What is Hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is a general term for a form of therapy that makes use of hypnosis to create a state of calmness and mental focus in which the subconscious (also known as the unconscious) becomes more receptive to beneficial suggestions and more willing to let go of what has contributed to negative thinking, behaviour and beliefs. The subconscious is the part of the mind that influences what we think, feel and do and is usually outside of our awareness, which is why it is generally so difficult to change using conscious intention alone.
There are many different approaches and techniques used by hypnotherapists, and though some may favour one particular approach, many will make use of a variety of therapeutic ‘tools’ according to the needs of their clients.
Some examples of frequently used hypnotherapy types are:
This uses the power of suggestion to encourage positive change. It often forms part of the work done with issues such as smoking, weight control, or situation-specific anxiety – exams, public speaking, driving and the like – and can also be used to enhance motivation and creativity.
This integrative approach often draws on other forms of psychological treatment like CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) and Mindfulness. It can help with deeper issues that would probably not be adequately addressed by Suggestion Therapy alone, such as trauma and abuse.
Designed to uncover the underlying cause of a problem and reduce its power to create symptoms, this approach is sometimes used to help resolve more deep-rooted problems like general anxiety, low self-esteem, addictions and complex phobias, and involves regression work, i.e. going back to a time earlier in someone’s life to locate the initial sensitising event(s).
What is hypnosis?
Hypnosis is a totally natural state of ‘altered consciousness’ we all enter many times during the course of the day. Think about those moments when you are just staring into space, daydreaming or completely focussed on something you are reading or watching. According to brain scans, people in hypnosis show a shift in brainwave activity from a ‘Beta state’ to an ‘Alpha state’ – this is similar to the way the brain behaves during meditation or other forms of deep relaxation.
The myths and misunderstandings about hypnosis are largely based on what people have seen on television, in films or at stage shows, and do a great disservice to something that has much to offer in a clinical setting.
The following should help to dispel any concerns you may have about what happens in hypnosis:
- You are not in anyone’s power and no-one can take control of you
- You cannot be made to do anything you do not want to do
- You can voluntarily leave the hypnotic state whenever you wish
- You are aware of yourself and your surroundings and do not go to sleep unless you are tired
- You do not enter an ‘unnatural’ state of mind or body
- You do not do or say ‘strange’ things – unless you actually want to!
- You cannot ‘lose’ your mind or be in any way ‘possessed’
- You will not suddenly ‘blurt out’ your darkest secrets
- You cannot ‘get stuck’ in hypnosis
What can hypnotherapy help with?
The range of difficulties that hypnotherapy could help resolve is huge, but here is a small selection:
- Confidence Issues
- Depression (Mild to Moderate)
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Exam Nerves
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Low Self-esteem
- Panic Attacks
- Past Trauma
- Phobias & Fears
- Sleep Difficulties
- Smoking Cessation
- Unresolved Grief
- Weight Control