, such as schizophrenia, or psychosis and or the use of heavy psychoactive medication. It is not impossible to work effectively with people with these conditions, but will need a very experienced and possibly specialising therapist. It is also recommended that children under 16 and women in early pregnancy do not undergo hypnosis, although as in the previous case some specialist practitioners, or one who is very experienced can work with these groups. In the case of pregnant ladies hypnosis is not recommended because of the extreme muscle relaxation that can occur (and the womb is a muscle - it's just a precaution and again as rare as those hens' teeth that a problem in this area could arise). However hypnosis can be very helpful with fertility problems, and later in pregnancy in preparing for birth, and during actual child birth.
One situation, for example, where hypnotherapy would not be helpful is if the client has 'secondary gains' issues (benefits) for 'suffering' with the problem. For instance their problem may get them lots of attention which they enjoy, and this may have the effect of creating a barrier to tackling their issue. This can sometimes be the case for example with people who seek out hypnotherapy to help them give up smoking, or lose weight. They may have been pestered into doing something about this by family or friends. They are not doing it for themselves, so could come into therapy with the attitude of 'once this fails too, 'they' will see that I can't succeed, and I've tried literally everything' - and so assume that the outside 'interferers' will then get off their backs. This can then become a self fulfilling prophecy and they are likely to fail. A skilled therapist will ascertain this during the initial consultation or therapy component of the treatment, and advise the client to either come back when they really want to do it for themselves, or work with them outside of hypnosis if the client so wishes. This could be simply therapeutic in its self, or to ascertain whether together they can come to a point where hypnosis would be an option.
Some people go into a hypnotic state more easily and deeply than others. Almost everyone (some would say everyone) can be hypnotised but may take longer to attain a workable depth of 'trance'. Don't expect to go to a hypnotherapist and be immediately put under and 'fixed'. If after consulting with you the therapist is confident that hypnotherapy is a good route for you, and that he/she has found either the trigger and/or right approach for you, then there may be a short hypnotic component to your initial visit though this is unusual. This 'taster' can sometimes be used to allow the client to experience how it feels to be hypnotised, and they will be more relaxed and go more quickly into hypnosis on their next visit. However in most cases it will take at least one to several sessions to get to the crux of a problem. The length of the treatment plan will have to be gauged by your therapist in the early stages of your treatment. Most issues take a few sessions, so expect to have to attend for hypnotherapy several times, possible once a week (depending on the problem and the method of hypnotherapy used). Having said that sometimes an issue is resolved faster than you or even your therapist anticipated. One young teenager I treated was delighted, as was her mother (thank goodness) that she felt like a different person (in a good way) after the first session, and didn't need any further sessions after the second.
If your therapist encourages you to come back for more than twelve sessions without re-assessment as to whether the treatment is benefitting you, then they are not behaving ethically. If you and the therapist are clear that you are going back for the enjoyment of total relaxation rather than treatment then this may be acceptable - for example if the client is coping with a terminal disease and finds the sessions comforting. You shouldn't really need to see a therapist for hypnotic relaxation long term, as you don't want to find yourself becoming dependent on the sessions. A good therapist will recommend that you don't follow this path, and try self hypnosis for relaxation and enjoyment purposes. If hypnotherapy is being beneficial then it should have in most cases have helped you within at most six to twelve sessions. If the client is not responding in a reasonable amount of time they should be referred to a different type of therapist/counsellor/other health professional, and a good hypnotherapist may have a list of names to suggest for referral. In fact if a good hypnotherapist believes you require a different type of therapy/counselling, or that hypnotherapy is not the right approach for your problem they will tell you right at the start. Chronic or terminal illness (as above) can be one of the exceptions to the six to twelve week rule; regular sessions which are tweaked to best help the client through their journey can be beneficial. Many hospitals dealing with cancer for instance will provide details of (in many cases free voluntary) therapists in your area.
Hypnosis is a method to separate the conscious and unconscious brain, to bypass the consciousness and it's propensity to 'over protect' behaviours that seem to help us. If a behaviour has worked to help you in the past, for example a bar of chocolate has helped you feel better after a traumatic event, your subconscious will latch on to this and instruct your conscious 'self' to do the same thing every time when faced with a similar situation. Your conscious guard needs to be temporarily disabled, in order to speak to and instruct your subconscious directly, that this behaviour is no longer needed, (or not needed as a coping mechanism - chocolate is a nice treat if it's not linked with psychological 'stuff'). This can encourage the conscious self to follow a different more positive direction, perhaps an alternative set of less harmful behaviours can be agreed upon between therapist and (the clients') subconscious mind.
What the therapist does to guide you into hypnosis (loosely)
Therapeutic hypnosis is achieved by encouraging the client to enter a deeply relaxed state where theta brain waves dominate (too deep and you fall asleep). The client is guided usually using a verbal 'journey', but some therapists use eye fixation as part of their technique (eye fixation = staring at a fixed point, while the therapist makes suggestions) - fast induction and or eye fixation works well if a subject has been hypnotised before, and the brain sort of 'knows where it's going'. This guided relaxation usually follows the form of getting the subject to be aware of their whole body, (bit by bit focussing attention on different areas) and telling them to feel all the tension leave that area using metaphors and vivid description which taps into the subjects main way of relating to the world (as mentioned earlier, visual, auditory etc), until the therapist notices a change in the clients posture, breathing even the face can become paler or more flushed, these changes indicate the client is starting to get to that 'special state'. The deepener is then usually employed, which is where the 'journey/story' comes into play. This emphasises the deepness of relaxation and encourages you to see just how much deeper you can go. This is the part which is designed to accomplish a dissociative state, where the subconscious drifts away from the consciousness and rises to the surface and is being addressed directly. A deepener may take the form of a journey.... for example, seeing - feeling - smelling - hearing your way through a walk down a hill, through a wood, onto a wide soft sandy beach with gentle glinting waves lapping softly on the shore. The whole journey is described in vivid detail, and is different for all clients. Some may take a ride on a spaceship through the quiet depths of space, or diving under water watching magnificent tropical fish glide by, or even just through their perfect imaginary house. This journey as previously stated allows the conscious mind to drift off, allowing the subconscious to come to the fore. The deepener usually leads the client to 'settle down' in a 'safe place' that is just for them, where they are ready to allow their unconscious mind to be totally free, and able to accomplish what they need. This can with some subjects be accomplished very quickly with different types of induction, for example the confusional technique where the mind is overloaded with different things to think about, until the therapist tells them that they must now concentrate on just one thing, and this will often drop the client into hypnosis as he/she 'drops' the other thoughts and focuses on just one thing, this seems particularly effective with people who have trouble 'letting go'. There are many different styles and techniques of induction and these are easily researched on the internet if you are interested in finding out more.
