Are you curious about what hypnotherapy is and how it works? Hypnotherapy is a modality that has helped many people and there is growing body of research that examines its efficacy. If you haven’t experienced hypnotherapy before, you may have questions about what it is, how it works, and what being hypnotised feels like. There are some myths and misunderstandings surrounding hypnotherapy that have been created by movies, stage hypnosis, and by the opinions of those who know little about the practice. I hope to increase your understanding of what hypnotherapy is, how it can help you, and dispel some of the myths associated with trance.
What is Hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy uses hypnotic trance to assist you to achieve your goals. There is nothing strange or dangerous about hypnosis and trance is something we achieve all by ourselves throughout our day while we are doing everyday things. The only difference between hypnotherapy and trance you achieve spontaneously during your day, is that during a session trance is a planned event that can assist you to go deeper into this natural state. A common example of how we achieve trance in our daily lives is highway hypnosis, which may occur while you are driving on a stretch of road that you have driven many times before. Our subconscious mind is good at managing repetitive tasks and a disconnection between the conscious and subconscious mind can occur. Your subconscious mind is performing the task of driving, whilst your conscious mind may be thinking of something else such as your plans for later.
The conscious mind is often described as the rational, thinking part of you and the subconscious mind is associated with your behaviours, habits, memories, and emotions. Our conscious and subconscious minds usually work well together. However, sometimes we make a conscious decision to change something, but our subconscious mind continues to repeat the old patterns. Making a conscious decision to change or telling yourself to think differently is usually not enough for change to occur, as you need your powerful subconscious mind to be in alignment with your conscious mind. When you are in trance the subconscious mind is listening and more receptive to helpful suggestions. Suggestions are offered to your subconscious that are in line with what you want to change or achieve and engaging the subconscious mind to help you.
What does trance feel like?
The experience of hypnotherapy may be unique to you. You may experience physical sensations during trance and some clients report feeling heavy, and some say they feel light. Some experience a pleasant tingling sensation. Regardless of what sensations that may or may not occur, it is generally reported as a comfortable and pleasant experience.
Benefits of Hypnotherapy
Hypnotherapy empowers you: You can use the power of your own mind to reach your goals and make the changes you desire. You build on your own existing strengths and abilities and develop new tools and strategies that help you to achieve the changes you want.
Hypnotherapy is a short-term therapy: How many sessions you will require will depend on you and the issue or challenges you want to address. Generally, 3 to 6 sessions will be recommended. However, each client is a unique individual and it will depend on you and what you want to achieve.
How hypnotherapy can help: Working with your subconscious mind has the benefit of working directly with your habits, behaviours, and emotions. The list of what hypnotherapy can help people achieve is too long to include here, but includes anxiety, stress, motivation, weight management, insomnia, and unwanted habits. Hypnotherapists are a friendly and helpful bunch and we are happy to talk to you about what you want to achieve.
Myths and Misunderstandings
You can still hear: When you are in trance your subconscious mind will hear everything that is said. How much your conscious mind hears will depend on your level of awareness. The conscious mind may hear everything, or it may wander off and think of other things and not recall most of what was said. A commonly reported experience is the conscious mind wandering in and out of awareness. Have you ever read a book or watched a movie and realised that your awareness wandered off to other thoughts? Trance may be experienced in a similar way.
Hypnotherapy is not stage hypnosis: You will not cluck like a chicken. My intent is to assist you to achieve your goals and I am certain that making chicken sounds won’t help. Hypnotherapists have a lot of respect for stage hypnotists and many who work in the entertainment field also help clients privately. But hypnotherapists also have to work hard to dispel the myths and misconceptions that have become associated with hypnotherapy because of stage hypnosis. Many people are first introduced to the power of the mind through stage hypnosis. Both are using hypnotic trance, but the intent and goal is vastly different. Stage hypnotists put on a show to entertain. Hypnotherapists are using hypnosis as a therapeutic tool.
You remain in control: Some clients are concerned about someone else being in control. Hypnotherapists have no special powers or abilities to control you. Experiencing trance is empowering for clients and it is likely you will feel more in control, not less. Additionally, your subconscious mind’s number one job is to do the right thing for you and no hypnotherapist can make you do anything against your morals or ethics. And we don’t want to!
You are not asleep: Our brains move through different brain wave patterns throughout the day and night. The fastest brain waves are Beta, then they slow down into Alpha, then down to Theta and then Delta. Beta brain waves are common when the conscious mind is at its busiest. When our mind slows we move into Alpha brain waves. Alpha brain waves often occur during meditation, with some meditators experiencing the slower Theta brain waves. When Theta occurs, the subconscious mind is in charge whilst the conscious mind takes a step back. Theta waves are present when we dream and when we are in a hypnotic trance. The main difference between the dreaming and hypnotic states is that while you are dreaming your conscious mind is usually asleep, and during trance your conscious mind remains awake.
You will not get stuck in trance: No one has ever been stuck in trance. As mentioned previously, hypnotic trance is a natural occurrence and something that we do spontaneously during the day. The worst that can happen is you drift too deep and fall asleep. During a hypnotherapy session your hypnotherapist will ensure you don’t drift off to sleep.
My Recommendations for Finding a Hypnotherapist
If you are interested in hypnotherapy I encourage you to talk with your prospective hypnotherapist and ask questions. There are many approaches, and I recommend that you make sure that the hypnotherapist and the way they work resonates with you. I am always happy to talk about my approach, my qualifications, and respond to any questions a client may have.
I am a clinical member of the Australian Hypnotherapists Association (AHA). The AHA has members throughout Australia and membership indicates that they have met a minimum level of training and abide by a code of ethics. I would encourage you to consider engaging with a well-trained professional, regardless of if they have association membership or not. There are some who claim to be qualified ‘master hypnotherapists’, but many have only completed 2 or 3 days of training with no other background in this type of work. Some charge a lot of money and make dubious claims of guaranteeing their work in one session. Please read the fine print.
Do You Have Any Questions?
Do you have any questions about hypnotherapy that I haven’t answered here? Please contact me, I am happy to help!
Inner Mind Therapies
PH 0403 357 656