Frequently Asked Questions

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What is hypnosis?

Hypnosis is a special way of using various naturally-occurring psychological and physiological states.  It’s a collaborative process in which you allow yourself to follow the guidance of the therapist by using your imagination to evoke positive emotions and rehearse behavioral change.

Hypnotic suggestion is about experiencing certain helpful ideas at a level profound enough to directly influence your emotions and behavior.  Psychological and emotional problems can be seen as a result of negative thinking, whereas hypnotherapy aims to encourage (to “suggest”) positive ideas which lead to improvement.

Hypnosis is definitely not a state of sleep or unconsciousness.  Roughly 90% of clients report being aware of everything that happens, although slipping deeper into hypnosis at moments may give you the sense you drifted out.

You can speak to answer questions I may ask you, and if at any moment you wish to end being in hypnosis, it suffices to simply open your eyes and say so.

Hypnosis is such a natural state you may feel you are simply closing your eyes and relaxing a bit in the first session or two – that nothing bizarre or so different is happening.  However, over the course of treatment clients get better at recognizing and going into hypnosis.

What can I expect at an appointment?

Before meeting, I seek to have a brief telephone conversation with the client to understand the nature of the issue.  There are certain that hypnotherapy is not the best approach for, and in these cases I can often suggest other avenues better suited to the problem at hand.

At the first session, we will take an hour and a half to conduct evaluations with you to help me fully understand your specific situation and the factors in play, so that I can put together a treatment plan.  We will also discuss my role as therapist and yours as a client in the therapeutic relationship, discuss practical details, and most importantly, set the specific goals for our work together.  If time allows, I conduct a first brief hypnosis training session.

Hypnotherapy, although it is one of the briefest forms of psychotherapy, usually requires more than one session – often four to five, although with more complex issues this can go to more.  I will tell you from the start how many sessions I believe will be necessary, and then we will see as we proceed if more or fewer will be needed for your particular case.

Please note that the success of your treatment will be in direct proportion to what you put into it; contrary to popular belief, hypnotherapy is not something that is “done” to the client.  Your active participation, and especially your real efforts at the exercises and assignments I will be likely to give you to work on between sessions, will all contribute to making the treatment plan work faster and more lastingly.

When the agreed-upon goals for your treatment have been met, we will have a final session to evaluate your progress and otherwise conclude.

Am I capable of being hypnotized?

Yes.

Everyone can, in principle, be hypnotized, to greater and lesser degrees.  Having an open mind, wanting to be hypnotized and not being too self-conscious are all helpful contributing factors.

Bear in mind too that hypnosis is a skill, that is learnable and that we get better at with practice.

What is the hypnotic trance about?

“Trance” does not happen in the sense popularized by the entertainment industry!

In fact, hypnosis is a process that we slip in and out of several times a day, quite naturally.  Every time we lose ourselves in a quiet, absorbing activity – from peeling potatoes to drawing a landscape – we are going into the hypnotic state.

In this so-called “trance” state, under the guidance of a hypnotherapist, there is an increased ability to respond to positive suggestions, usually with simple, relaxed attention to the ideas being suggested.

Will I be under your control?

Another major misconception created by the entertainment industry!

No.

Hypnosis is not a state of mind control.  You cannot be made to do anything against your will, and in fact research conducted to deliberately try to make hypnosis clients act abnormally failed!

On the contrary, normally you must want to accept the suggested ideas and actively imagine responding to experience their effects.

If you do not agree with any suggested idea, in any way, you need simply ignore, as you would outside of the hypnotic state.

If at any point you feel uncomfortable, you need only open your eyes and end the hypnosis session.  You are entirely in control –  my presence is simply to guide you in the use of your imagination while you are in this quiet, focused state.

Is hypnotherapy safe?

Yes.

Hypnosis is completely safe when used in a responsible and professional manner, and nobody has ever remained “stuck” in hypnosis.  There is no strange thing I can do secretly to your mind that you will not be able to undo later.  I will only make positive suggestions that you will have the full power to choose to accept or reject.

In the UK, where I am certified, hypnotherapy is a highly professional and regulated profession.

To be licensed to practice, I first completed over 162 hours of theoretical and practical training, followed by approximately 120 hours of academic research and writing submitted to the General Hypnotherapy Standards Council accreditation board.

Upon my work meeting their requirements, I was awarded the General Qualification in Hypnotherapy Practice, which permits me to put the letters GQHP after my name.

I am required to maintain a log of all my hypnotherapy activity as at the time of annual re-registration I may be audited and asked to show suitable evidence of the previous 12 months supervision by a qualified GHR senior hypnotherapist. I am required to have a minimum of two hours of supervision in any three months of a one-year period.

The GHR also has a policy of Continuing Professional Development (CPD).  This is to ensure that its hypnotherapy professionals ensure they retain their capacity to practice safely, effectively and legally within their evolving scope of practice.  This requirement ensure I am abreast of new developments and techniques within the field.  In the case of audit, I will also be required to show that I have met a requirement of 25 annual hours of CPD.

I adhere to the code of ethics set down by the GHR.

 

 

 

If hypnosis is safe, what's going on in stage hypnosis?

Stage hypnotists are entertainment professionals.  They use many tricks from the magician’s toolbox to coerce carefully-selected, obedient audience members into creating an illusion of their magical hypnotic powers.

They achieve the illusion of magical hypnotic powers by cleverly manipulating a very powerful drive in individuals that psychologists call “social compliance” – the need to comply with the requests of others, or to follow their actions, to maintain social acceptance.

I should know something about this – at age nineteen, I myself attended a hypnotism show and was excited to be selected out of the audience.  Up on the stage, I was puzzled when the hypnotist snapped his fingers and told us all we were asleep – I didn’t feel anything like what he was saying I did.  But I saw everyone else on the stage pretending to be asleep, so I did too.

We were all told to do different silly things.  I was instructed to go sit in my place in the audience again, and when he would say the word “unicorn” I would kiss the man next to me.  I saw people smirking at me as I made my way back to my seat, but fortunately I had attended with my boyfriend.  I waited carefully for when I heard the hypnotist say the magic word, and to not disappoint anyone, planted a peck on my companion’s cheek.  It had nothing, but nothing to do with hypnosis.

For a moment’s entertainment, be sure to read Mark Twain’s own adventures as a charlatan hypnosis subject on the stage, in his autobiography.

Does hypnotherapy work?

Thousands of positive experimental and clinical research studies  on hypnosis have been published.  It was recognized as an effective medical treatment by the British Medical Association in 1955 (BMA), the American Medical Association (AMA) in the 1950s as well, and by the French Inserm in 1992.  A new profession in France, the first university-level training in hypnosis was established at the Hôpital de la Pitié-Salpêtrière in Paris in only 2001.

More recently, hypnotherapy has been recognized by the American Psychological Association and the NHS for certain difficulties such as respectively obesity and IBS.

Hypnosis can help with an enormous range of different issues.  Research tends to show the most support for its use in anxiety management, pain management, overcoming sleep disorders and treating certain psychosomatic or stress-related illnesses.

However, hypnosis is also used for conquering habits such as nail-biting or cigarettes, and for personal development in areas such as sports performance, public speaking or creativity.

Especially in its combination with cognitive-behavioral therapies such as I offer, hypnosis is essentially a simple, down-to-earth and common-sense therapy.  By relaxing, thinking positively and picturing your goals, hypnosis can help you to progressively improve your habitual feelings and behavior.

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