When you are in hypnosis if feels something like a lucid dream, allowing the therapist to guide you into more positive thought patterns, or allowing your full potential to manifest, giving you the tools to deal with whatever problem you are undergoing hypnotherapy for..
When you are hypnotised do not expect (as some depictions in the media would have you believe,) to fall into a completely spaced out almost 'zombie' like state where you are not aware of anything. You may well be aware of everything or most of what is going on around you and of everything said, - 'however if you were -'wired up', (and some therapists can provide this option) it would be clear that your brain waves were in a different state (theta) to normal waking consciousness (beta). You may find yourselves drifting during hypnosis, becoming aware of the therapists voice, and then finding that you have become unaware of it for a moment, drifting in your mind, this is quite normal, and your subconscious will be taking everything in. If it is required in the session you may be asked to speak or raise a finger to indicate that you have reached the 'place' needed, or to elicit information you were looking for. Some people can find it hard to speak under hypnosis because they are simply too deeply relaxed, just as if you were trying to have a conversation whilst firmly asleep (although they are different mental states), others have no problem at all, whichever you are your therapist will be able to work with you just fine.
Hypnotherapy must always be performed by someone who has some knowledge of counselling, and the way the human mind works, it is not enough simply to get someone into a trance like state and stomp around in their brain making suggestions wily nilly. There are many approaches a therapist can take depending on the problem presenting, and the personality of the client. Not all of these approaches involve suggestion, for example if you are aware of a situation that happened many years ago that is impacting negatively on your life, and that you want to change your response to, or be clearer in your mind about what really happened during an incident, this could be achieved with 'age regression'. However you shouldn't undergo age regression therapy unless you are certain there is no other option, as it can open up a whole can of worms. Although these 'worms' may (not necessarily) need a lot of work from both you and your therapist if age regression is the right approach then you should take it, as you will ultimately benefit from it. This kind of therapy should only be carried out by a qualified, accredited experienced hypnotherapist. The issue of implanting false memories is one a therapist should be aware of, and the therapist must never lead the client, only guiding them into a hypnotic state and providing the means for them to source what they need, for example you shouldn't be asked what is 'he/she doing?' as this implies someone is doing something, a question should be phrased neutrally for example 'what do you see now?'. An example of a technique sometimes employed once a subject is in a hypnotic state, which allows them to access past experiences is to guide them to (mentally) sit in a comfortable chair and 'watch' a tape of their lives on a big screen. The client can be given control of the rewind process, and stop the picture when they get to the point that they need. They may then watch it play, in 'normal time', or slow motion or even fast forward if necessary. Depending on the situation the person is revisiting they can be guided to view the picture as if watching a film dispassionately, allowing themselves to be free from the emotion of the situation, making the picture less vivid, smaller, further away, draining it of colour and power, and finally cutting that piece of 'film' and storing it on a mental 'reel' in a metaphorical file in their mind. The memory is there, but stored away harmlessly, 're-framing' it. A subject that is too big in it's own right to go into here EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) claims to snip the 'thread' to that file, releasing it completely, you wont forget, but it no longer means anything or has any impact at all on you. Many hypnotherapists are now incorporating EFT into their therapy, and say it enhances the efficacy - Paul McKenna has started to do this, but don't let that necessarily put you off. This is a small example of the huge sphere of hypnotherapy known as age regression, and different techniques to the one detailed here to 'take you back' exist. Age regression even includes 'past life' regression, where the client is 'allowed' or guided to drift back further than their birth, usually employing a corridor of doors (or an album or memories of some such metaphor which allows you to go backwards in 'time') each of which leads to a different 'life' - different imagery can be used and the film metaphor could be suitable for some. Many hypnotherapists disassociate themselves from this practice, not wanting to be associated with the aforementioned 'kooky' implications. I would like to believe we live again, however personally I suspect the 'past lives' we experience may be a way of the brain addressing an issue in your current situation which it doesn't want to confront 'head on', so to speak, so dissociates it somewhat by placing it in the past. However there is also a lot of 'evidence' out there which can be quite convincing as far as past life regression goes.
Other methods of hypnotherapeutic treatment include suggestive, for example "see your anxiety like ripples on a pond, see the ripples getting smaller and smaller, feel that nervous churning in your stomach slow down, get stiller and smaller and calmer ...like the ripples on that beautiful calm pond .." and so on. Hypnotic language is not always grammatically correct, or may not even appear logical, it is designed to speak to the subconscious and uses phrasing that evokes certain 'responses' or visual (or other sense) mental images. Hypno-analysis is a more profound sphere and involves finding triggers and releasing them, but no treatment component as such. It can be quite traumatic, and you are quite likely to come out of analysis finding you do not like your therapist very much, having gone through so much with that person, thus associating them with that discomfort. It may be of use if you have deep seated problems, which can be helped by hypnosis but not the usual approaches, for instance perhaps you have no idea why your actions seem to be self destructive. For example anyone who is very over weight not simply because of sudden life changes (e.g. having a child, or taking up a sedentary job), has genuinely tried and failed to lose weight for any length of time and/or has been obese from a young age probably won't respond to suggestion work, but needs ego enhancement, and a deeper level of analysis.
If you are considering seeing a hypnotherapist for anything that could have a medical cause, as I mentioned earlier please see your doctor first. Most hypnotherapists will ensure you do this before they will treat you, and sometimes work in conjunction with a medical practitioner to manage illness and or aid recovery
If you feel a hypnotherapist could help you, try and find one who is a member of one of the main professional bodies set up to monitor professional codes of ethics. These bodies can also supply online lists of therapists registered with them. Some of the most ethically reliable bodies being The Hypnotherapy Society, the Hypnotherapy Association, The Association for Professional Hypnosis and Psychotherapy. Of course if you have a hypnotherapist recommended to you, perhaps having plenty of practical work behind them and they happen to not be a member of one of these bodies, it does not necessarily preclude them. These bodies are a relatively recent development, and are not compulsory. If a therapist has a good reputation and appears ethical in their approach; for e.g. they make sure you have an initial pre-hypnosis consultation, have relevant permission forms for you to sign, which bind the therapist to ethical practice as well as give your acquiescence then they could well be a good bet.
