Frequently Asked Questions
During the years I have been in practice, I have been asked a number of questions regarding what hypnosis can actually do. To assist you with your general queries I have provided a summary of the most frequently asked questions followed by my responses. If you have a question that I have not included please feel free to contact me and I will respond personally.
Our mind processes on two levels – consciously and unconsciously.
We make decisions, think, and act with the conscious part of our mind. However, the unconscious part of our mind controls our habits and automatic reactions, physical processes and systems within the body such as our breathing, heart rate, hunger and digestion. The unconscious processes can also produce automatic emotional reactions such as fear and anxiety, or love and lust.
In the state known as hypnosis, we can communicate directly with the unconscious part of our mind to tap into our pure potential, our healing and creativity. In this state we can release old programs that no longer help us and create new programs for health & vitality, for motivation or to change unwanted habits and behaviours. This is why changing habits or reactions of a lifetime can seem to happen in an instant with hypnosis.
Successful Hypnotherapy takes place in the brainwave state called ‘Theta’. It is the place where the unconscious part of our mind operates.
Our brains constantly move between four natural states:
- Beta (Wide Awake)
- Alpha (Relaxation or Meditation)
- Theta (Hypnosis, Intuition)
- Delta (Sleep)
Each brainwave state has its own unique properties & practical uses however it is in passing through the Alpha State and particularly in entering the deep Theta State, that permanent change & growth can take place easily.
Generally speaking, everyone who is willing to be hypnotised – can be. Of course some people are more susceptible to hypnosis than others and will go into trance more quickly or deeply than others at first. However everyone who is willing to be hypnotised can learn the simple steps to achieve an appropriate level of trance in order to achieve a specific outcome that has been agreed upon by you and your therapist.
Even someone who sees the world through analytical eyes can achieve the level of trance required to create a desired outcome. A skilled and experienced Hypnotherapist will adapt a variety of techniques and find one to suit each individual client. It is also a myth to assume that successful change requires a deep ‘sleep’ hypnosis. Real change can occur in even the lightest of trances when appropriate and beneficial suggestions are given at the exact moment by a skilled therapist.
Once your desired outcome is agreed by you and your therapist, it is up to you as the client to follow the safe and appropriate suggestions given to you by your therapist. When this is achieved, drifting into a hypnotic trance becomes a simple and enjoyable experience for you in order to achieve the outcome you wish to achieve.
The Hypnotic experience is different for everyone. Many people often mistakenly believe that the hypnotic state means they will be asleep and not remember anything about the session at all.
This however, is not the case for everyone; most people float in and out of conscious awareness and remember most of the positive suggestions whilst in trance. Some people describe the hypnotic state as feeling relaxed, warm and sleepy; others feel lightness with a pleasant floating sensation. I have even heard some people describe it as a daydream feeling, where they are aware but unaware, where nothing really matters anymore.
Often people can describe a sense of time distortion, where the hypnosis session can feel like either 10 minutes, no time at all or an hour, it can be hard to tell.
One thing that people do notice is an inexplicable calm and general feeling of wellbeing.
Hypnosis is completely safe. In the hypnotic state you are in control at every moment and can bring yourself out of hypnosis at any time if you choose. Even though the word ‘sleep’ is often used in hypnosis, hypnosis is not actually sleep in the traditional sense of the word. It is more a ‘daydream’ space of timeless calm.
Often people fear that they will get “stuck” in a state of hypnosis or fear letting go in case they lose control. It is important to understand that you cannot be made to do anything against your own will, morals or judgement whilst in hypnosis. If you were given a suggestion that was against your wish, you would simply bring yourself back into an aware state easily and safely.
Hypnosis is a safe, relaxing, and very enjoyable experience. Most people describe it as “The most relaxed I have felt in a long time.”
Treatment can be divided into a number of categories.
1. Compulsive behaviour and habits:
This category helps clients conquer unwanted habits and addictions such as stuttering, gambling, smoking, overeating, drinking, nail biting & more. As with any habitual behaviour or addiction – the desire or craving to participate in that habit is controlled by the unconscious part of the mind. Since hypnosis works directly with the unconscious, the changes can be made at an automatic level.
3. Emotional Issues, Self Esteem, Confidence:
This category helps relieve issues such as depression & anxiety, increase motivation, memory retention, self-confidence & concentration. Clients can learn tools to assist with releasing past hurts & improving relaxation. With suggestions of overall wellbeing and confidence you can improve your baseline of happiness, release grief or guilt or learn tools to promote self growth, internal awareness, creativity & intuition.
5. Weight Reduction including Virtual Gastric Band Hypnosis:
This category of hypnosis can help to modify any unhelpful psychological or emotional programming concerning food, over or under eating, exercise, water intake and healthy food choices.
Hypnotic triggers can be taught in order to stimulate weight reduction, help to control cravings for specific foods, creating satisfaction with far smaller amounts of food and feeling much fuller faster. It can also assist to create a better self image and self belief.
