Hypnosis and hypnotherapy: What the hell is it? And how can it help me?
Updated: Sep 5, 2022
As I meet people and discuss with them what I do, I realise there remains a lot of confusion and misconceptions about psychotherapy generally, evidence-based approaches (i.e. those methods of therapy that are supported by medical and scientific research), and in particular, hypnosis and hypnotherapy. So, in today's blog entry I hope I can begin to shed some light on hypnosis and hypnotherapy, and why I consider it such a valuable tool in a therapists toolkit.
This is really a whistle-stop tour of some key facts and misconceptions. There have been many excellent text books and hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific papers produced on this topic, however I hope what follows provides a good start, and perhaps might even spark your interest further.
1. What is hypnosis?
Hypnosis is your calm, focused attention on an idea or experience:
It is using your focused attention, imagination, visualisation and intention to become more open to suggestions towards changes you would like to make.
Hypnosis allows us to learn, practice, rehearse, and engage with new skills and experiences inside our mind, in a safe, rapid, convenient and effective way.
Deep relaxation may be involved and will often result. But hypnosis can also be done in an active and alert manner (such as for athletes).
If you have experienced a time in your activities, sports or work when you have been simultaneously very calm, focused and absorbed ('in the zone') this can be similar to hypnosis.
Hypnosis is a skill you get better at with practice.
2. Myth busting hypnosis!
Hypnosis has nothing to do with pocket watches, spinning spirals, or mad scientist mind control!
You can't be made to do anything you don't want to do. You remain in control and aware throughout.
You cannot get 'stuck' in hypnosis or in a trance. Modern science is actually cynical of the existence of such a 'trance state' and therefore we do not use this approach or terminology.
If you are hypnotised, it does not mean you are gullible or weak-willed.
Evidence-based hypnosis does not involve digging up forgotten memories or past lives.
Our misconceptions often come from movies, tv or comic tropes which have nothing to do with modern, evidence-based therapy.
3. The scientific support for hypnotherapy
Hypnotherapy is the use of hypnosis in a clinical or therapeutic setting. Hypnotherapy is strongly supported by clinical research:
Multiple, robust scientific and medical studies and reviews have demonstrated the effectiveness of hypnotherapy for treating a wide range of issues.
These issues include anxiety, stress, pain, obesity, habits and sleep issues, and even some physical disorders such as IBS, tension headaches and asthma.
Hypnosis integrated with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has also been demonstrated to improve the outcome of CBT alone.
We therefore integrate these 2 evidence-based approaches as 'Cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy'.
4. My approach - cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy
Hypnotherapy is about change:
The aim of hypnotherapy is to help you make the changes you want in your life.
Ours is a modern and scientific approach to hypnotherapy and uses a collaborative, interactive and problem-solving approach.
Hypnotherapy can be used to help with anxiety, stress, low mood, self esteem and confidence, motivation and habits you would like to change.
It is sometimes useful to summarise the goals of hypnotherapy into 3 key questions:
What would you like to do, that you currently don't feel able to do?
What are you doing at the moment, that you would like to do less or stop doing?
What factors, barriers or challenges are getting in the way of you doing that?
5. Hypnotherapy: When & where we can help
Some of the many areas we regularly help clients with include the following:
Anxiety and constant worrying
Fear of social situations, work and/or public speaking
Loss of direction and 'mid-life malaise'
Motivation and procrastination
Chronic pain and managing long-term health conditions
Weight management, mindless eating and exercise discipline
Enhancing performance in sports, business, education and your hobbies
6. Ethics and hypnotherapy:
Our promise to you:
We only use hypnotherapy and other therapies where they are supported by the clinical and scientific evidence base.
No unnecessary 'emotional digging' into your past. We focus on the here and now.
Absolutely no unscientific 'woo-woo'...at all, ever.
Our commitment is to help you in the quickest and most efficient way possible. Our goal is for you not to need us!
If we feel you would be better served by another method or professional we will tell you that as quickly and as early as possible.
7. Key message: Hypnotherapy is the process of getting you where you want to be.
It's time you got to live the life you deserve. It's time to rediscover the real you.
Get in touch today for your free, absolutely no obligation, telephone consultation.
Face-to-face and Zoom treatment sessions available.
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