Don't go to a therapist that sticks you in a chair and plays a c.d. to you, although it will most likely be relaxing, it's not what you are paying for. You are paying for the therapists' expertise and ability to treat YOU not a generic problem. Anyone can buy a general hypnosis c.d. these days, and whilst they may help some, they will not be addressing your specific problem. A good therapist will be able to do this, and the long term success rate is very much higher with the personal approach.
Hypnotherapists vary in their methods of advertising. Common places you could check are local papers including community magazines, doctors' surgeries/hospitals if permitted, the yellow pages, these are just some of the places you could look for a therapist.
You may be able to get hypnotherapy for some kinds of ailments on the N.H.S. It might be worth finding out if your local Health Board provides this. It might also be worth asking at your surgery/place of treatment if they are able to provide details, as although information might not be displayed, your doctor may be au fait with this aspect of treatment and have some contacts for you. When my mother was undergoing breast cancer treatment the physiotherapist gave her a leaflet for a voluntary charity which provided (as well as offering the same treatments to paying customers) a whole range of complimentary therapies free to (specifically) cancer sufferers and even their families, this included hypnotherapy. My mother tried out their reflexology as she was already receiving hypnotherapy. Also magazines may run articles on specific practitioners, and carry adverts for others, most likely magazines where you will see a plethora of these adverts are Spirit and Destiny, Prediction, Soul and Spirit, the spooky versions of Take a Break and Chat... that kind of genre. These adverts are from all over the country and you may not find one local to you.
Cost, and what you should expect in terms of training from your therapist
The price you pay can vary widely; this is mainly down to what the 'catchment area' will support. It takes a long time to put together an effective treatment plan, and most hypnotherapists (all should) train via accredited one to three year courses, demanding degree level commitment and standards. These courses also require a minimum amount of practical work undertaken (which should be countersigned as proof by the subject/volunteer/victim and your tutor) this is compulsory. This usually amounts to a range of as little as seventy hours to as much as several hundred practical hours in working with hypnosis. The therapist has to submit (three in my case, it may vary) case studies of work undertaken with clients. These have to conform to a pre specified acceptable list of problem spheres you can treat as a trainee. These must be detailed and presented in a professional (bound) manner. The therapist once trained also has to have a (paid) 'mentor' who is more experienced than themselves, with whom they 'debrief' regularly, and can turn to when issues outside their experience crop up, they also attend peer group meetings, which are signed off and submitted to professional bodies to maintain professional status. So perhaps you can see why a therapist may need to charge a 'good whack' per session. Prices are higher in prosperous areas, which are open to 'alternative' therapies and cheaper in areas of high unemployment for instance, and are perhaps not so open to alternative therapies. Prices range from about £25 for a 45min-1hour session to several hundreds of pounds. The skill of the therapist is not necessarily reflected by the price, perhaps the practitioner does not want to move to an area where they could charge more, or has great skill but no initial finance to set up a top market therapy room. Hypnotherapy can be done with all the bells and whistles, soothing music, and scents, a machine which will show when you are in trance, sound effects to enhance what the therapist is saying, and there is no doubt that these can and do aid the session - you may have seen recent articles in the newspapers about a hypnotherapy centre which offers a hypnotic gastric band, and they go down this route. However it does not necessarily mean that the therapist is more skilled or effective than one who relies only on a comfortable couch and the sound of their voice. If possible (and I know it isn't always) get references and speak to previous clients.
I've asked a client I treated recently if he would mind giving his view on hypnotherapy from his perspective, he very kindly wrote a brief synopsis of his issue and treatment, and gave permission to use it here. So here it is:-
Case Study *Chris
I undertook a course of hypnotherapy in order to overcome periods of hyper anxiety associated with the increased responsibility in my work. Increasingly my job required me to both chair meetings and make key presentations to senior managers and senior staff from other organizations. While I had experience of public speaking in the past I always found the whole process an ordeal which at times could provoke feelings of panic and deep upset. I've never really believed in taking pills to deal with these kinds of issues as I believe this can too easily lead to long term dependence. I also realize that you need a degree of adrenalin to give an edge and spontaneity to the message you're trying to convey to an audience. Having done research into various coping mechanisms over the years I came to see hypnotherapy as potentially a means to perhaps finally master my apparently deep seated fears.
I undertook 3 sessions with *J. The process was one of gradually relaxing down into a very calm and receptive state. The process felt like a journey and the imagery used was based on an understanding of my general personality type and the kinds of things which would resonate with me. After experiencing my safe and beautiful relaxing place - in my case sitting comfortably in the base of an ancient tree in a beautiful meadow and feeling a sense of deep relaxation. The sessions continued by linking these sensations to a visualisation of the experience of public speaking which gave me such feelings of anxiety. I was guided to visualise the scene being drained of colour and fading to the distance in order to drain it of its potency for me. *J then fed a new imagery into my sub conscious mind of a completely placid lake which is able to absorb and deflect the anxieties life throws at us, and worked on my self image and confidence. This was linked with a physical tool of placing my middle finger to my thumb in order to access this sense of relaxation and calm at any time of stress. Clearly what I have noted here is my conscious experience of the 3 sessions but it's important to remember that a lot of the work on your problem is taking place at an unconscious and sub conscious level.
What I can say is that since these sessions I have been far better able to control any feelings of rising panic and conduct myself with a more relaxed confidence in public speaking situations. By drawing on the imagery from the sessions and using the finger touching technique I can feel a wave of relaxation move down my body which immediately helps me to regulate my breathing and so reduce or eliminate feelings of panic. The sessions themselves were also extremely pleasant and clearly deeply relaxing.
In my case I did not opt to go deeply into why I have developed this anxiety in the first place but looked to hypnotherapy as a swift way to reprogramme my thinking in a more positive way. However my understanding is that you could take a deeper route if this was more appropriate.
* Names have been omitted for privacy reasons.
I started smoking when I was fifteen years old as I thought it was the 'cool' thing to do at the time and all my friends did it, so I wanted to fit in with the gang!! When I got to about 18 years old I really regretted my decision but by that time it was too late and I was addicted!
I continued throughout my life smoking, I actually thought that I enjoyed it and loved nothing more than a smoke with my drink on a weekend. It was only when I got married and my husband and I wanted to try for a baby that reality dawned on me. Research shows that smokers find it more difficult to conceive a baby than smokers do. Also the thought ran through my head that I better stop smoking before I fell pregnant as I knew I would HAVE to stop when I fell pregnant as the thought of making a tiny, unborn foetus smoke because I was sent shivers through my spine. I figured that it would be much easier to stop before I fell pregnant than after.
