Updated: Mar 22, 2019
What can you expect, what can you do and what will happen when you go to hypnotherapy?
'We create addiction and self-soothing behaviours, and we can limit our full potential, all to protest the injustice and unfairness in our lives.'
As a Clinical Hypnotherapist, I often get asked about what takes place in a hypnosis session. I’m also asked what clients need to ’do’ to get the most out of their time in therapy. The most important answer to that question is to come ready to change, and ready to be involved in your own healing journey.
Unfortunately, stage hypnotists, popularised by the media, have people fearing that they will lose control, that the hypnotherapist will make them do something they don’t want to do (cluck like a chicken), or that they will implant some weird belief they don’t want.
Clinical hypnotherapy could not be farther from that distorted image, as it encourages self-responsibility, magnifies the client’s internal resources and helps to build a bridge, between the client’s issues and the skills gap or solutions, that lay dormant within. You see, clinical hypnosis is based on the presupposition that if the client had the skills to address their issues, then there wouldn’t be an issue. Through strategic hypnosis and psychotherapy, and 'after session tasking', the client can regain and build upon these missing skills, thus rendering the original issue a mute point.
As a culture we are taught to blame ‘something’ (addictions, the media, our genes) or ‘someone’ (parent, partner, child) for our distress, dysfunction, and unhappiness. This however, just keeps us in a cycle of victimisation, which we find hard to break away from. Well meaning people, friends and family members, see our pain and discomfort and want to make it better for us, but this is actually compounding the belief that our pain, our hurt has originated and can be diffused, outside of us.
We create addiction and self-soothing behaviours, and we can limit our full potential, all to protest the injustice and unfairness in our lives. And it is true that the trauma people face isn’t fair or just, and yet, there is a way through it and out the other side, but this road cannot be traveled whilst we blame the ‘others’ for our pain.
Clinical hypnotherapy supports clients to create that pathway through, without having to go back into past traumas, recount stories, blame, figure out why, or anything like some traditional talk therapies encourage. Clinical hypnotherapists will only touch upon the past so the client can see their resources, what they've achieved or how they have had success, and that they are capable of change. Clinical hypnotherapy aims to get the client in the here and now, or if appropriate, take them into the future so they can see a different way of living, of life, pain free and powerful, bringing their resources with them.
I have learned from my clients, that not everyone is ready or wants to change, and that's ok. You can’t force a person to heal, but you can hold the space open for when they are ready.
5 easy ways to get the most from hypnosis:
As promised, here is a list of the 5 easiest ways to help you get the most from your hypnosis:
Come willingly - No-one can be forced to change, or dragged grudgingly to find solutions. If there is no point of conflict that you recognise, then hypnosis won’t work, i.e. if you’re happy smoking 30 cigarettes a day, then you’re not going to give up, regardless of how much your partner complains.
Be prepared to change – Change is possible if you’re willing to do the work. A lot of clients come to therapy halfheartedly, and are surprised when they get the directly proportionate results! If you’re going to do this, you may as well play all out, to regain your health, wellbeing and happiness.
Support yourself for success – If you want to stop drinking, you wouldn’t go and hang out in the pub every night. Set yourself up, so that the work you do in the hypnosis session is fully supported outside of the clinic room. Enlist your friends, family, and your co-workers to collude with you to get results. Your healing doesn't happen in a vacuum, and its important, especially when changing habits to have that support system around you.
Work with your team - By pinpointing the issue, or rather the symptoms that you are experiencing will help the therapist get you across the line. Work together and build your therapeutic relationship with honest and open communication. They are on your team and will do all they can to support you to change, heal and grow. They also know what they’re doing, so trust them and trust the process. It’s going to take more than one, one-hour session to change a lifetime’s habit or behaviour. This is not a magic bullet, rather a therapeutic process that delivers positive results.
Be hypnotisable – Know that you are in charge, always, and that you get to choose. There is a myth that if you’re strong willed, you can’t be hypnotised. This isn’t true. Everyone goes into trance many times a day; think driving your car, brushing your teeth, watching television. You can be resistant but that's not going to get you the outcome you want. Come to your session and be ready to play, be open to change, and be ready to take back your power. You’re so worth it!