by Andrea M. Darcy
Intrigued by the idea of hypnotherapy, but have doubts it could work for you? Or worried if it is safe? Read on.
What is hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is really what it sounds like — hypnosis meets therapy.
Hypnosis involves entering a heightened state of awareness called a ‘trance state’. In this state you feel very relaxed and focused. You can access your unconscious thoughts, the ones that are usually hidden behind your conscious mind’s chatter. And you will be receptive to suggestions.
And therapy, or psychotherapy, is a process of exploring who you are to find better ways of being.
So hypnotherapy is using relaxed states, and access to the unconscious, to create positive change for yourself and your life.
Is hypnotherapy dangerous?
No, not if done by a proper, trained professional (make sure you check their credentials and reputation).
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Indeed, you could argue that most of us enter trance states often.
Have you ever binge watched a TV series, only to feel like you are ‘coming back to reality’ as it ends? Or ‘come to’ after being lost in a daydream? Zoned out when commuting to work? You were ‘tranced out’.
Photo By JR Korpa.
Of course the difference is that when you work with a hypnotherapist, you are consciously choosing to zone out and have a goal in mind for doing so, such as improving moods or quitting smoking.
What is the point of hypnotherapy?
You could see hypnotherapy as building a ‘bridge’ between our conscious and unconscious minds — the thoughts we know we are having, and then the thoughts that we are unaware of.
The ‘unconscious mind‘ isn’t actually a special part of the brain, but a way to refer to the hidden goings on in there. It’s these hidden things — repressed memories, negative core beliefs — that tend to control our life decisions.
Therapeutic hypnotherapy helps us source the upsetting experiences we have ‘forgotten’, learn what we actually feel versus what we tell ourselves we feel, and discover and change the beliefs driving our habits. We can tell the unconscious what we would prefer it to do, such as how we’d rather respond to a physical or emotional trigger.
What is a hypnotherapy session like?
There are different kinds of hypnotherapy, but they run in a similar way.
- Discuss with your therapist what you’d like to work on.
- Get comfortable in a chair or on a couch.
- Agree to be hypnotised.
- Allow your therapist to deeply relax you.
- They test to see that you are in a trance.
- Once they see that you are receptive, they use therapeutic methods like regression, visualisation, and positive suggestion to work on your issue.
- They ease you out of your trance and back to the room.
Can anyone be hypnotised?
Yes, even if they don’t ‘believe’ in it.
Note that not everyone has the same experience of hypnosis. Some people fall quickly and easily into trance states. Other people find they just relax a little and don’t at all feel ‘tranced out’.
But the results you get from hypnotherapy are not dependent on how ‘deeply’ you go into a trance. Someone who only relaxes a little might have equal (or even better) results than someone who finds it easy to ‘go under’.
It depends on the individual, the issue, the therapist, and the relationship between the hypnotherapist and the client.
Like all forms of therapy, you do generally get better results if you feel comfortable with and trust your practitioner.
Hypnotherapy vs psychotherapy – can they work together?
Absolutely. Some psychotherapists train in hypnotherapy these days to better help their clients.
For example, a psychotherapist might use hypnotherapy to help loosen the control of a phobia or addiction on you. They then might use something like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to help you recognise your negative core beliefs and raise your self-esteem.
What can hypnotherapy help me with?
Hypnotherapy is used for many physical issues nowadays, including pain management and childbirth.
But when it comes to mental health, hypnotherapy is used to find and change the root cause of any issue you might have. It’s recommended for:
*Note that while hypnotherapy is thought a useful addition for most mental health issues, it is not recommended for schizophrenia.
How do I find a good hypnotherapist?
There is not very much control here in the United Kingdom over who can and can’t practise as a hypnotherapist. So it’s really up to you to make sure you find someone who has the relevant training and experience.
If you want to try hypnotherapy to help with a psychological issue, you might want to find a psychotherapist or counsellor who also offers hypnotherapy.
Ready to give hypnotherapy a try and see results for yourself? Our booking site connects you with registered and experienced psychological hypnotherapists. Use our easy booking tool now to find an online therapist you like at a price you can afford.