Therefore we decided on our honeymoon in May 2007, that once we got back to England we would stop. Now we hadn't really decided how to stop, we had both tried to stop previously and failed! We have tried nicotine patches, nicotine gun and Allen Carr's easy way to stop smoking book, and did stop for a short time at each attempt, but after a few weeks we always ended up back on the cigarettes.
We had heard a good report about being hypnotised to stop smoking, I was a bit pessimistic to say the least but we knew we had to give it a go, as we were desperate to be as healthy as possible before we started trying for a baby.
I looked all over the internet to search for hypnotherapists in our area, the one I finally decided upon was Karen Wilkins and her website address is Kirisw.co.uk. I already thought that it would be expensive to have this hypnotherapy done and at £150 per person I definitely knew it was, this £150 included a follow up session if the first one didn't work, so wasn't too bad really! When we worked out how quickly we would spend £150 on cigarettes and the answer was roughly 25 days we knew we had to go ahead and give it a go. So I booked for Karen to come to my house one evening to do both myself and my husband. I liked the fact that she would come to our house as it made it all a bit easier for us.
Karen arrived and immediately set us at ease, she is a very nice and friendly woman. She started off by completing some paperwork, asking us what our current smoking habits were, why we wanted stop, people we loved that we were stopping for, how much we spent on cigarettes. Some of the more unusual questions she asked us were what smells did we hate and what tastes did we hate. My answer to this was things such as I hated the smell of sweat, stale cigarettes, bad breath and I hated the taste of fish. I will explain why she wanted to know this later on.
Karen hypnotised my husband first while I waited upstairs. When she had finished I went down and my husband looked very tired, as if he had just woken up. I asked him what it was like and he said that he thinks he just fell asleep!! Karen explained that when she hypnotises she speaks to the unconscious mind, so it doesn't matter what the conscious mind does as it will still work. She said some people will fall asleep while this happens, others will hear everything that it going on, it all depends on how strong your conscious mind is.
Karen then hypnotised me, I lay out on the sofa and she started talking to me in a very quiet, calm voice. She then relaxed me into a very deep state of relaxation. I heard all of this part and remember my body feeling like lead and feeling so heavy that I could not move my arms or legs. I started to panic a little bit but she must have realised as she started to relax me even further. The rest is all a bit of a blur to be honest, I remember bits and pieces, like i remember her telling me that if I took another drag of a cigarette I would taste fish and smell sweaty arm pits and bad breath - eeuggh!!!
I also remember her telling me to just think of all the people I love and how disappointed they would be if I was to start smoking again. And how important having a baby was to me and how bad it would be to smoke in front of my baby. It was all a bit of a guilt trip really but I suppose it was what the unconscious mind needed telling in order to stop smoking!!
The session lasted for an hour which went incredibly fast, afterwards I was expecting to feel really different but I didn't feel different in any way. I am very pleased to say that neither myself nor my husband have touched a cigarette since we had the hypnotherapy in June 2007!! It is very hard to describe how this makes you stop but it just does.
After the hypnotherapy I still thought about cigarettes but unlike before, when the urge would not go away until I lit up a cigarette, this time I would think about having one for a second and then the thought would go away, therefore the urge did not bother me enough to light up a cigarette. This continued for about 6 weeks and then after that we just stopped thinking about cigarettes altogether. The thought of having a cigarette now makes me feel physically sick, so I would highly recommend this to anyone out there that really wants to stop smoking.
As a qualified Hypnotherapist I am obviously going to review this favourably. I trained at a hospital under 2 very experienced hypnotherapists back in 1999 so I've been practising for a while now.
Firstly I'd like to point out I do not do stage hypnosis, there was the option to learn this on our course but I declined as I never wanted to go on stage and create funny situations but I wanted to be able to help people. I also did learn past life regression but do not practice this either.
Secondly I want to clear up the myth that you are not aware of what is being said to you during hypnotherapy, I have been hypnotised many times as part of the course it was deemed necessary to experience it, and it's just like the period between being awake and asleep when you are very relaxed but you hear everything that is said to you and are perfectly capable of responding.
Over the years I have seen countless people for weight loss with very good results, smokers are more hit and miss as the desire to stop smoking still needs to be there and if it isn't hypnotherapy isn't going to magically stop people smoking.
My favourite clients are always those with psychological problems, especially ones where it manifests in a physical symptom. An example is a lady who had been on anti-depressants for 15 years or her jaw would lock up. We established in one session this was due to the death of her mother, treated the cause and she stopped taking them that day with no further problems in her jaw.
Another interesting subject is phobias, sometimes the phobia people thnk they have is not what it's all about at all. A friend of mine was terrified of the dentist and asked me to treat her before she went in for a tooth out, once we got going on the session I rapidly realised she actually had a fear of needles not the dentist. We addressed this and she had the tooth removed without any extra worry.
I see a few people regularly for stress and de-stress them in an hour so they're good to go for a month or longer, however long it takes for their world to get stressful again. I also give all new clients a free consultation where I learn more about the problem and the client themselves so I can tailor a session precisely to the individual. Some people I refuse to treat, if I don't think they are serious about treatment I send them away with a task to complete before I see them again (for example cutting down the amount of cigarettes they smoke before a session) and if they don't bother trying I know they won't succeed. I also will not agree to see anyone I know I can't help.
Hypnotherapy has a wide range of uses and is very helpful for alot of people but it is not magic and cannot force someone to do something they don't want to do or find unacceptable.
There are unscrupulous therapists out there who put in time limits on their work for repeat appointments, I do not do this nor do I agree to this. When tinkering with someone's subconscious you have to remember what you've done and how you've done it so I have notes on all my clients, not that anyone else would understand my form of notes!
Basically hypnotherapy treats the subconscious not the conscious. The subconscious is always going to beat the conscious, think about a phobia, you consciously know it's silly and irrational but the subconscious doesn't so you can't just consciously think your way out of it.
I obviously often encounter non-believers, these people are usually not really non-believers and if you offer to give them a temporary headache or hot flush (it's not something you really would do, just a suggestion) they rapidly decline so if they didn't believe they wouldn't think this was possible.
