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.
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.
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?
*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 are wanting to try hypnotherapy to help with a psychological issue, you might want to find a psychotherapist or counsellor who also offers hypnotherapy.