What is hypnosis?
Opinions vary on the exact definition of this natural state of mind. First of all, contrary to what many people believe, hypnosis is not always a trance state or a sleep state even though a person in hypnosis may appear to be sleeping. Hypnosis is really a natural state of mind and is an important part of everyday life. Whenever our minds wander, daydream or are focused on something, such as reading a book, driving a familiar route, watching a film, etc. we are in a light state of hypnosis.
If I’m hypnotised do I give up control?
Do we give up control of our mind to someone else when we are reading a book or watching a film? In situations like this you are in a hypnotic trance, although you still have the power to emerge from that state if wished. Whatever or whoever hypnotises you; you always have the power to resist.
When you realise that you are the one in control, when you decide how deeply into hypnosis you wish to go, then you become aware of what hypnosis is. A hypnotherapist is a guide and helps you on a journey, but the change can only be made by you.
Often the realisation that you are in control, and that you can make changes yourself is very empowering. You’ll find that the more often you go into hypnosis, and are aware that you are doing so, the more you realise how easy it is to let go, secure in the knowledge that you can always stop a session if you feel uncomfortable.
A person who is under hypnosis cannot be made to do anything against their usual ethical or moral judgement or religious belief. It is likely that the notion of a loss of control stems from most people’s misconception of stage hypnosis, wherein participants are apparently made to perform all manner of (usually foolish) acts. However, we should also be aware that participation in a stage act is an entirely voluntary process (thus ‘permission’ is already given to the hypnotist) and that there can be no such volunteer who is unaware of exactly what they are letting themselves in for!
How does hypnosis feel?
Hypnosis is a natural state of mind; people are often surprised that they hear every word and could get up and walk out of the room at any moment. Unless you enter a deeper state, you may not feel any different, just very relaxed.
It’s similar to drifting off to sleep at night, that stage when you are not quite awake and not quite asleep, you may feel a sense of weightlessness or you may feel heaviness as all your muscles relax. Everyone experiences it differently, and your therapist will be able to reassure you and help you relax and enjoy the experience. The feeling has also been likened to daydreaming. That feeling when we find our minds drifting off, but at the same time we are totally aware of our surroundings. Our minds have the ability to zone out every day sounds and distractions.
Most people are pleasantly surprised at just how relaxing it is.
What can hypnosis be used to treat?
Hypnosis can be used to help treat a wide range of issues. Please see our We can help with page.
How does Clinical Hypnosis work?
The human mind is made up of two parts. The conscious mind; responsible for all of the conscious decisions and choices we make day to day, and the sub-conscious (or unconscious) mind; responsible for all the things we do without consciously thinking about, such as breathing, feeling hungry, avoiding danger (our ‘Fight or Flight’ reaction), etc. The subconscious mind also stores our memories and beliefs and is the source of many of our problems and self images. Our beliefs, habits and behaviours are stored as information. The subconscious is a tremendous reservoir of our unrecognised strengths and knowledge.
Hypnosis is a natural and effective technique for accessing the subconscious mind – the key to unleashing our potential, changing our unwanted habits and behaviours and finding solutions to our problems and concerns.
Any therapeutic intervention implies change, so entering a trance state alone does not signify a therapeutic endpoint. Once the individual has achieved a trance state the hypnotherapist uses many different therapeutic methods ranging from simple suggestions to psychoanalysis. For example, the therapist may ask about past, present or future concerns to establish the reasons for the problem. Alternatively the therapist may give suggestions to the subconscious mind aimed at overcoming specific problems such as lack of self confidence.
Some uses such as calming a person require minimal change on the part of the individual, more complex behaviour patterns such as overeating or treatment of panic disorders or reactive (non-clinical) depression require a more complex therapeutic intervention together with psychological and behavioural homework.
What will happen in a hypnosis session?
Your hypnotherapist will take detailed history and with some conditions may request permission from you to write to your doctor, to let them know you are having hypnotherapy.
They will then discuss your goal and what you would like to see or feel at the end of your sessions.
Using a range of different techniques your hypnotherapist will relax you, make you feel comfortable and work with you towards achieving your goal.
After a session you may feel uplifted, lighter and very relaxed. Often change is very subtle, as your hypnotherapist will be working with your subconscious mind, and you may just notice a very positive shift in how you are feeling.
How do I choose the right hypnotherapist?
A hypnotherapist should be registered with an independent Professional Body, which welcomes hypnotherapists with the right level of training from a range of range of different schools.
The CNCH, The Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council, was set up by the Department of Health in 2010. The Department of Health recommends that you choose a hypnotherapist that is registered with the CNHC.
The National Council for Hypnotherapy, NCH, is the largest not-for profit hypnotherapy Professional Association in the UK and all members registered with the NCH are given the option to join the CNHC.