I can also clear a room in seconds once people find out what I do! There are many who think they only have to look at me and they'll be under so avoid me at all cost! Popular aren't I?!
With hypnotherapy it's all in the wording so it helps if you can articulate in an appropriate style for the particular client. I won't go into the details of various methods of putting someone into a "hypnotic trance" as that would ruin the mystery! And the less peope know about how you've done it the less likely they are to unpick it.
Hypnotherapy isn't for every condition, but it does help with weight issues, eating disorders, confidence, smoking, phobias, stress, grief, deep seated psychological issues, some forms of pain and alot more besides. Prices vary for the treatment required but usually about £35 a session is pretty normal.
You have nothing to fear from hypnotherapy, it is a perfectly safe and relaxing method.
I have had a phobia about injections and blood tests for as long as I can remember. Actually that's a lie. I can remember being five years old and the doctor telling my mum I would need a blood test. I remember asking "what's a blood test?" (oh blissful ignornace!) So prior to this I did not have a phobia! On the day of the blood test I do not remember being scared until the doctor rolled up my sleeve and told me to "keep very still as I'm going to insert a needle in your vein and if you move your arm the vein will split". Well, calmness turned into hysteria. The nurse tried to hold me down to no avail. The docotr finally gave up on the five year old girl, such was my hysteria, and I was referred to the hospital for the blood test. I am now aged 25 and in 20 years I have been lucky enough to have only needed around 5 blood tests, but each one has been proceeded by hysteria, "special" hospital appointments and an increasing amount of embarrassment as I got older, but sadly no wiser... At age 22 I decided to try and tackle my phobia. I hadn't had a blood test in years but was about to get married and thought I should conquer this once and for all. I went to see a hypnotherapist who was a nice enough bloke but I only lasted one session before I gave up. There were many reasons for this? Each session cost £25 and he couldn?t give me any idea how many I?d need. 8 to 10 was a rough estimate. Also he had an annoyed habit of not being able to say th?s. Now this wouldn?t normally bother me too much but when you are in a trance and having to listen carefully to every word someone is saying, plus repeatedly on a tape after, a small annoyance can be magnified. So I gave up the hypnotherapy and literally a couple of days later I was rushed into casualty with a suspected stroke. It wasn?t, it was just a sever migraine, but I had to have a blood test immediately and then the hysteri
a started? This was 3 years ago and I?ve never wanted or needed to tackle the phobia again. However a couple of weeks ago I found out there?s a genetic disorder in my family that we all had to be tested for. I felt so sorry for my mum as she said ?I?m afraid it means a blood test Sarah?, as again the hysteria and tears started. However as this was a blood test I could ?plan? for I decided to try and tackle it again. I went to a local hypnotherapist who I had heard good things about. She told me I would only need 2 sessions with her. One as soon as possible and then one before the blood test. It was up to me how long I left in between ? I would know when the time was right. Before I had my first session I had a week of listening to her tape every day taking me into a trance. This was to get me used to her voice so treatment could start as soon as we first met up. Well the tape was extremely powerful and led me through a deep relaxation that ended with her telling me to ?sleep deeply?. After a week of doing this I felt I had been able to achieve a deep trance. At the first session she asked me a lot about my phobia and told me she was going to attach positive thoughts to the blood test experience. I laid down on a couch and she started by going through the relaxation as on the tape. Once I was in a trance she asked me to imagine walking to the doctors for the blood test, and then go through the whole experience. She constantly asked me how I was feeling and encouraged me to feel positive by imagining the proudest moment in my life. This was repeated several times and I answered her questions so she could gain a better understanding about why I have my phobia. I remembered everything that was said during the session and afterwards we talked it through. My ?homework? was to repeat this trance and the visualisation twice a day until I was ready for the blood test. I went away feeling very positive and
as if I could have had it done there and then! This was amazing as I hadn?t even been able to think about it before without bursting into tears! The next couple of weeks were a bit of a rollercoaster. I had something stressful happen to me after a week which invaded all my thoughts, so every time I tried to do the trance I couldn?t concentrate properly. I had to stop and when I returned to her after 3 weeks I thought that the hypnosis hadn?t worked and I somehow had had a role in this. She reassured me that this was quite normal in this situation as stress will always find our weakest points. She assured me I could get back on track and I believed it. After the second session I left feeling positive once more. This was on a Friday afternoon and I had my test booked for the Monday morning. I was determined to practice the visualisation every day. On the Monday I didn?t feel happy about having the blood test, but I was able to keep a check on my emotions. I was able to go to work in the morning beforehand and it didn?t occupy my thoughts all the time. It would have done before and I would have been crying uncontrollably. I went to the surgery alone ( a huge achievement!) and kept calm while I waited. The nurse was running late and I was sitting there for 15 minutes, but still I was calm. When I had the test I opted to lie down, as I had done my visualisations this way and I just looked away and thought positive thoughts. I wasn?t shaking or crying - amazing! It didn?t all go quite as planned as the nurse had to take a lot of blood for this type of test, and she couldn?t find a vein and had to swap arms. I shed one tear when this happened but re-composed myself before she took blood from the other arm. When it was over the nurse, who knew I?d had hypnotherapy for the phobia, said I?d done well. Only then did I tell her that it was the first time that there hadn?t had to be another two nurses holding me down!
Then she said I?d done REALLY well!! Thank you for letting me share this with you all. Writing it down has helped reinforce what an achievement conquering this phobia was. I would encourage anyone of you reading this who had any type of phobia to try hypnotherapy. If anyone lives in Hertfordshire my therapist?s name is Jessica Richards and you contact me directly if you want to know how to book with her. Now I?m looking forward to booking my tetanus booster!
Hypnotherapy and hypnosis are two very different practices which are often confused. Whereas hypnosis is often used as entertainment to make people eat raw onions, think they're washing machines or have orgasms every time they hear a Rolling Stones record, hypnotherapy is a long-recognised psychotherapeutic practice which can be helpful in many psychological and emotional conditions. Freud himself was a big fan of hypnosis as a tool to reveal the subconscious and unconscious conflicts which he believed caused mental illness, and in the 1930s to the 1960s it was popular to be put under whilst taking LSD. Cary Grant was just one of many Hollywood celebrities who subscribed to the latter practice which is now understandably outlawed on the grounds that not only is it ineffective as a treatment (who on earth could come out with anything but utter s**t after they'd just dropped a tab?) but is also highly dangerous and sent many a devotee on a long holiday in a sanatorium after a few sessions. Today hypnotherapy is still widely practised by both specialists in the field and by psychologists in general. Freud's theory of it opening a channel to the subconscious/unconscious still carries some weight, but many psychologists use it as a way to relax their clients and enable them to talk more freely and relaxedly about the causes of their emotional or mental problems. A good friend of mine, a psychologist of 15 years standing, has used hypnotherapy in her treatment of phobias, depression, anxiety, panic syndrome and even infertility. She finds it an invaluable way of relaxing her clients and has had a good degree of success, from curing spider and flying phobias to helping people understand the basis of their illnesses and so work to overcome them. She has also used it as a motivational tool to aid people's sports performance. I have tried hypnotherapy on two occasions - once to help anxiety and once to lose weight.
