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Vicki Crane BA(hons) MCSD Dip.Thyp LHS
The mind is like an iceberg
Only a small part of an iceberg is visible above the surface of the water and this can be thought of as similar to the conscious mind; the part of the mind which is responsible for everyday thoughts, analysing information, using logic and making decisions.
Below the surface is the subconscious mind; the much larger part of the mind which is responsible for memories, emotions and the central nervous system. It is this part of the mind that stores all our individual behaviours and responses. During hypnosis, the subconscious mind becomes more alert and receptive to suggestions and hypnotherapy uses this process to suggest new ways of thinking and responding to situations. These new thought processes can then enable new and positive changes to take place. The journey starts here Have you ever travelled somewhere and realised that when you arrived, you couldn’t remember parts of your journey? Maybe you were driving along with the radio on or were listening to music on the bus or train. When you arrived at your destination, you couldn’t remember driving down a certain road or passing a particular stop. Or perhaps you can recall the last time you read a book that was so absorbing you felt unable to put it down? You become so focused on the story that the outside world began to seem a bit distant and any background sounds no longer seemed to matter quite so much as you drifted oﬀ into your own inner world. Most people are familiar with this trance-like state, though we are not always consciously aware of it occurring. It is a natural and safe state of mind which is often experienced several times a day. Be the person you want to be Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, life doesn’t always run as smoothly as we would like. Diﬀerent situations and experiences can leave us feeling tense, stressed out, worried or even fearful.
Each of us has the inner resources that we need to live our lives in the way that we want. Life is a continuous journey and as we travel, we build upon and strengthen these resources. Hypnotherapy can help you to access your own inner potential and make positive life changes. Perhaps you’d like to feel more conﬁdent and relaxed with life? Would you like to lose weight or stop smoking? Or maybe you want to be free from fear and anxiety? Hypnotherapy may be the help that you’ve been seeking. Eﬀective help for a variety of problems Most people ﬁnd hypnosis a very pleasant and calming experience and many of us know someone who has been to see a hypnotherapist, whether for weight loss, stopping smoking, or maybe to overcome a fear or phobia. Hypnotherapy can be used in a wide variety of situations including the following:
Boosting conﬁdence Dealing with panic attacks Beating fears and phobias Managing stress Reducing stuttering Becoming more assertive Managing pain Beating exam nerves Insomnia Achieving goals Eliminating habits Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Stopping smoking Reducing weight And many more...
If this is the ﬁrst time that you’ve considered seeing a hypnotherapist, you may be wondering what happens during a therapy session. Most hypnotherapists have their own way of working which is based on a combination of training and experience. A typical ﬁrst therapy session usually includes some or all of the points opposite.
Information gathering and full case history In order for any therapy to be as eﬀective as possible, it is important to get a full picture of the problem or issue, including any relevant background information. If you are seeking hypnotherapy for the relief of certain health problems or symptoms such as headaches, other types of pain or medical problems, it may be necessary to obtain your consent to contact your GP to conﬁrm any medical diagnosis and also obtain their permission to provide hypnotherapy. For any therapy to be successful, it is essential that a good working relationship is established between you and your therapist. It is important that you feel comfortable and at ease, if not, it may be better to ﬁnd someone else. As well as getting to know the therapist and discussing the problem or issue, this is also an opportunity to ask any questions that you may have. Some of the more frequently asked questions are included in this guide, but if there is anything that you are unsure about, do ask your therapist. Establishing goals and outline of proposed therapy In addition to gathering background information, it is important to establish the aim or goal and this is usually discussed before any therapy takes place. No two people or issues are the same and this is a vital step to ensure that ongoing progress can be monitored as well as enabling the therapy to be tailored speciﬁcally to you. Your therapist may also discuss with you the therapeutic approaches that they intend to use as well as an idea of how many sessions may be required.
Therapy During the session you will usually be seated in a comfortable chair. Some therapists may have a sofa or couch to lie on if you prefer, but it is not necessary to lie down if you do not wish to, as long as you are comfortable. Most of the therapy will take place whilst you are hypnotised (often referred to as being in trance) and some of the most common methods of inducing hypnosis including being asked to relax various muscles, gazing at an object or point on the wall or ceiling, or imagining relaxing scenes such as walking through a meadow or along a beach. Most people ﬁnd being hypnotised a very calming and relaxing experience. Some say they feel as though they’re drifting or ﬂoating, whilst others say their body feels as though they’re sinking down into the chair because they are so comfortable. As part of the therapy, you may also be taught self hypnosis so that you can feel the beneﬁts of hypnotherapy between sessions and after the therapy has ﬁnished. For more information about self hypnosis, visit my website at: www.vickicrane.co.uk The speciﬁc therapy techniques used will depend on a number of factors including the problem or issue and also how you respond during hypnosis. There are a wide range of techniques or ‘tools’ available and the therapist will select the most appropriate methods for you.
Awakening Following therapy, you will then be brought out of hypnosis by the therapist. Although the term awaken is used, during hypnosis you are not actually asleep at any point. This process is commonly referred to as awakening as it is usually the way that most people relate to coming out of a hypnotic trance. As with inductions, there are a variety of awakeners that can be used and again, this mainly depends on how you respond during hypnosis and also sometimes on the therapy techniques that have been used. Common methods of awakening include allowing you to open your eyes and come out of hypnosis in your own time, or a more structured awakener where the therapist may count from one to ten and suggest that with each number you become more aware until you are fully ‘wide awake’.
