Let’s first start with how hypnotherapy doesn’t work rather than how does hypnotherapy work. Some clients visit a hypnotherapist believing that with a click of the fingers and a spot of magic, we can make a lifetime of habits disappear in one session.
Whilst it is possible to make quick changes, it is not a passive process. You wouldn’t go to the gym expecting your personal trainer to do all the work for you whilst you sat there and somehow you got fit.
The same is true for hypnotherapy. I can show you the path to tread but you need to walk along it. If you don’t want to walk along it, I can’t make you.
Firstly, you have to be open to change.
This might seem like a ridiculous thing to say. You might say “of course I want to give up smoking” but it is the underlying emotional triggers that require your focus and change.
Secondly, you need to believe that hypnotherapy can help you and also believe in yourself. Thinking that hypnotherapy won’t help you, then you’ll probably be correct. If you resist the process, what chance of success does it have? If you say to yourself hypnotherapy won’t help, then you’re probably right.
Thirdly, if you don’t implement the changes between sessions or sabotage the process, then the therapy is unlikely to be a success. Hypnotherapy cannot change you if you do not want to be changed.
How does hypnotherapy work?
Hypnotherapy is essentially a teaching tool. You are teaching your mind to behave differently to situations and triggers. I 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. We all use hypnotic trances many times a day.
What is hypnosis?
Imagine, for example, you’re driving down a road you are very familiar with. You have driven down the road countless times. When you reach your destination you suddenly notice you cannot remember the last few miles and whether you stopped at a set of traffic lights. Or imagine you are sitting with a group of friends having 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 on autopilot. 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. Your attention was narrowed so you only focused on one thing. We all naturally experience an altered state of awareness about 50-200 times a day. It is a bit like putting a computer into ‘sleep-mode’.
During hypnosis, you enter a state of deep relaxation, whilst still being aware of your surroundings. It is when you focus your attention on a very narrow corridor of thought. When your conscious mind is so intensely focused in this way, the other influences that are present are no longer critically analysed by the conscious mind.
At those times your unconscious mind is taking control. Hypnotherapy uses hypnosis to communicate directly to your unconscious, inner mind. You can still hear and you still function normally. You are not asleep or unconscious. Your unconscious mind can hear all that is being said and respond in an appropriate way.
Some people say after a hypnotherapy session they didn’t feel anything unusual. Well apart from an opportunity to deeply relax there is nothing unusual. Remember we all experience this altered state of awareness at least 50 times a day.
What will happen in a session?
All hypnotherapy sessions are different. Some problems require clients to go into a deeper trance than others. Some clients are required to respond during the session and so only go into a light trance. However, a typical 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 of the mind.
You start to feel deeply relaxed and your focus becomes completely internal. The constant analytical chatter of your conscious mind is reduced as you enter deep relaxation.
#3. Therapeutic suggestion
Your unconscious mind is able to use the positive suggestions given to it, to lay down new neural pathways to 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 utilised to help reframe attitudes.
You gently return back to the present retaining all the new thought patterns so you can respond in a positive way to problem situations in the future.
Whilst a typical hypnotherapy session will have these four parts, the transition from one to the next is seamless and you will only experience one continuous hypnotherapy session.
If you would like to find out how hypnotherapy can work for you and see how it can help you overcome problems in your life, that are holding you back, please get in touch for a free consultation.