How it works: I was disappointed my first time that the therapist didn't swing a pocket watch in front of my eyes and tell me I was feeling very sleepy. What he did do was have me sit in a comfortable reclining chair, play some subtle music, have me stare at a strobing light bulb and talk very gently to me. I felt a sensation of lightheadedness and sleepiness but did not think I was 'under' at all. then he told me that a balloon was tied to my left wrist, and next thing I knew my left arm was straight up in the air and try as I might I couldn't get it down again. I was indeed under his spell. He then talked a lot about my problem and about it disappearing and gave me loads of positive thoughts and affirmations which he said would pop into my head every time I had a negative or anxious thought. The whole experience was very pleasant indeed and for the rest of the day following a session I felt relaxed, positive and deeply content. But does it work?: Well, for me it did not help with the anxiety - but then I was very ill at the time and I don't think that anything other than psychiatric drugs could have done the trick at that time. My second experience, however, was altogether different. I had had a broken leg which took ages to heal and left me rather immobile, during which time I put on 20 lbs. I had three hypnotherapy sessions to help me find the willpower to lose the weight, and I also had a tape of the first session to use at home every night. I lost 20 lbs in 3 months without ever feeling as though I was on a diet. I found myself only wanting small portions of healthy food and not even thinking about nosh in between meals. This for me was amazing - I do love my grub - and I have to put it down to the hypnosis. Is it dangerous?: There was a case in the media recently of someone suing a stage hypnotist because they became schizophrenic shortly after b
eing put under. I'm not sure but I think the hypnotist won. I'm no expert but in my opinion schizophrenia exists dormant in a person and anything could potentially trigger it to activate. Of course there is always the chance that a hypnotherapist could 'plant' bad suggestions in your mind, but I've never heard of this happening and hypnotherapists themselves always say that the individual will is far stronger than that of the hypnotherapist and would reject any idea of the hypnotist's it found repugnant or undesirable. In the end I suppose you're taking a chance like you are with anyone you choose to put your faith in, but I would recommend that if you do decide to go for hypnotherapy you choose a registered member of the Society of Medical Hypnotherapists or similar. These people have usually had sound psychotherapy training and are often qualified clinical psychologists. How much does it cost?: As many psychologists practice hypnotherapy you might well get to see one free on the NHS. Privately you could expect to pay £30+ per hour.
I don't have personal experience of this as I am a non-smoker, but I know of people who swear by it, my husband included. It all started about a year ago when one of my work colleagues told me about her success at giving up smoking after visiting a hypnotherapist. At the time my husband smoked and I was desperate for him to give it up and he muttered from time to time about wanting to as well. He had smoked for about 15 years and as he suffers from a weak chest, it's not a good idea. So, I got the 'phone number and gave it to him. He rang it that evening but got no answer. The post-it note with the number was attached to the fridge and there it stayed, for nearly 12 months. One day, out of the blue, my husband told me that he'd called the hypnotherapist again. I was amazed, as I'd all but forgotten about it. Anyway, she called him back at home one evening and asked him all sorts of questions. Obviously she wanted to know how many he smoked a day and I was shocked to hear it was as many as 30 (he'd told me 5 maximum!!). She asked why he wanted to give up and a bit about his health. She agreed to see him and sent him instructions to her house and asked that he send a non-refundable deposit of £20. On the day he was very nervous, never having been hypnotised before. I'd told him to take a pack of cigarettes in with him as my colleage had said at the end of the session he would be asked if he wanted to hand them over. He bought a new pack, but was so nervous that he smoked them all and had to buy another pack! The session itself lasted 2 hours and cost a total of £120. This is a lot of money, but probably was what he was spending in a month smoking. So, if it worked he decided that it was money well spent. He was sat in a chair and "put under". He said that he felt totally in control, but if he tried to move or open his eyes he couldn't. He could hear everything that was going on, both in t
he room and noises from outside in the street. The actual hypnosis itself he remembers very little. He does remember her saying at one point that he was to visulise a brick wall and when he could see it to lift his index finger. He had trouble visulising this so thought he'd just lift his finger anyway, but couldn't! As soon as he had this picture in his mind, he could lift his finger. He has no recollection of what she said to him with regards to smoking. At the end of the session, she taught him how to self-hypnotise himself and gave him some instructions to follow. He had to take vitamin B complex and calcium for so many days, as well as eat 3 grapefruits a day for 4 days. He was also told to avoid drinking tea. He came home on an absolute high. He said that she'd asked if he wanted to give her his cigarettes and he just handed them over. He then went out to the car and drove down the road to the local golf shop. In there people were smoking and usually that would prompt him to light up, he didn't. Before coming on home he stopped off in the garage, the usual place for him to buy his cigarettes, again the thought didn't even cross his mind. He said to me that he didn't feel like smoking, as far as he was concerned he thought of himself as an ex-smoker. We are now 3 months down the line and he hasn't touched a cigarette since that day. He doesn't fancy having a smoke, even when his workmates deliberately light up in front of him and blow smoke in his face. In fact if he's near someone who's smoking he has to open a window, he doesn't like the smell of it. His workmates are so impressed by his giving up that several are planning to go themselves. Obviously, I am very proud of him (and I must admit amazed that it actually worked) and just so pleased that he no longer smokes. He has already noticed a difference in his health and feels much better then he used to. He thoroug
hly recommends hypnotherapy as a means of giving up smoking. When he mentioned to the therapist that I was pregnant she said that she could help me through the labour by hypnotherapy and even teach him how to put me under - I think i'll stick to the birthing pool instead!!!!
