How hypnotherapy works

Lee WalkerIntroduction

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Let me start by clearing up a few myths to help explain how hypnotherapy works. Some people believe that with a click of my fingers and a spot of ‘magic’ I can magically make a lifetime of unwanted thoughts and habits disappear in one session.

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Whilst it is possible to make quick changes, those changes often take more than a single session. And it is certainly not a passive process where you sit there and have hypnosis done to you. It is a collaborative process between us. I offer your unconscious mind more positive suggestions to accept.

If you went to the gym you would not expect your Personal Trainer to do all the work for you, whilst you sat there and somehow magically got fit. The same is true for hypnotherapy. You can see me as a Personal Trainer for your mind. I offer your mind ‘exercises’ to make it fit and healthy.

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In hypnotherapy, I can show your mind the path to tread but your mind needs to walk along that path to get fit. If your mind doesn’t want to walk along that path, I can’t make it.

You also have to be open to change.
This might seem like an obvious thing to say. You might say “of course I want to change and give up smoking” but it is the underlying emotional triggers that require your focus and change. Hypnotherapy cannot change you if you do not want to be changed.

Lastly, you need to believe that hypnotherapy can help you and you need to believe in yourself. If you think that hypnotherapy can’t help you, then you are probably right. If you resist the process, what chance does hypnotherapy have of being successful?

Hopefully, I have cleared up a few myths about how hypnotherapy works. Hypnotherapy is a wonderful technique to make quick and lasting changes that other forms of therapy take much longer to produce. It is a versatile and amazing process that continues to delight many of my clients.

How hypnotherapy works

Hypnotherapy is essentially a teaching tool. You teach your mind to behave differently to situations and triggers. You use the natural capabilities of your unconscious mind to help you behave differently in the future.
Hypnotherapy uses hypnosis as a therapeutic tool. Hypnosis is a natural everyday occurrence and we all use hypnosis many times a day.

What is hypnosis?

Imagine you are driving down a very familiar road. You have driven down this road many times. When you reach your destination you suddenly notice you cannot remember the last few miles and whether you stopped at a particular set of traffic lights.

Or imagine you are sitting with a group of friends enjoying a meal. You suddenly hear someone ask you “What do you think?”. Shamefully you realise you have no idea what they are talking about.

These are two everyday examples of hypnosis.

At those moments you were accessing your deep inner mind. You were in an altered state of awareness, or to put it another way, you were daydreaming. You were not sleeping but were deeply concentrating. We all naturally experience an altered state of awareness more than 50 times a day.

During hypnosis, you enter a state of heightened awareness. You focus your attention on a very narrow corridor of thought. When your unconscious mind is so intensely focused in this way, external influences are no longer analysed by the conscious mind.

At those times your unconscious mind has taken control. Hypnotherapy uses hypnosis to allow you to access your unconscious inner mind. You can still hear what is going on around you and you can still function normally.

Some people say hypnosis does not feel particularly unusual. Well apart from an opportunity to deeply relax and shift your focus on to your internal world, there is nothing unusual. Remember we all experience an altered state of awareness at least 50 times a day.

Brain activity in hypnosis

Many studies have looked at how the activity of the brain changes during hypnosis. Studies have shown there is an increase in theta brain waves and a change in gamma brain wave patterns during hypnosis.

Gamma brain waves are prevalent during consciousness and when you are alert and attentive.

Theta brain waves are present during the first stage of sleep and when you are deeply relaxed.

Theta brain waves are your gateway to learning, memory and intuition. During theta brain wave activity your sense of the external world is withdrawn and you become more focused on the signals coming from within.

When theta brain waves are increased you feel like you are in a daydream. You become more intuitive and access vivid images and information beyond your normal conscious awareness. It is where you store your thoughts, memories, fears and beliefs.

These changes in brain wave activity during hypnosis supports the theory that the conscious critical mind becomes less active while the unconscious mind takes a more leading role.

What will happen in a session?

Whether you choose online hypnotherapy or have your sessions in my Beckenham clinic, all hypnotherapy sessions are different. Depending on the technique we use you will either go into a deep or light hypnotic trance. A normal hypnotherapy session has four parts:

#1. Hypnotic induction

This is when you enter an altered state of awareness. This is normally experienced as a stillness and calmness.

#2. Deepening

You start to feel deeply relaxed and your focus becomes more internal. The constant analytical chatter of your conscious mind is reduced as you deepen your hypnosis.

#3. Therapeutic suggestion

Your unconscious mind uses the positive suggestions I give it. Studies have shown that hypnosis forms new neural connections which change past behaviours and thought patterns. Suggestion therapy is highly effective and based on positive affirmations that provide more beneficial responses to problem situations and conditions. These techniques were developed by the father of modern hypnotherapy Dr Milton Erickson. Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) techniques are also used to help reframe attitudes.

#4. Reorientation

You gently return to the present retaining all the new thought patterns so you can respond in a positive way to problem situations.

Whilst a normal hypnotherapy session will have these four parts, the transition from one part to the next is seamless and you will only experience one continuous hypnotherapy session.

Find out more

If you would like to find out how hypnotherapy can work for you, and see how it can help you overcome the problems holding you back, please get in touch for a free consultation. Hypnotherapy sessions are available online or in my Beckenham Clinic.

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