In this area we also help to eliminate unhelpful unconscious emotional links and patterns with food as the source of comfort or self-sabotage. Hypnosis can promote sustainable increase in motivation to exercise & make healthy food choices. It can assist to build positive mental attitudes that will allow you to embrace food in a healthy and balanced way and to exercise with a healthy balanced approach.
7. Hypno-Analysis, Past and Current Life Regression
As part of some sessions it is often beneficial to use Hypno-analysis or regression techniques in order to track back to a time when health issues, unwanted behaviours or emotional blocks were originally created. This form of therapy is almost always a profound healing experience allowing the emotional and/or physical release of stored or stagnant emotional stress within the body to be processed and released.
Regression or Hypno-Analysis techniques often provide a deep insight into issues, behaviours or reactions that can be released, altered or healed in order to achieve a positive outcome.
2. Nervous issues:
This category assists clients to gain control over & release issues such as anxiety, panic attacks, stress, insomnia, nervous tension, shyness, phobias & fears.
Once again, we can communicate with the unconscious part of the mind and functions of the body with hypnosis. When this is achieved we can release old responses and apply more appropriate suggestions to override the previous unhelpful or unwanted pattern. In this way you can achieve more favourable outcomes to create a response that is more appropriate for you now.
4. Physical Healing, General and Local Pain Control:
In this category of hypnosis you can learn hypnotic triggers to stimulate & modify your mental attitude to illness, pain & disease. Used alongside traditional or natural therapies, hypnosis can promote rapid healing & allow the mind to be actively involved in the healing process.
6. Stress Reduction, Relaxation or Meditation
In this category techniques to reduce stress can be easily taught to clients for effective and permanent approach to stress management. Have you ever been bored or frustrated trying to meditate? Do unwanted thoughts keep popping in when you attempt to relax? Do you have trouble finding the time or staying focused? Are you sick of being told to de-stress? In this category you can learn how to relax, unwind or even meditate easily every time using self-hypnosis. Learn how to use hypnotic triggers to achieve a deep level of relaxation instantly every time, reduce stress and create work life balance.
Recent research shows that states of hypnosis create measurable changes in brain functioning.
In 2003, Stanford University psychiatric researcher David Spiegel used positron emission tomography (PET) scans to watch changes in brain function in volunteers who were highly susceptible to being hypnotised. The volunteers were told to see colour. Then, regardless of whether or not the researchers showed them colour, the areas of the visual cortex that registers colour would fire. When the researchers told them to see “grey” objects, the volunteers had less activity in the colour zones of the brain.
“When they believed they were looking at colour, the part of their brain that processes colour vision showed increased blood flow,” said Spiegel. Spiegel describes hypnosis as a state of aroused attentive focal concentration. It’s like looking through a telephoto lens of a camera, which renders great detail but shuts out one’s surroundings. Far from the zombie-like sleep state of popular myth, it is a form of focused attention. He believes every doctor should be taught simple hypnosis techniques to help patients manage anxiety and pain.
“Hypnosis is still one of the main techniques used in pain clinics, especially in burn clinics, and it works incredibly well in childbirth and with cancer patients,” Dr. Phil Zimbardo, professor emeritus Stanford University, past President of the American Psychological Association, and a fervent believer in the ‘magic’ of hypnotism.
[blockquote]Hypnosis is the obvious choice for many issues as compared to other forms of therapy[/blockquote]
(Alfred A. Barrios Ph.D)
NLP is an approach to therapy based predominantly on the relationship between successful patterns of behaviour and the patterns of thought, sensation or emotions underlying those successful patterns.
NLP seeks to empower and educate people in self-awareness and helps them understand how to change any unwanted or unhelpful patterns of behaviour or communication. When used in conjunction with Hypnosis NLP is a useful therapeutic tool to help reframe, change or re-program a clients patterns to achieve the positive outcome they wish to achieve.
The co-founders of NLP were Richard Bandler and John Grinder who coined the term “Neuro-Linguistic Programming” to emphasise their belief in the connection between:
- 1. (Neuro) – Neurological processes or our nervous system regulating how our bodies function
- 2. (Linguistic) – Language – both verbal and non-verbal communication and
- 3. (Programming) – Behavioural patterns or strategies that we use to achieve outcomes – those patterns learned through past or current experience
When using NLP we might want to know exactly how a certain behaviour, skill or reaction (positive or negative) occurs for you. Once we know exactly how you ‘do’ that behaviour or reaction we can deconstruct it and decide whether to replicate it if it is helpful or change it if is unhelpful.
In the development years of NLP, Dr John Grinder and Dr Richard Bandler used the methodology of NLP (behavioural modeling) to deconstruct, model and observe some of the most well-known and successful therapists at that time.
- Virginia Satir
- Fritz Perls
- Milton Erickson
By understanding what made these therapists so successful in their fields they were able to develop a series of techniques that are now used around the world to help create lasting change towards desired outcomes.