You are stretched out on my couch, relaxed and at peace. I have a small crystal on a string. I am holding this about twelve inches from your eyes. I want you to gaze intently at the crystal and listen to my voice. "Keep looking at the crystal. As you do you will notice a very pleasant feeling of heaviness coming over your entire body. This soothing sensation of heaviness will gradually put you into a deep, sound, pleasant, enjoyable sleep ..." "...When I count to three it will be utterly impossible for you to open your eyes ..." "One. Your entire body is heavy and so very sleepy ..." "Two. Your head is heavy ... you just want to close your eyes and fall into a deep, deep sleep ..." "Three ... fall into a deep, sound sleep ... deep sleep, sound sleep ..." "You are now in a deep, hypnotic sleep and shall not awake until I tell you to wake up" Ha! Ha! You are now at my mercy, what shall I make you do? The above (not the last sentence!) is taken from a hypnotists script. I haven't included it all as I didn't want you to doze off before you've clicked and made me 5p! I find hypnotism and the power of suggestion fascinating. It is something that we all do to a lesser or greater degree without realising what we are doing. But is hypnotism for good or, as some occultists would have us believe, something we should avoid? There are two kinds of hypnotism (or suggestion), Hetro and Auto. The first means 'to another' and the second to 'one's self' - a bit like sex I suppose! Hetro is therefore where we go visit a practitioner and he/she does the necessary. Perhaps to help us overcome a habit, inferiority complex, sexual deficiency or some other problem. Auto is where we suggest things to ourself - hopefully of a positive nature. The thing that both have in commo
n is relaxation. What really happens when we relax sufficiently to be influenced by the suggestions made is debatable. An occultist may tell us that the individual is forced out of his or her physical body leaving the hypnotist in control. They will go on, in a worrying manner, to say that the 'patient' will forever be a slave of the hypnotist. If this were to be true it would be very dangerous - but this may be a little over the top. Or is it? If you have seen a stage hypnotist you may have seen people doing things like jumping up or shouting out after they have returned from the stage to their seats in the audience. The hypnotist just has to give a pre-determined signal - a word, some music etc. Hypnotism is a state of heightened suggestibility whereby, somehow, the conscious mind is put in a state of abeyance. This allows the subconscious mind to be reached and therefore influenced. Any suggestions will more likely be followed without the conscious mind arguing and reasoning that such and such is impossible. So we get to believe that we can stop smoking, not feel pain, can recall forgotten things from the past and even remember previous lives - if you believe that sort of thing. The hypnotic state is sometimes described as being similar to the state of mind just prior to falling asleep. I find that this is a very good time to tell myself things. Such as how great I will feel in the morning, how confident I will be and generally what a wonderful, more intelligent, beautiful, sexy, loving, understanding person I am becoming! Well if I don't believe it, why should anyone else? The principles of hypnotism have been used since the days of the ancient Egyptians but it was Frederik Anton Mesmer that got the ball rolling in the more modern world. Mind you this was back in the mid and late 1700's. He, very modestly, called it Mesmerism. His wasn't what we know as hypnotism today as he believed that
a power or energy, he called 'animal magnetism', was transferred from the practitioner to the patient. It is generally thought that Dr. James Braid from Manchester followed up Mesmer's theories in 1841 which has led to present day hypnotism. Dr. Braid found that by having a patient gaze at a bright object he or she could be put into a hypnotic sleep. He also created the word hypnotism from the Greek 'hypnos', meaning sleep. I feel that, like most things, Hetro hypnotism can be for good or bad. If it can make someone healthier, happier, stop smoking, not feel pain at a dentist and many other plus points this must be good. There is an argument though that hypnotism doesn't 'cure' and that results are only temporary. If hypnotism can also make people do things that they would normally consider to be wrong then this isn't so good. It could be unwise to allow someone, unless you know and trust them, to be in control of your body and perhaps your subconscious. Personally I would never be hypnotised. I can get into enough trouble with just red wine! I'll stick with 'self hypnosis' which I see as something beneficial if used properly and it's me in control. Feed in positive stuff and beneficial results should follow. My final conclusions are: Hetro 5/10 Auto (or Self) 9/10 I'm talking hypnotism still! (otherwise 10/10 & 9/10). ;-> Kay
I tried hynotherapy after suffering from stress at work. I had a very high powered and stressful job and I was constantly battling with targets. I got to the stage where I didn't think I could handle this anymore. A friend suggested hypnotherapy. I really didn't expect it to help although I was desperate for a solution. The first session lasted almost half an hour. The therapist talked to me and didn't seem to do very much at all. I paid my £15 and went away not feeling any better. I agreed to try it a second time and went at the same time the next day. I couldn't believe it. I left the room feeling wonderful. I was relaxed and very possitive. The next day at work I really made mincemeat of those targets. So, I can say, it worked for me.
Misconceptions about hypnotherapy are popular. Many of the untruths can be traced back to the unfortunate early use of not-always-ethical side shows and demonstrations of hypnotherapy as a form of entertainment on stage and television. Leaving aside that rather dubious form of hypnotherapy, the best way to view it is as a state of intense relaxation and concentration, in which the mind becomes remote and detached from everyday cares and concerns. In this relaxed state the subconscious part of the mind is best able to respond creatively to suggestion and imagery. It can focus on the things you wish to change and on the ways you can best do so, free from analytical or anxious thoughts. Hypnotherapy can be controlled breathing exercises, a one to one session with a therapist who directs you into relaxation, an audio tape that directs you into a relaxed state or it can be done on your own and by yourself as a form of meditation (although it does take practice). Once you are in this relaxed state - for the purpose of this review we will call it being hypnotised - then you can suggest certain things to the sub conscious mind which you couldn't necessarily to the conscious mind. For example, it is easy to tell yourself that you are not afraid of flying. You could say it a million times but still your heart would beat faster, adrenalin would start pumping and your hands would go sweaty as you walked towards the plane. However, the theory is that if you suggested to your sub conscious that you were not afraid of flying because it is irrational and causes you unpleasant feelings when on a plane, you should not suffer the bodily reactions the next time you went on a plane. Now, whether it works or not is yet to be scientifically proven. But I will give you one shred of evidence.... In Self-Hypnosis: the complete manual for health and self-change by authors Alman and Lambrou, they detail an experiment on a c
ancer patient and I will explain it here. A man had a cancerous tumour and after chemo and surgery was relying on his own immune system, or natural killer cells, to keep the cancer at bay. He also studied hypnotherapy and used visual imagery while he was hypnotized. He used to imagine his cancer as a herd of monsters running through a maze. He also visualised a fleet of knights on white horses who would gallop through the maze spearing the monsters. This is how his mind encouraged his immune system to keep the cancer at bay. His blood was tested regularly to measure his level of natural killer cells and to check whether the tumour was returning. Most of the time his immune was fine and the NK cells were numerous. During one hypnosis session he commented that he could no visualise many knights on horseback and that in his mind, they seemed to be over-powered by monsters. Tests showed that the cancer was coming back. He has more treatment to remove it and continued with the hypnosis. He continually reported that the white knights were plentiful and there were no monsters to kill and the man is now fine. Now believe what you will, it would be nice to think that it was really this easy to influence not only your sub-conscious mind, but your immune system too. I wish it was - but there is probably a little something in it.
