(Originally posted 12/3/2017
The title of this blog post is a phrase I hear all the time.
As a psychologist, hypnosis is a tool I use to deliver my interventions. I don’t always use hypnosis, and I do give clients a choice. There is a massive benefit to hypnosis.- it helps the clients to make profound changes, sometimes in as little as 10 minutes.
When I first mention the use of hypnosis to clients they will often say to me ‘I don’t think I can be hypnotised’ or ‘well, I went to x and I am not sure I was hypnotised’. There is a perception that hypnosis (a word derived from the greek ‘hypnos’, meaning ‘to sleep’) means a deep sleep, or even a coma, where the client has no awareness throughout the process. And maybe in some instances this is almost true (the Esdaile state, also known as a hypnotic coma), yet the majority of hypnotists/hypnotherapists (or whatever they want to call themselves) will not use these levels of depth.
WHAT WILL I HEAR IN HYPNOSIS?
During hypnosis it is very common to hear every single word the hypnotherapist/hypnotist utters. It is even more common if it is your first session with them as people tend to have a sense of curiosity. The more you allow yourself to relax into it and get guided along on the experience, the deeper you will go, and potentially have a stronger sense of amnesia.
WHAT WILL I FEEL IN HYPNOSIS?
That is an amazing question, and ultimately whatever your experience, it is the right one for you. Some people do report a sense of heaviness, as though their entire body is made of lead. It can also feel as though the body has vanished and your head is floating around above your shoulders.
Others report a sense of lightness. Sometimes that lightness is suggested, or appears after the problem has been removed or resolved.
Hypnosis isn’t relaxotherapy, sometimes you may feel relaxed, sometimes you may not. I can do long relaxing sessions, and it can be a wonderfully indulgent treat, just like a psychological massage. Often the fast work is more therapeutic.
SO, WHAT IS HYPNOSIS?
I could give standardised definitions:
The Mayo Clinic defines hypnosis as a ‘trance-like state in which you have heightened focus’.
The American Psychological Association state that hypnosis is a powerful and effective technique for dealing with a wide range of issues such as pain, anxieties, and mood. And for dealing with behavioural issues such as smoking.
Both of these are fairly accurate. I always explain to my clients that hypnosis is a state of deep focus and is one that you have experienced in the past. When engrossed in a good book, movie, or box-set on Netflix, you are in an altered state of consciousness where your imagination is extremely powerful. A great book is the best example, where you are so involved with the characters and story, and can envisage the entire story as though it were a film playing out in your mind.
Does the unconscious or subconscious mind exist? Who knows. What I do know is that there is a part of us always listening in an unconscious manner.
That part of you that hears your name mentioned across the room when you’re at a party. That part of you that wakes when it hears a baby, or puppy, murmur.
That part of you that continues searching for the name of ‘that song’ when your conscious mind has given up, then throws it into your conscious awareness hours later and you get that ‘ah yes’ moment.
It is this part that we communicate with in hypnosis. The part of you that has the power to work away in the background making real changes. I have seen the true power playing out in front of my eyes as I asked the subconscious mind to release any blockages within a client – this resulted in them convulsing as their body released the trapped energies causing negative feelings – these had existed for 30 years!
LOOK INTO MY EYES…. NOW
Hypnosis is not a state of the eyelids – as stated by some of my friends and colleagues who are amazing hypnotists.
I often use ritualistic rapid inductions during hypnosis as I enjoy them, and so do my clients. There are occasions when some clients aren’t happy to close their eyes and therefore I use open-eye hypnosis. This is still incredibly effective.
CAN I BE HYPNOTISED?
Everyone can be hypnotised. I have proven that to many in the past that have told me that they cannot be at all. As a hypnotherapist, my job is not actually to hypnotise you. It is to dehypnotise you. Your problematic beliefs, issues, anxieties, etc, are all the result of an event or some faulty programming that’s occurred during your life. Similarly with chronic pain – often there is no pain stimulus, just the pain experience. With hypnosis we dehypnotise you from all of this faulty, no longer helpful programming, and you come out feeling absolutely amazing.
I say this with confidence as clients in the past have come in looking forlorn and left my clinic laughing. Feeling lighter, feeling free.
WHAT CAN HYPNOSIS HELP WITH?
Hypnosis in itself is just the tool used to allow the work to be done. I use various methods whilst the client is in hypnosis to help you to make changes.
I will give a brief example of issues that I have dealt with using hypnosis in the past couple of weeks:
- Health Anxiety
- Imposter Syndrome
- Eating Disorders
- Lack of Motivation