What Is Hypnotherapy?

Have you ever got in the car to set off somewhere, but realise you have taken the turning for work? Or perhaps you have left the house but then cannot remember if you locked the back door, and on returning the back door had been locked!

 Maybe whilst gardening, or washing the car, or doing something creative – something that requires some of your focus, but not all of it, a solution to a long standing problem pops up or you suddenly have a great idea! 

All these instances are when the brain is in a much more relaxed state – a trance state. The brain produces electrical activity which can be measured in the form of brain waves. The more active the brain is the higher is the frequency. As we start to relax the frequency drops, until it is at its lowest when we are asleep. As we go about our lives the frequency varies depending on our activity. 

When we first wake up the frequency is low and will gradually increase as we become more awake and fully conscious to function normally. Through the day we drift through different levels of consciousness depending on our activity and environment. This is reflected in the brain wave frequency.

So on the train to work, we may become relaxed and even drowsy, to become more alert when we reach our destination, increasing further on arriving at work, with the anticipation of what lies ahead. If we have a stressful meeting with the boss, the brain waves may well peak, and only start to reduce when we go for a coffee with a colleague. And so the day goes on. Relaxation techniques and meditation also reduce the brain wave frequency.

Hypnosis is relaxing the brain, putting it into a trance state, under controlled conditions either by a therapist or self-induced. So hypnosis is a natural phenomenon. It reduces the activity of the left side of the brain, the side associated with the conscious mind, thinking and logic, and increases the activity of the right side of the brain, which is associated with creativity and the subconscious. 

In this state the brain becomes more focused and sensitive to suggestion and this is when the therapeutic work is done. Guided imagery and metaphor are used, and because the conscious side of the brain is less active it does not question and the positive suggestions are taken up by the subconscious.

So by accessing the subconscious mind, thought patterns which are unhelpful to us may be changed to more positive ones. Throughout the whole process, you are always in control, and may come out of the state at any time and the subconscious mind will never take on board anything that you feel uncomfortable about.

The techniques used during hypnotherapy


Guided Imagery: this is when a scene is described such as sitting in a garden or on the edge of a lake. The aim is to help relaxation and focus the mind. Depending on what is being treated, this guided imagery may take the form of a “film”. For example if the problem is being afraid of driving then the script would guide you through driving the car with it all going well. If you are an athlete, it may be visualising yourself winning the race.

Metaphor and Suggestion: the English language is full of metaphors – a word or phrase being applied to an object or action to imply a resemblance. Examples are: he is like a bull in a china shop. Fairy tales are also metaphorical stories. By using metaphor in either short sentences, setting a scene or a short story, the subconscious is more likely to accept the change. Positive suggestions are also made to replace negative beliefs.

Hypno-analysis: every symptom has a cause. By using a combination of techniques under the hypnotic state we are able to uncover the incident, or the emotions that accompanied the incident, deep in the subconscious. Once we have this knowledge we can then alter the perception of the memory.

Regression: this is a technique used to go back through your life, often as far as childhood, to access memories that have been buried. This may be done through a variety of metaphors and guided imagery.

FAQs About Hynotherapy

You will be asked to make yourself comfortable, which may be sitting or lying, which ever you prefer. The initial part is to become relaxed by listening to my voice. This is followed by the therapeutic work which again involves simply listening. Sometimes I will ask questions.
You are totally in control throughout the session , and if at any time you wish to come out of hypnosis you will be able to.
You will never be made to do or make changes that you do not wish to or you do not feel comfortable with.
Under the guidance of qualified and experienced therapist, hypnotherapy is not harmful.
No, there are no side-effects. You may feel tired afterwards, and clients often report sleeping well that night.
This depends on what is being dealt with. Treating something like self-esteem and confidence may take a while for you to realise things have improved, whereas treating a fear or phobia can be immediate.
Everyone can be hypnotised or put in a trance but some people find it easier than others. This is partly because some people find it easier to relax, which is the first step to being hypnotised. Relaxation can be learnt, and if this is the case, the first session is spent on learning how to relax. Another reason for not being able to go into a trance is that it can be blocked. The person simply refuses to let go.
There is nothing that you need do prior to the session. It is advisable not to drink caffeine or alcohol before having hypnotherapy as these act as stimulants and may inhibit relaxation. Wear something that you feel comfortable in.
I will do home visits in exceptional circumstance, for example, severe agoraphobia or anxiety with driving and only within the local area. However, please note, that there will be an additional fee, on top of the session fee, for travel time.
This depends on what is being dealt with. Something like improving confidence for giving a speech, improving sports performance, confidence for a driving test or a simple phobia, may require only one session. But more complex issues, such as loosing weight, depression, cravings and anxiety will need at least 3 sessions.
This really depends on how often you are able to come and also finances. It also depends on the issue being dealt with and how quickly you would like to progress. I would never suggest more than one session a week. Progress may still be made if you are only able to come once every 4 weeks.
It is similar to revising for an exam – we need to go over things several times in order to remember it. The subconscious is very similar: in order to make changes the subconscious may need several attempts. So the script is recorded so that you may listen to it at home. However, sometimes just listening to the script once is enough. Usually, listening to the recording a further two times is enough, over the week following your session.
There are many reasons for this. If you are not ready to make the changes in your life, then hypnotherapy is unlikely to work. Sometimes on a conscious level we are ready but at a subconscious level we are not. This is particularly so for more complex issues, and why several sessions may be needed to get to the root cause. If a client is only prepared to deal with the conscious problem, but is not prepared to look at what is driving it at a subconscious level, then hypnotherapy is less likely to work, or it works for a while but the old behaviour returns. Often a three- pronged attack is required, and all areas need to be dealt with before change is seen.