When you are hypnotised the hypnotist brings on a deeply relaxed state, using one of many techniques-such as asking the subject to count backwards. While in this trance-like condition, the patient is asked to focus on healing thoughts or on letting go of negative habits. Hypnosis can help anxiety-related problems such as phobias and insomnia, and certain medical conditions, including headache, irritable bowel syndrome and high blood pressure. It can also help in the management of acute and chronic pain. Many people use hypnotherapy to help them give up smoking. I consulted a hypnotist to help with my fear of dentists. I had a course of 8 treatments, and it has worked a bit. I can now go to the dentist for check-ups, but if I need treatment, I still need a general anaesthetic.
Having tried everything else to lose weight with varying degrees of success, I tried hypnotherapy becuase it was the only thing, short of surgery, I hadn't tried. When I arrived for my appointment, I nearly didn't go through with it - the hypnotherapist was a very ordinary old fellow in a suit - not at all what I was expecting. Then he went through my food and exercise (ha!) regime and made suggestions for changes that were pretty routine - cut out sugar, chocolate (was he insane!) chips and fatty foods. I told him that I had trouble avoiding these foods and he said that was what we would work on. I sat on the couch for 10 mins perfectly wide awake - or so I thought. My husband, however, had been waiting for 45 minutes so I obviously hadn't been as awake as I thought I had. I also got a tape of the session to take away and listen to (ideally twice a day but that doesn't always happen0. Now, whatever diet I've been on I have never been able to cut down to less than one teaspoon of sugar and I have literally forced myself to reduce the amount almost grain by grain when I have tried previously but since that day I have NEVER had nor wanted sugar in my tea. I no longer crave chocolate and often find, when I buy it out of habit, that I can't face eating it. And this was all totally effortless. I have lost over half a stone without any effort or deliberate change in my eating habits. When I go back, he is going to add something to give me the urge to exercise which should make it even better. I know a lot of people have not found hypnotherapy successful but it worked for me and I only went to one session. I wasn't even expecting it to work - I was probably one of the most sceptical people he has ever had sitting on his couch - but it has been totally worth every penny of the £30 that I paid. I only wish I had tried it years ago. UPDATE - just weighed myself again and have lost a ten pounds
since I wrote this opinion. I have had my usual sporadic gym attendence and the odd step aerobics class and have eaten whatever I fancied - this is really amazing! ANOTHER UPDATE - I was talking about this today with a colleague who told me that she went to help her get over a bereavement and that it really made a difference to her too. She had more sessions than I did but it does show the versatility of hypnotherapy.
Smoking is a habit that's really hard to break. That's why, even though the desire for nicotine leaves your system after a few days when you quit smoking, it's the habit of smoking that will get you going again. Hypnotherapy can cure you of the habit! I qualified as a hypnotherapist who specialises in a programme devised by well-known hypnotherapist Valerie Austin called Stop Smoking in One Hour. I've since tried the technique on four of my frineds, and they've all quit! It's a really simple technique which just reprogrammes your subconscious so that you break the habit of smoking. Hypnosis is really relaxing and you're conscious of what's going on the whole time. Basically this technique works by using two techniques - aversion therapy, where you imagine you're smoking hundreds of fags at the same time till you feel sick - and reprogramming, where you imagine yourself in those common situations where you like a smoke, like in the pub or after a meal, and you see yourself as a non-smoker. The Stop Smoking in One Hour programme is 95% successful, and in a survey by the BMJ it was said to be the most successful and healthiest method of stopping smoking. You can find out details about it on paradiselearning.co.uk. If you really want to quit, this is the way to do it.
The basic principle to remember with any form of therpay is that you have to want to change within yourself otherwise the time and money that you and others spend it wasted. I had been having panic attacks on and off for about 4 years and one day I decided that enough was enough. I was on a training course in London and started having almighty palpatations, i went into blind panic which lasted for about 15 minutes. After the journey home I arranged to meet a hypnotherapist during one lunchtime and from the moment I met him I knew that I was in safe hands. For a person who has panic attacks, to implicitly trust someone is very hard. But my hynotherapist was something else. Cutting to the chase, I no longer have panic attacks, I am more confident and relaxed and genuinely believe that this form of therpay works for me. As for everyone else, who can say?
I first tried hypnotherapy to give up smoking about 15 years ago. At the time I was more interested in the experience of being hypnotised than in giving up smoking. I went to a group session given by a 'stage' hypnotist and was very surprised to find it worked. Cigarettes tasted absolutely disgusting for a week or so after the session and I only wish that I had really wanted to give up then - but I didn't. Last year I decided to really make an effort and went to a hypnotherapist. Because of my previous experience I believed it would work and knew that I was reasonably susceptible to hypnosis. I had two sessions at £60 each. After the first session I felt very confident and wonderfully relaxed - it is a very pleasant experience in its own right. The hypnotist gave me a tape of the session and told me to play it at bedtime and other times as necessary. I cut down to about 7 a day but felt really awful. I made another appointment and she said I needed to go under deeper hypnosis so I had another session. She was a bit annoyed because I hadn't done exactly what she said, which I don't think she made very clear anyway, and I lost confidence in her. Still believing that hypnotherapy could work I decided that perhaps a different therepist would work better for me. So I made an appointment with another one. This time it only cost £30 but it still didn't work. I suspect the problem may lie with me rather than hypnotherapy. I wanted it to make giving up easy and to make cigarettes taste nasty as they had done on the first occasion. The hypnotists seemed to have a different agenda and wanted to find deep reasons for why I smoked and cure me. The first one also wanted to achieve all sorts of other 'improvements' for me which I thought was a bit of a cheek. I would love to hear of other experiences and recommendations so I could try again. Does anyone have any idea of how many sessions are needed or how much it
costs in total?