For many people, what they believe about hypnotherapy will be drawn from watching TV or a stage show. What happens in a hypnotherapy session in a therapeutic setting is a world apart from that. Here I will answer 6 key questions you may have if you have never had hypnotherapy before but are curious and wondering if it could help you.
What is it like to have a hypnotherapy session?
1.Will I be in control?
This is probably the most common question people have about hypnosis and hypnotherapy. The short answer is – Yes! If we really could “brainwash” people then the prisons would be empty as we would simply suggest to people that they stop committing crimes. Unfortunately it is not that simple.
In a hypnotic state, we do become more suggestible. But, and it is a crucial but, suggestions have to fit in with our experience, belief system and values otherwise we discount them. We will come to stage hypnosis in a moment, but in the therapeutic setting, part of the job of the hypnotherapist is to be sufficiently “in sync” with you so that they can align the content of the session, the suggestions and the goal of the therapy to the your values, etc. In this way, the work we do together is effectively monitored and controlled by you. Your own mind can discount anything that doesn’t feel right for you.
2. But what about stage hypnosis…?
Stage hypnotists and entertainers can be very skilled at selecting the right people to work with. The intention is not therapeutic, but that of “entertainment”. That difference in intention is very important.
They will be looking for people who go into trance easily (about 20% of the population), and who will probably do as they are told, and who are extroverts. And in some way what will be asked of them also fits in with their beliefs and values. These are the people who will be the most likely to put on a good show. Add in the atmosphere of a night out, alcohol and knowing what is expected of you if you volunteer and it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Hypnosis is the state, but the key difference is that hypnotherapy is what you do when you are in that state of hypnosis. What happens when you have a hypnotherapy session is aiming to be therapeutic.
3. What does a hypnotherapy session feel like?
In my experience most people really like the feeling of relaxation. How often do we get to feel deeply relaxed in our busy lives? You are still awake and aware of what is going on around you but your body is more relaxed and you can feel like you are day dreaming. A bit like when you are really engrossed in a good film, you are absorbed and less bothered about the outside world, but can respond to interruptions if need be.
I often use approaches that involve visualisations and stories as I find those to be a very gentle yet potentially powerful way of engaging with the issue concerned. I try to tailor each session to the individual so that it feels “in sync” and comfortable, and aim for the session itself to feel therapeutic as well as the overall area we are working with.
4. Preparing for a hypnotherapy session
One of the most useful things that can happen at the beginning of our work together, is making sure both of us are really clear about what you want to achieve. And, that you really want that outcome. It can be alright to feel confused or ambivalent at the outset. Sometimes part of the really valuable therapeutic work we do is around clarifying exactly what someone wants to work with, why and how before getting to the actual hypnotherapy.
5. How often do I need to have a hypnotherapy session?
This is difficult to answer in general terms as it will depend upon the person and what they are working with. If something is quite straightforward, between one and three sessions might be all that is needed. Where an issue is more complex or deep-rooted, more sessions may be necessary.
Usually after the first initial meeting one can gauge the number of sessions, and agree to review and update as needed. I try to be flexible and also offer recordings of hypnotherapy sessions so that you can listen in-between appointments, aiming to give even more support and value in the process.
6. How can I find a hypnotherapist to work with?
I have written about my experience as a hypnotherapy practitioner here because that is what I can draw upon. It is really important to find someone you feel comfortable and click with. When you have hypnotherapy it helps if you feel the practitioner understands enough about you and your situation to be “in sync”.
Registered hypnotherapy practitioners will be qualified and adhere to codes of ethical practice. I am a member of the British Institute of Hypnotherapy & NLP. Fees vary and many, like myself, may offer flexible fee packages where that is helpful.
Many practitioners may also offer a free initial meeting so that we can meet, and you can ask any questions you might have about what happens when you have a hypnotherapy session. It also gives us as therapists the chance to start to understand you and what you would like some help with. The first hypnotherapy session may also be a little longer so that we can cover more useful ground faster as we aim to get the ball rolling.
There are so many different areas in which hypnotherapy can be supportive. I give more information on hypnotherapy and how it might be able to help you on the Hypnotherapy and Blog pages of my website.
I hope you have found this to be of interest and if you have any questions about what happens when you have a hypnotherapy session, or would like to book a free initial meeting, please do contact me.