The brain is a fantastic machine which works hard to automate many of our activities and responses until they are subconscious – thus giving it space to learn new things and work on new challenges every day. For example, you may have been very conscious of how to walk when you were one, but as an adult it is (usually) a completely subconscious process! Putting it into the subconscious part of the mind gave you space to learn many other things. However, the brain cannot differentiate between automatic behaviours you want in your subconscious and behaviours you do not. For instance, it may label smoking as relaxing and therefore have you reaching for a cigarette when you’re stressed before you’ve even realised it is happening. Or it may label all dogs as dangerous, whether or not you remember why it thinks so. It is very difficult to override the subconscious using willpower alone. Using hypnotherapy, we can teach your subconscious new ways of relaxing so that it doesn’t automatically revert to those habits you no longer want, or re-teach it what is and is not scary so that you can have a different reaction to situations.
What is hypnosis?
Hypnosis is a state of relaxation everyone experiences at various times throughout the day. You are in hypnosis every time you find yourself deeply engrossed in something – be it a good book, a television show, a sport or your work. Your mind is completely focussed on the activity you’re engrossed in and you may lose track of time. You are also in hypnosis when you find yourself following a well-known route to a destination without really thinking about it, or when you’re daydreaming. We sometimes refer to this as ‘being in the flow’ or ‘zoning out’.
Why do you use hypnotherapy in your work?
A lot of what we do is subconscious, and with hypnosis we can slow your thoughts down and relax you so that we can make direct contact with your inner mind to gain an understanding of why you do the things you do, and give it suggestions for change.
There are many instances where you might have tried to consciously work on something (such as overcoming a fear of spiders, or kicking an addition), but your subconscious mind is still stuck in its old ways, making it really hard for you to stick to your goals. This is because your subconscious mind is trying to protect you from danger, so it can take it a while to understand that actually spiders are safe, or that there are other more healthy ways to relax. Under hypnosis you can get your subconscious mind on board more quickly because you can ask it what is wrong, and reassure it (if appropriate) that it doesn’t need to rely on those reactions to protect you.
I’m scared of losing control…will you make me cluck like a chicken!?
It is a common misunderstanding about hypnosis (mainly from seeing stage shows) that you lose control. In any hypnosis session, you are always still in full control and can accept or reject any suggestions you wish to. You can still talk to the therapist whilst in hypnosis if you want to ask any questions. It is a bit like that moment where you’re just drifting off to sleep – you’re warm, fuzzy and in your own world, but if at any moment you heard anything you didn’t like the sound of, you could choose to ignore it, question it, or wake up.
In stage hypnosis, the hypnotist chooses a volunteer who is willing to come up in front of an audience for entertainment. The volunteer is therefore happy to comply with suggestions such as ‘cluck like a chicken’, because they’ll get a laugh and a clap from the expecting audience. If they didn’t want to do this, the hypnotist would not be able to make them (but then, they wouldn’t have volunteered…and a stage hypnotist will have learned to spot those who are there to try and show them up!)
Before any hypnotherapy treatment we will have talked about your goals and the treatment for them in detail, and during the hypnotherapy session I will simply be guiding you through the treatment.
Okay, so what happens during a hypnotherapy treatment?
We will discuss what we want to achieve from the hypnotherapy and how it will work, and then I will guide you through a relaxation process to help you enter hypnosis. Once you are as relaxed as is right for you, we will begin the treatment – which will include giving your subconscious some suggestions for change, and may involve me asking you questions about your experience whilst you are under hypnosis so that we cover all aspects of the situation; even the ones you were not consciously aware of.
Once the treatment phase is over I’ll guide you out of hypnosis gradually – clients are usually incredibly relaxed at this point, so a fast awakening is not appreciated!
I may follow up with a recording of the session so that you can reinforce the work you’ve done, or a separate recording, if we think it appropriate.
If you have any other questions please contact me on 07545 812 477 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you wish, I can provide you with a recording which will help you relax and give you an idea of what hypnotherapy will entail if you’d like to see what it’s like before your first session.