YOUR FIRST HYPNOTHERAPY SESSION
Hypnotherapy is a talking therapy. It uses words to help the client to change their behaviour. A session will start with the taking of a detailed client record to enable the therapist to understand the client and their problem. Sessions may vary in length between 1 1/2 hours and 2 hours. Stopping smoking is typically dealt with in one session.
Other problems might be dealt with in a single session but more commonly take several, depending on their complexity. However, hypnotherapists expect to help their clients (assuming that it is a problem which can be helped with hypnotherapy) in relatively few sessions compared, say, to traditional psychotherapy where it may be usual to have weekly sessions for a long period of time. A hypnotherapist will normally expect to see some beneficial change in the client immediately.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER TAKING THE CLIENT RECORD?
If you have not been in hypnosis before, the hypnotherapist will explain hypnosis to you, and answer any questions you may have, to ensure that you are entirely comfortable about the process. Sometimes people who have seen stage hypnosis shows do not realise how pleasurable, in fact how ordinary, a hypnotic trance can be.
Everybody is different, but most people feel a pleasant heaviness in their arms and legs; a feeling that while they could move them they would rather not bother. Your eyes will be closed and there may be a similar feeling in the eyelids. You can hear everything that is going on around you and, in particular, the voice of the therapist, but other sounds will start to seem less relevant, your mind may drift a little and you may not be sure whether you have heard everything that has been said. It is your conscious mind that is having this doubt; your unconscious mind will have absorbed it all.
THE HYPNOTIC PROCESS
There are a large number of ways of inducing a hypnotic trance, some fast and some slow, some just using words and some physical actions. Once a person has gone into trance the therapist will often use further communication to deepen the trance. This may be done with visual imagery, encouraging the client to imagine a garden, a beach or a mountain walk; or it may use an awakening of early memories; or it may be by confusing the conscious mind in some way so that it becomes preoccupied or, alternatively, chooses to go off duty.
Whichever way is chosen, the effect is to create a deeper relaxation of both body and mind, giving easier access to the subconscious mind. At this point the therapist will start to give suggestions, which may be direct or indirect, knowing that they will be taken on board by the subconscious mind, without interference from the logical, rational, conscious mind.
WHAT CAN HYPNOTHERAPY HELP YOU WITH?
Because hypnotherapy works by offering ideas for change to the subconscious mind it can be helpful with many behaviour or disorders caused by, or affected in some way by, the state of the client’s mind.
Although hypnotherapy can be a very effective way to help you, the client, you must remember that it should not be thought of as a magic wand! Neither you nor the therapist will know everything that is in your subconscious mind; every client is unique and, while the therapy will be tailored to you as an individual, the therapist is not omnipotent.
CHANGING UNWANTED BEHAVIOUR
Many of us are creatures of habit, and when it is a good habit that can be very helpful by ensuring that we do things which are necessary or beneficial. But when it is a bad habit, or one which we no longer think is good although we may have thought so at one time, then we seem to be a prisoner of our past. Despite all our good intentions to change we find that will power is not enough. Our logical minds know that we should change our behaviour but somehow it is just too difficult, and each time we try to change, but fail, this reinforces in us a feeling that we cannot change.
Both hypnotherapy and NLP provide excellent ways of breaking the cycle of failure and so can help you to make the change that you want to make. This is an important point — you must want to make the change — and it is not sufficient for somebody else (e.g. a parent or spouse) to think that you should make the change. If your heart is not in it the change is unlikely to happen.
YOUR FIRST HYPNOTHERAPY SESSION