Below, there is also a simple hypnotic relaxation session that you can try at home. To best experience the session find somewhere quiet where you won’t be disturbed. Make yourself comfortable, either sitting or lying down and then start the video. Follow the instructions to close your eyes and then at the end you can open them feeling relaxed and refreshed.
What is hypnosis?
They say there are as many definitions of what hypnosis is as there are people who have tried to define it. Many people explain hypnosis as being a trance or altered state of consciousness, but I find it is better to think of hypnosis as a process. If you’re able to follow that process, then it is something that you can practice, and if you can practice it, you can get better at it. During our sessions I can help you to become more skilled at using hypnosis so that you can learn to use it in your daily life.
During hypnosis I help you to create an increased level of attention that is focused inwards and to utilise your creativity and imagination so that you can start to influence and change negative emotions, ideas and habits.
What is hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is the use of therapeutic techniques combined with hypnosis. There are many different types of hypnotherapy that are practised in the UK. For example, hypnotherapists might describe themselves as Solution Focused, Eriksonian, Transpersonal or Holistic and they might use different techniques based on their different ideas about how best to help their clients.
I have developed a form of therapy called acceptance & commitment hypnotherapy (Hypno-ACT) which combines ideas and techniques from ACT and uses them with hypnosis. This is an evidence-based approach to helping clients. For example, I incorporate mindfulness to help clients to be more present, and not so caught up in their own thoughts. You can find out more about acceptance & commitment hypnotherapy here.
What can hypnotherapy treat?
Hypnotherapy and hypnosis are recognised by the British Medical Association, the British Psychological Society, the American Medical Association and the US National Institute of Health. Research shows that hypnotherapy is effective in treating:
- stress and anxiety
- pain management
- smoking cessation
- weight control
- irritable bowel syndrome
- habit changes
- building confidence
- improving sports performance
What happens during a hypnotherapy session?
- Before our first session I always offer a complimentary telephone consultation. This gives you the chance to tell me more about the changes you want to make and I can explain more about how hypnotherapy can help you. During the consultation we agree the date and time of our first session and I confirm that by email. In addition to sending a copy of the contract and some additional assessments for you to complete I also make sure you watch the videos on this page and have a practice with the 10-minute hypnotic relaxation session.
During our first session we will usually spend the first half an hour completing any paperwork and going into more detail about your issues and starting to develop your treatment plan. During the second part of the session we start practice hypnosis. We usually conduct a 15 to 20-minute hypnosis session where you can start to develop the skills to experience hypnosis quickly and easily. We usually focus on creating a pleasant relaxing experience and begin to incorporate positive suggestions for change.
As the treatment progresses we will incorporate tactics and techniques from acceptance & commitment therapy and hypnosis that you can start to use in your daily life. For example, you will learn how to relax quickly and easily whenever you need to and I’ll also teach you how to take to a 2 minute holiday in your mind to help achieve a better state of balance whenever you need it.
How many hypnotherapy sessions will I need?
Before treatment starts I’ll give you an idea about how many sessions of hypnotherapy you might need. For most clients treatment is usually between 3-8 sessions but we review that on a regular basis. You are always in charge of how many sessions you have and if you decide to end treatment then I’ll respect that decision.
How long will each session last and how often will we meet?
Each session lasts 1 hour. During that time we will review the previous session, discuss how you have been getting on since we last met, discuss any useful techniques that you can start to use, conduct a hypnosis session, feedback on the hypnosis session and what you found most useful and then agree on any tasks for the coming week. Sessions are usually every two weeks apart but we can adapt that to meet your needs.
Can anyone be hypnotised?
Research shows that 95% of people will respond to direct suggestions using a measure called the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale. From my experience of working with clients anyone can be hypnotised as long as the following conditions are in place:
Trust – the client has trust in the hypnotherapist and in their own abilities.
Expectation – the client expects hypnosis to happen. They understand what is going to happen in hypnosis and what their role is.
Attitude – the client maintains a positive attitude to the suggestions given and to the treatment.
Motivation – the client must be self-motivated and ready to make a change.
I find that when a client can’t be hypnotised it is usually because they don’t understand that they have an active role to play during the sessions. For example, if I ask a client to close their eyes and imagine a peaceful scene and they focus their attention on what they are going to have for dinner they obviously won’t be hypnotised. Sometimes it might be because I have not explained the process well enough or perhaps the client has just misunderstood what I’ve explained. If this happens, I’m more than happy to spend time with the client and work with them until they’re able to be enter hypnosis.
Is hypnosis sleep?
No, hypnosis is not sleep. It is just a focused attention that leads to heightening suggestibility. Throughout the hypnosis session most people will be aware of what is happening at all times. Sometimes, however, clients go so deep into hypnosis that they stop listening to the words that I say. That’s okay, the ideas and suggestions that I make will still be accepted at an unconscious level.
Although we don’t want clients to fall asleep for obvious reasons, we do want clients to experience a deep level of relaxation because for most clients this is going to be really helpful and beneficial in helping them to deal better with stress anxiety and tension or unwanted negative emotions such as anger and frustration.
Are you going to make me cluck like a chicken?
No. Unfortunately, many people are put off visiting a hypnotherapist after seeing a stage hypnotist. The thing to remember is that, although there are similarities in the use of increased suggestibility and susceptibility, the stage hypnotist is usually a skilled entertainer who uses other tactics to encourage participants to behave in silly or embarrassing ways. When you visit a hypnotherapist you’re entering into a therapeutic relationship built on trust. My job is to support and guide you and help you achieve your goals.
Can you make me do anything I don’t want to do?
No. During hypnosis you are always in control. You can open your eyes at any time and stop the session. If I made a suggestion during hypnosis that was against your beliefs or ethics you could simply ignore it.