Isn't Hypnotherapy all a bit 'woo woo?'
So whenever I get asked 'What do you do' and I say that I am a Clinical Hypnotherapist, I'm usually met with a raised eyebrow. I get that quizzical look, sometimes with an up and down body scan because somehow I don't fit that stereotypical look of what they think a hypnotherapist should look like. A few times I've even been asked... 'Well aren't hypnotherapists a bit ‘woo woo?’
I’m sure for many people images of Derren Brown or that scene from Little Britain come to mind. Or perhaps it’s swinging a pendulum and someone clucking around on stage like a chicken.
I’m sorry to disappoint but I don’t do that. I don’t have the ability of mind control - if I could, I wouldn’t have to nag at my husband to pick up after himself! All of those things I’ve mentioned are related to stage hypnosis, which has its purpose to entertain but I’m not as exciting as that I’m afraid.
Instead, I use Hypnotherapy to help people to manage their anxiety and get back in control of their lives so that they can be the best version of themselves. It might not be a superpower, but I do help people to take control of their mental health and get back their spark. I work with people with a huge range of symptoms from fears, anxiety, lack of body confidence, sleep issues, PTSD, depression…as well so much more (it would take me far too long to list everything!)
So what do I actually do?
The form of Hypnotherapy I use is called Solution Focused Hypnotherapy, which uses a combination of talk therapy and hypnosis or ‘trance.’ As the name suggests, it focuses on the solution rather than the problem. Unlike other forms of therapy, you do not need to talk about your past and what the issue is, but instead we focus on the small steps you need to take to achieve your desired future.
I don’t do any ‘woo woo’ stuff (don’t get me wrong I do love a crystal or two, but I don’t use them in sessions). Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is underpinned by recent neuroscience research and part of the session involves me explaining to you how your brain works.
This is important and powerful because it helps you to understand that you are not ‘broken/damaged’ or unfixable. The negative thoughts and feelings you are experiencing right now are not due to your own fault, but rather your brain’s way of doing what it thinks it should be in order to protect you.
‘I’ve tried other forms of therapy but they haven’t worked.’
Compared to other forms of therapy, Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is modern and practical. The results are long-lasting and positive changes can be seen in a relatively short period of time (on average I work with people for between 8-12 sessions – sometimes slightly more, sometimes a little less ). It’s also very gentle and positive due to not having to delve into the past and the problem. Unfortunately, whatever has happened in the past cannot be changed but I can help you to reframe your thoughts so that you are not taking them into the future with you. In most cases it can also be used alongside medication and other forms of support.
Hypnotherapy myths busted!
I often hear sceptics say to me that what I do won’t help them as they can’t be put into trance. A couple of things to clear up here…
Firstly, I can’t ‘put’ you into trance. In fact, I can’t make you do anything you wouldn’t want to do. So I won’t be making you do a funky chicken dance, although if you want to do that and feel it will help you manage your anxiety then be my guest…
In reality, you’ll feel so relaxed in trance that there will be little else on your mind apart from loving how chilled out you feel.
I also get asked whether I can get you to spill your deepest, darkest secrets...
Just as I can’t get you to do something you don’t want to, I also can’t get you to tell me something against your will. If that was the case, then certain services wouldn’t need to put so much effort into their interrogation techniques and the FBI would be paying me a fine wage to get criminals to confess to their crimes.
I like a good bit of juicy gossip as much as the next nosy parker so if you wish to share some fascinating secret with me then please do (unless you are actually confessing to murder then I am legally obligated to report that save me the paperwork and keep that one to yourself!)
I also hear people saying that they can’t meditate or struggle to relax so there is no way it will work for them…
As much as I try really hard to meditate, my bum goes numb, I fidget, start to think about the million and one tasks I must do and I often find myselfgetting frustrated. The great thing with trance is that you don’t need to put any effort in! It’s a form of guided relaxation so you listen to the visualisations and suggestions that I say and during this time you can do whatever feels comfortable for you.
Some of my clients close their eyes and lie down, some sit up, some of my younger clients even draw or colour. I even once had a little client write me a whole story – amazingly she still managed to repeat back what I had said to her!
And that’s the thing, when you are in trance you quieten down that noisy part of your brain, which allows your subconscious mind to do its thing. Your subconscious mind is a powerful part of the brain that you rarely use but having access to it allows you to make powerful shifts and identify steps towards your preferred future. So you may well be finding yourself daydreaming about Tom Hardy naked… (ok just me?!) or thinking about what you’re going to do if you win the lottery (also me!). But that doesn’t matter! Your brain will take on board the suggestions it wants to hear and what it doesn’t it will ignore.
You probably won’t believe me when I say this but chances are you’ve been in trance at least a handful of times this week already.
If you have…
· Driven somewhere and not realised how you got to the destination.
· Read a book or been so engrossed in a tv series or film and not noticed the time pass.
· Started daydreaming during another boring staff meeting.
Then believe it or not, you have been in trance!
Trance is just your mind focusing solely on one thing and in this state you shut out the rest of the world.
Another concern people express is whether they can get stuck in trance. Again another myth. You are fully aware during trance, so if your phone goes off you would be able to answer it. As living species, we have certain functions that we have to do.. like eat and pee. So if you decide to be a ‘couch hugger’ (a very unofficial technical term I use for people who don’t want to leave my sessions) then eventually your stomach will grumble or you’ll need the loo.
Trance is so relaxing and some people just want to be in it for a little longer (ahem cough huggers...). If we’re working online then I’m more than happy to leave you to it but if you’re in my therapy room and my next client is on their way then unfortunately you will have to leave.
But in all fairness, the only person I’ve ever had to physically poke is my husband when I was a student hypnotherapist and he doesn’t count! Most people come back into the present moment feeling relaxed and motivated towards their goal.
As part of my sessions, I also give you my audio which is very similar to the trance that we use in sessions. This helps to cement the work that we do in sessions but also acts as a form of self-hypnosis in between sessions. It also helps tremendously with sleeping, which plays a huge role in supporting your mental health (this could be a whole other blog but I’ve probably bored you enough).
If you would like to find out more then drop me a message. We can have an informal chat over the phone, with no obligation to sign up for sessions, and I'll be more than happy to answer questions you might have.