Clinical Hypnotherapy

What is hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy attempts to address an individual’s subconscious mind, using the power of suggestion for beneficial change. A hypnotherapist uses hypnosis to give relevant, positive beneficial suggestions to help an individual bring about the change they desire. Although hypnotherapy is not the same as sleep (the individual will still have awareness and control), hypnotherapists often require the individual to be in a deeply relaxed state to enable them to use their imagination fully. For this reason, it’s imperative that the individual feels completely comfortable with their hypnotherapist. Hypnosis is a different state of consciousness from being awake or asleep, and many people compare the deep, relaxed state of hypnosis to daydreaming.

Altered states of awareness have been recognised for thousands of years and hypnosis is widely accepted as a beneficial psychological therapy to access our inner potential. Techniques can be used to reveal issues from an individuals past that may be causing them distress, or the approach can be focused more on their present problems. Hypnotherapy can generally help with most emotional problems an individual is finding hard to cope with, and some physical problems can also be effectively treated with hypnosis too, such as IBS and insomnia. However, it’s important for an individual to consult their GP before approaching a hypnotherapist if they suffer from clinical depression, epilepsy or schizophrenia.

Hypnotherapists will often combine hypnosis with other psychotherapy and counselling techniques to benefit individuals. The techniques used will depend on the issue the individual is seeking help for.

Types of Hypnotherapy

As a client you do not need to understand the different types of hypnotherapy as your therapist will aim to ensure that they use the best methods to suit you as an individual and your particular issues.
As every person is different the best results will be obtained by utilizing the methods that each person will respond to.
Your therapist may have studied and/or trained using a specific type of hypnotherapy or they may have studied a number of different models (or modalities). For example:

  •  In “Traditional Hypnosis” the therapist gives direct suggestions to the subconscious mind. This type of hypnosis works well with those who accept what they are told.
  • In “Ericksonian Hypnosis,” the therapist will use metaphors to give suggestions and ideas to your subconscious mind. This can be very effective because it helps to eliminate the resistance to change that may come from the conscious mind.

When you first meet with your therapist and discuss the issues you want to work on they will work out a programme of treatment with you and explain what will happen next. (If you want to find out more information about the different models of hypnotherapy then do ask your therapist).
Most hypnosis cassettes and DVDs use “Traditional Hypnosis” techniques. This is the reason why this method has only a partial success rate as it is not very effective for people who are critical or analytical in their thinking processes.

 Are there any risks associated with hypnotherapy?

Before considering hypnotherapy, you need a diagnosis from your doctor to know what needs to be treated. This is especially true if your condition is psychological (for example, a phobia or anxiety), and you should be evaluated by a psychiatrist. Without an accurate diagnosis, hypnotherapy could make your symptoms worse. Very rarely, hypnotherapy leads to the development of “false memories” made up by the subconscious mind; these are called confabulations.

 Does hypnotherapy really work?

Hypnosis and hypnotherapy have many research studies done showing how effective the method can be for many types of problems and conditions. If it was not successful at all, there would be publications saying so. If you do a general search on any of the medical search sites, such as PubMed, (National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health), Medscape, WebMD, etc. you will see professional medical journals full of entries on the successful use of hypnosis and hypnotherapy. For example, for IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), hypnotherapy has proven to have one of the highest success rates over other treatment methods, with most studies being done after all other methods have failed with very severe refractory cases.

How does hypnosis work?

Acts at Subconscious Level: Every human being has latent talent to reprogram emotions, attitudes and reactions. Hypnotic suggestions focus on the subconscious part of the mind that accepts them as a new reality as long as the suggestions are framed within the person’s belief system, ethical and moral standards.
Access Subconscious through Conscious Mind: During the hypnotic trance the conscious mind leaves a doorway to the subconscious, which allows it to consider and accept new neurological connections, patterns of behavior and thoughts.
Uses Educative/Therapeutic Processes: In a therapeutic hypnotic trance, it is easier to work on issues that are not controlled by the conscious mind. For example, you cannot possibly tell your body to stop the pain. However, with the hypnotic trance and some specific and proven suggestions, you can.

