Updated: Nov 19, 2018
What is hypnotherapy? There are many misconceptions about just what a clinical hypnotherapist does. Many people have a notion of hypnosis as being 'stage hypnotherapy' where a watch is swung to taking the person into a trance in which they have no control. They see images of people being turned into a chicken flapping around the stage and believe the hypnotherapist can make you do anything. This is a hypnotherapist working as an entertainer and it has little relationship to how clinical therapy works. During clinical therapy you know what is happening and you are not 'made' to do anything. Hypnotherapy only works when you are congruent with the goal. If for example your partner has sent you to hypnotherapy but you don't really want to stop smoking, it's unlikely to work. It works when you really want that outcome. It will assist you by making suggestions to your unconscious.
During clinical hypnosis you will be taken into a relaxing trance. This is very similar to a guided meditation. The therapist will have ways of relaxing you to bring you into a theta state where you are listening, and where the unconscious is highly tuned and where we by-pass your 'critical mind'. The 'critical mind' will often place blocks between you and your goal which is why we by-pass it. The unconscious is responsible for 95% of your decision making so it makes sense that we communicate directly with it. Our conscious mind may decide it wants to change a habit, bust a phobia, lose weight or reduce anxiety or depression, but if our unconscious is not congruent it's not going to happen. We retrain your unconscious, through suggestion, to have a new experience, a new belief, a new way of being so that you can align with your goals. Interestingly our unconscious mind can have beliefs that were formed when we were a child and can be fear-based and have nothing to do with our adult reality and yet these beliefs can be very powerful. For example if you have experienced trauma as a child it can run your nervous system and 'flight or flight' response. If you have had an awful experience in a hospital as a child, it can bring about an adult phobia of needles or being in a hospital.
Research into addiction and weight loss shows that using willpower is bound to fail, as there is likely to be a yo-yo effect. Hypnotherapy is not about willpower, it's about understanding and experiencing the change unconsciously. It's a little like creative visualisation and stepping into the 'feeling' of the future you. It's about changing the paradigm and seeing, feeling and being the beautiful change. When you go willingly and joyously and in total alignment, with all parts of you convinced, the change is more likely to stick.
One of my favourite things to do with someone, while they are in a trance state, it to find the part of a person who is not in alignment - the you that wants to keep doing the thing another part of you wants to stop. Finding that part of you and getting them on board with the change can be really powerful. You may be quite surprised to find out who is in the driver's seat.
Clinical hypnotherapy can work with phobia, anxiety, depression, addictions and most psychological symptoms such as low self esteem or procrastination. It is clinically proven to be beneficial for IBS and Chronic pain. It is a very gentle but very powerful way to bring about change.
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