At this point the therapist will ensure that you feel fully alert and are back to full awareness. Sometimes it can take a minute or two to emerge completely from hypnosis and this varies from person to person. Upon awakening, most people feel very calm and relaxed, almost like having had a good night’s sleep. Payment and arranging further sessions Payment is usually required at the end of each session, although some therapists may prefer payment at the beginning, depending on how they work. You should be aware of any costs before therapy commences and most therapists will discuss fees with you when arranging your ﬁrst session. In some cases, for example stopping smoking, therapists may oﬀer a ﬁxed number of sessions and so fees may vary from normal session fees.
The number of follow up sessions will depend on you and the problem or issue. Anywhere between one and six sessions is quite common, although some problems may require more. The therapist may be able to give you an idea of how many sessions will be needed and in most cases, at least one further session is required, so this is also arranged at this point.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the diﬀerence between hypnosis and hypnotherapy? Hypnotherapy uses the process of hypnosis to suggest new thought or behaviour patterns for various types of emotional or behavioural problems. Because the subconscious mind is more receptive during hypnosis, a hypnotherapist can suggest new responses to situations. These are absorbed on a deeper level and when combined with your participation, can have a positive and lasting eﬀect. What does it feel like to be hypnotised? There are no speciﬁc feelings associated with being hypnotised as everyone experiences it diﬀerently. Most people feel deeply relaxed and ﬁnd that they feel very calm afterwards as well. How is hypnosis induced? There are many ways to induce hypnosis and the therapist will use the most appropriate approach for you. Some of the most common methods are covered in the Hypnotherapy sessions section of this guide. Drifting into hypnosis is usually a very pleasant and relaxing experience and certainly not like anything that you may have previously seen at a stage hypnosis show. Can hypnotherapy cure my problem? Most people generally respond very well to hypnotherapy and it can provide long lasting and permanent results. However, the success of hypnotherapy depends upon many factors including the problem for which you are seeking help, your motivation and commitment, the level of rapport with your therapist along with many other things. Because of this, no responsible hypnotherapist would make make any promise of a cure.
How many sessions will I need? The number of sessions required will depend on you and the problem or issue. Anywhere between one and six sessions is quite common, although some problems may require more. Is hypnosis dangerous? Hypnosis is a safe and natural state of mind and hypnotherapy can be a very positive and beneﬁcial process when used by a properly trained and qualiﬁed therapist. Will I be under the control of the hypnotherapist during the session? Absolutely not. This is probably one of the most common beliefs about hypnosis and usually stems from what people have seen or heard about stage hypnosis, as well as the popular portrayal on TV and in books of ‘The Hypnotist’ as a sinister character who has absolute power and control over their subjects. During hypnotherapy, you will not be asleep and will be able to hear everything that the therapist says. People often believe that hypnosis involves a sort of magical sleep where you are unaware of what’s happening around you. This is not the case. Because hypnotherapy involves responding to suggestions made by the therapist, it is important that you hear what is being said in order for you to take the suggestions on board and for therapeutic change to happen. So it’s not like stage hypnosis then? No. Whilst both hypnotherapists and stage hypnotists use hypnosis, the way in which it is used is completely diﬀerent. Stage hypnosis is, what it says; hypnosis carried out on a stage. It is used as a form of entertainment and is for the beneﬁt of the audience and volunteers taking part. Those who choose to go to a stage show are
usually well aware that the people on stage will be asked to do funny and sometimes embarrassing things. The volunteers who are eventually chosen to go on stage are there because they have chosen to be there and it is their choice entirely to follow the hypnotist’s suggestions. Stage hypnotists are talented showpeople who know exactly how to give the impression that they are in control of their volunteers on stage and this is a vital factor in order for the show to be a success. Because the hypnotist convinces the volunteers that they are in control, there is less chance of them resisting hypnosis. The type of person who volunteers to go on stage at a hypnosis show is usually someone who is very outgoing, enjoys a laugh and doesn’t mind walking around like a chicken or quacking like a duck (or any of the other tricks you may have heard about) even when they’re not hypnotised. Being hypnotised simply provides a reason for them to be even wilder than they normally would because they have the perfect excuse afterwards; “I don’t remember anything. I was hypnotised”. In reality, most stage hypnosis volunteers usually remember everything about the show and the suggestion that they ‘forget’ is often included to save them from embarrassment later on! Hypnotherapy is used to help people with a wide range of problems in a safe and appropriate manner which is for their beneﬁt. You cannot be hypnotised against your will. For hypnosis to happen, you have to want it to happen.
What happens if I get stuck in hypnosis? You cannot get stuck in hypnosis. It is a natural and safe state of mind from which you will return to full awareness, either by yourself or when asked to by the therapist. Even if something happened to the hypnotherapist whilst you were hypnotised, after a while, you would either wonder why they had stopped talking and wake up by yourself or alternatively, if you were tired, you would fall asleep and then wake up as normal after a short while. Will I be asleep? No. Although the word hypnosis comes from the Greek god of sleep Hypnos, hypnosis is actually an altered state of awareness in which you are still aware of your surroundings and are able to hear everything that the therapist says. During hypnotherapy, your eyes are usually closed and you will experience a feeling of deep relaxation, but you will not be asleep. Will I remember everything? Because you are aware throughout, you will usually remember everything that you experience during hypnosis. Sometimes people do ﬁnd that they can’t remember it all consciously afterwards, but the subconscious mind remembers everything. This is quite normal and is similar to forgetting what someone has just said because your attention is elsewhere rather than concentrating on the conversation.
Will I reveal personal things that I don’t want to? You are aware of everything that you say during hypnosis and so you cannot be made to discuss things that you do not want to. However, it is important to remember the reason why you are seeing a hypnotherapist. In order for you to beneﬁt fully from hypnotherapy, the therapist needs to know about the problem or issue including any relevant background information. Hypnotherapy is a two-way process and not something that is done to you, but with you. It is important that you feel you can trust and have conﬁdence in your therapist.
Copyright © Vicki Crane 2008
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