Hypnotherapy as a process may involve few or all of the following:

  • Understanding & Reframing the area of concern.
  • Relaxation and deep induction(deeply engaged in the words or images presented by a hypnotherapist)
  • Responding (complying with a hypnotherapist’s suggestions)
  • Feeding suggestions
  • Returning to usual awareness
  • Reflecting on the experience
What about the idea that Hypnosis can weaken the mind?

Hypnosis does NOT weaken the mind. On the contrary, it helps people use more of their mind’s potential. It helps people access their inner strength. The subconscious mind is protective. Hypnotized people will accept suggestions that are acceptable, and reject suggestions that are not acceptable. Suggestions must be worded in a form and language that the patient’s subconscious can understand.

What role does the Subconscious Mind play?

The Subconscious part of the mind, or the Inner Mind, controls all of our living functions that keep us alive, as well as all of our automatic behavior patterns. But, the Subconscious is not as easily Communicated with as is the Conscious Mind. Information is imprinted in the Subconscious essentially in three ways: through trauma, through repetition, and through the language of Hypnosis. Thus, Hypnosis is the quickest and most efficient way to impress the Subconscious and imprint changes in behaviors, attitudes, beliefs and feelings. The upshot is that making changes in long-standing, core habits (e.g., eating patterns, smoking, emotional reactivity, coping responses) often creates internal discomfort and stress. Old habits cling and typically resist efforts to change them. This can be because of Conscious conflict about changing, but it can also be the result of conflict between the Conscious and the Subconscious parts of the mind. That is, you consciously may want to change and may have decided to change, but the Subconscious does not know this. If it did, it would help you, but it often has no way of knowing that you consciously want to change. So, it continues to control the old behavioral habits and this creates and perpetuates inner conflict. Once the Subconscious is informed that you want to change, and once it knows that it is in your best interest to be helped to change, it has no choice but to help you change. Then, the two parts to the mind, Conscious and Subconscious, can work together in cooperation with little tension, upset, or stress. Remember, what you can conceive you can achieve, and the Subconscious has a tendency to accept what it imagines as real.

Why visit a hypnotherapist?

Quite simply, visit a hypnotherapist if there is anything in your life you wish to change. Whether you would like to start doing something you wish to do, or stop doing something that’s become a problem.

Are drugs used in hypnotherapy?

No, not at all.

What does hypnosis feel like?

Believe it or not, there will have been many times in your life when you have already felt it, but maybe don’t even know about it.
If you’ve ever said to someone “I’m sorry, I missed that, I was ‘miles away’”, then hypnosis feels just like the bit where you were ‘miles away’!

What types of problems can hypnotherapy help?

Too many to list, but including…

  • Lack of Confidence
  •  Social Fears
  • Stopping Smoking
  • Fear of being sick / Emetophobia
  • Blushing
  • IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
  • Guilt
  • Panic Attacks / Anxiety Attacks
  • Stuttering / Stammering
  • Sex Drive Issues
  • Insomnia
  • Eating Disorders
  • Feeling Down
  • Shy Bladder
  • Phobias
  • Fear of driving
  • Anxiety and Stress
  • Slimming
  • Impotence
  • Nightmares
  • Shyness
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Low Self-esteem
  • Driving Test Nerves
  • Vaginismus (Primary Vaginismus and Secondary Vaginismus)
  • Premature Ejaculation
  • Sexual Problems
  • ME
  • Fear of Heights
  • Emotional Problems
  • Interview Nerves
  • Public Speaking
  • Tension
  • Fear of the Dentist
  • Long Term Grief
  • Poor Self Image
  • Nail Biting
  • Driving Phobia
  • Bruxism (Teeth Grinding)
  • Migraines (linked to emotion / stress)
  • Fear of Commitment
  • Depression (Depressive Illnesses)
I’ve tried countless diets, but still can’t lose weight or keep it off. Can hypnotherapy help me?

Hypnotherapy for weight control is geared towards finding the reason why a person is repeatedly feeling the need to overeat – whether it be ‘comfort’ eating, or eating due to stress. Analytical hypnotherapy is by far the best method used here for this.
The other method that can be used for this is suggestion therapy. However, this is really only used for those times when a person is either on a diet, or about to embark on a diet and feels the need to treat themselves to an enjoyable visualisation session.