Monthly Archives: April 2011

Hypnotherapy: A Few Questions – and Some Answers

What can hypnotherapy do for me?

Well, quite a lot, as a matter of fact. The National Council for Hypnotherapy website includes a list of nearly 50 issues that hypnotherapy can help, including:

  • Smoking
  • Weight control
  • Habits
  • Stress
  • Exam nerves
  • Confidence
  • Sleep problems
  • Phobias
  • Pain
  • Concentration
  • Memory
  • Work performance
  • Interviews

What is hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy is a way to help you to use the power of your unconscious mind to bring about therapeutic changes. A hypnotherapist will normally do this by inducing a “hypnotic trance”, which is simply a state of altered awareness, not sleep or unconsciousness

What does trance feel like?

Everyone experiences trance differently. For some, it may not feel any different to the normal “waking” state. But normally it’s similar to that feeling of deep calm that you experience just before falling asleep at night or just before waking in the morning. It’s an entirely natural state; every time you get absorbed in a book or a TV programme you are in trance!

Will I lose control of myself?

Hypnotherapy is not a passive experience – it is not something that the therapist does to you. It is more like a partnership between the two of you, with the therapist guiding you to focus on your internal world and access the huge store of resources held in your unconscious mind. You will remain fully in control and will be able to come out of trance at any time you choose. You will not be made to do or say anything against your will, or to give away any secrets. You will only be asked for enough information to enable the therapist to help you with your current problem.

So I won’t be made to bark like a dog or quack like a duck??

Absolutely not! The difference between hypnotherapy and stage hypnosis is one of context. They both involve hypnosis, but a hypnotherapist uses this for therapeutic purposes only, not for entertainment.

Will you swing a watch in front of my eyes?

Very unlikely! There are many different ways of inducing trance and the therapist will use the methods which he considers to be best for each individual client. A therapist trained in modern techniques, normally referred to as “informal”, “permissive” or “Ericksonian” (see NLP, below) will normally use only his voice to take you gently into trance, although he may use other methods if they are needed. He will never use drugs, by the way.

Can anybody be hypnotised?

You can’t be hypnotised if you choose not to be. Provided that you allow yourself to be hypnotised, however, almost everyone can be hypnotised, but not necessarily by the same hypnotist.

Is hypnosis safe?

Absolutely. Hypnosis is a 100% natural state; you have been in trance many times today. You can’t become stuck in trance, as you are always in control, although you may feel so comfortable that you may decide to remain in trance a little while longer. You also can’t stay in trance indefinitely because your bodily functions would arouse you even if your therapist stopped talking for a while. The worst thing that can happen is that you may become too comfortable and fall asleep!

What is Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)?

NLP is a revolutionary approach to human communication and development, based on the discovery that by changing how you think you can change what you think. NLP can change your mind and your life, for faster learning, better relationships and greater success. It can help you overcome fears and increase your confidence. NLP techniques are closely related to Ericksonian hypnosis, as Milton Erickson was one of the therapists on whom the founders of NLP “modelled” their system. A hypnotherapist does not have to induce a formal trance to use these methods, but they are usually more effective when the client is in a trance state.

What are Meridian Energy Therapies (METs)?

METs are mind/body healing techniques which work on the body’s energy system. The most popular MET is EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), in which you gently tap on or massage the major meridian points while focusing on your problem. EFT can help with a wide range of issues, including stress, self-confidence, pain, cravings and phobias. It is intended to be a simple self-help system, and your therapist will give you thorough instruction in its use so that you can practise and help yourself between sessions.