Hypnotherapy can be used wherever the mind has influence. There is an abundance of research and evidence that shows hypnosis as a powerful therapeutic tool in the following areas:
- Stress and anxiety
- Pain management
- Study skills
- Relationship issues
- Trauma and phobias;
- and even Physical Healing and Change.
It is a fascinating subject and people often have questions about how it works. Here are a few common ones….
What is Hypnosis?
Quite simply, hypnosis is a natural state where you are relaxed but still focussed. Actually we all enter this state – often referred to as a trance state – once or twice a day; when we’re going to sleep and when we’re waking up. It’s that fuzzy kind of timeless period between dreaming and waking. If you can manage to have an hour long dream when the alarm goes to snooze mode, that’s a trance state. Trance is normal, natural and common. Hypnosis is a state of very heightened awareness and focus so you will be fully aware of everything that is happening throughout a session.
It works by communicating with the subconscious mind to make positive and permanent changes. The reason it is so successful is because your subconscious mind controls 90% of everything that you do. Consciously you will make a decision that you want to change but unfortunately your conscious mind only controls 10% of your behaviours. Unless the 2 minds are in alignment then the change often doesn’t last.
For example, you decide to quit eating chocolate. For a week or 2 you are very disciplined at sticking to your new goal and you’re very proud of yourself. And then it’s a friend’s birthday and they offer you some chocolate cake, or you have a bad day at work and there’s an unfinished tub of Ben & Jerry’s in the freezer. The conversation in your head goes something like this, “I’ve been good for 2 weeks, one slice of cake / bowl of ice cream won’t hurt. I deserve a treat. It would be rude to say no” etc, etc. So you can see how easy it is for your good intentions to be sabotaged when you try to make change at a conscious level. If we play this scenario through after hypnosis the thought process would go something like this….” I no longer eat chocolate so I will find some other healthy snack that nourishes my body and makes me feel good”. See the difference? The belief system has changed, this can only happen at a subconscious level. Amazing huh?
Can anyone be hypnotised?
Yes and no! Everyone has the ability to be hypnotised and yet some people decide that they do not want to be. In order for hypnosis to work there are 3 major factors – to want to do it, to trust in the practitioner and to believe that it works.
Will hypnosis make me quack like a duck or howl like a dog?
I’m guessing you’ve seen a show where a hypnotist makes people do some funny, crazy things. The hypnotist chooses his subjects very carefully. He picks people that he knows WILL actually howl like a dog. He knows that somewhere inside them they love to entertain.
Being hypnotised doesn’t mean that you’ll lose control. In truth it is all self-hypnosis. A hypnotist cannot make you do something that you really do not want to do.
What can’t be treated with hypnotherapy?
Serious mental health or psychiatric problems must be referred to a qualified psychotherapist or psychiatrist. Medical problems must be treated by a doctor who can prescribe hypnotherapy for pain control, hypnoanesthesia or relaxation.
What if I fall asleep during the session?
It is quite common for people to drift in and out of conscious awareness during a session – this is relaxation after all! The good news is that it’s completely okay if you do fall asleep because your subconscious mind is still listening. The practitioner may check to see if the subconscious mind is still engaged and if not will gently bring you out of sleep into a higher level of awareness so that the suggestions are being fully absorbed.
Will I “feel hypnotised”?
It is a common misconception that feeling hypnotised is somehow different to any feeling experienced before. Trance is a natural state that you will have experienced many times before so it will feel very familiar to you. There are different levels of trance – light, medium and deep – whichever level you go to, the results will be the same.
Can I get stuck in a trance?
Yet another myth about hypnosis! You can bring yourself out of trance at any point feeling wide awake and ready to function normally. Similar to sleeping, if you hear something that startles you the response is to wake up and see what is going on.
Do I need to visit a hypnotherapist in person?
This question really comes down to personal preference and logistics. These days it is very easy to hold Hypnotherapy sessions online using video messaging (Skype, Zoom, Facetime, Messenger etc). As long as the practitioner can see the client and the client is in a quiet place without interruptions then it works perfectly well online. Some people prefer this as they feel more comfortable in their own space, others prefer to visit their practitioner who will have a quiet space to perform the session. For people in remote areas having hypnotherapy online means they can have access to a specialist form of therapy usually only available in major towns and cities which is great news. Although I am based in Sydney I have worked with clients in Canada, India and the UK, it is truly a global business!
How many sessions will I need?
The number of sessions depends on the severity of the issue and the commitment of the individual. To give some general examples – quit smoking can be achieved in 1 x 3 hour session, public speaking 3 x 1 hour sessions, anxiety 3 x 3 hour sessions; (please note these are indicative only based on my personal experience). One thing worth noting is Hypnotherapy exceeds other types of therapies both in effectiveness and time taken to achieve the desired results.
Does Hypnotherapy actually work?
Personally I have seen outstanding results using a combination of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) and Hypnotherapy. Don’t take my word for it, here is what the experts say……
Alfred A. Barrios, Ph.D. assessed the total long-term achievements of numerous psychological approaches. His study showed the resulting success rates:
Hypnotherapy — after 6 sessions – 93% success rate
Behavior Therapy — after 22 sessions – 72% success rate
Psychotherapy — after 600 sessions – 38% success rate
(Source: Psychotherapy: Theory Research and Practice, Volume 7, Number 1, Spring, 1970.
How much will hypnotherapy cost?
As with any product or service, prices vary from place to place and each individual practitioner. The range is between $150 and $300 for a session, with a session normally lasting 60-90 minutes. Remember, this is an investment in yourself so the more you invest the better the results.
When was hypnotherapy invented?
Early forms of hypnotherapy have been around for centuries. Up until the middle of the 19th century clinicians were using hypnotherapy without really understanding it, not until the English physician James Braid made a study of the phenomenon and created the terms hypnotism and hypnosis, after the Greek god of sleep, Hypnos.
Most modern forms of Hypnosis derive from the teachings of Milton Erickson – the most famous hypnotist of the 20th century. Erickson was a master of his profession sometimes seeing up to 15 patients per day. He almost died from polio as a child and used his mind to overcome the physical challenges of paralysis not once but twice in his life. Unable to walk he pushed through a challenge to canoe a thousand miles alone. Upon his return he was able to walk with a cane. Traditional hypnosis was often met with resistance, but Erickson’s approach is broadminded, accepting and indirect. As an example, where a traditional hypnotist may say “You are going into a trance”, an Ericksonian hypnotist is more likely to say “you can comfortably learn how to go into a trance”
What is self-hypnosis?
It could be said that all hypnosis is self-hypnosis. Whilst the practitioner provides the suggestions these can only be accepted by the recipient if they choose to participate. The true meaning of self hypnosis is for an individual to induce a trance state using their own thoughts effectively becoming the practitioner and the client in one. Learning self hypnosis will allow an individual to create amazing results in any area of their life.
What is the process of Hypnosis?
Generally there are four stages to the hypnosis process. Firstly the induction to elicit a relaxed trance like state. There are many ways to perform an induction including guided visualisation or physical contact for a rapid result. For some this can result in a light trance. For others it can be deep. Sometimes a deepener is used to encourage a deeper level of trance or relaxation. The next phase is the therapy in the form of positive suggestions. These can be direct (you will…), or indirect (you may find that…). If appropriate, the practitioner may also include some post hypnotic suggestions to enable the client to respond positively to certain triggers. For example, “when you hear the alarm clock, you will jump out of bed ready to start your day”. Once the suggestions phase is complete, the practitioner will commence the process or bringing the client back into conscious awareness. This is usually achieved by counting up from 1 to 5 and the client will be fully awake and feeling refreshed.
Is there any scientific evidence that Hypnosis works?
Actually there are lots of studies to support the theory behind Hypnosis.
Read some articles here:
- Treatment of hot flashes in postmenopausal women
- Aids in childbirth and fertility treatment
- Alleviates signs of inflammatory bowel syndrome
- Helps weight loss (more efficiently than Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)
- Relieves post-surgical pain
- Eases anxiety and distress in paediatric cancer patients undergoing bone marrow aspiration
- Controls nausea and vomiting in patients receiving chemotherapy
- Recommended for insomnia
- Hastens the healing of broken bones and surgical wounds
- Acts as a powerful therapeutic tool for treating depression.
Is Hypnotherapy regulated in Australia?
No official regulation of hypnotherapists is available in Australia. It is classified as an alternative therapy. However, this does not mean it is not effective. Many doctors refer patients to hypnotherapists as a complementary treatment in their recovery. When choosing a hypnotherapist ensure that they have received professional training and are registered with a widely recognised association.
What’s the difference between Hypnotherapy and NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming)
Many NLP Techniques were modeled on Hypnotherapy. Both are working with the mind at a subconscious level and sometimes the techniques overlap. The main difference is that NLP Techniques can be used in a conscious state. Hypnotherapy usually involves being in a trance state. Personally I like to use a combination of both with my clients. It’s a powerful combination!
I hope you have found this guide useful and it has demystified some of the jargon and myths around Hypnotherapy. If you do have any more questions I am more than happy to respond as it’s absolutely my favourite topic! I can speak from personal experience that Hypnotherapy changes peoples lives, so if there are any areas of your life that you want to improve and you are ready to do something different to get those results, then I look forward to hearing from you!
Contact me anytime to find out how.
You have the answers, I am your guide.