Hypnotherapy is becoming more mainstream, with many doctors now referring clients to clinical hypnotherapists for assistance with a variety of issues. Nonetheless, hypnotherapy and more specifically, hypnosis are still shrouded in mystery here in Ireland. Quite often the only exposure many people have had to hypnosis is through stage or television shows where its sole purpose is for entertainment and therefore people are understandably quite hesitant when they think of it in a therapeutic context. Is it effective? Is it scary? Is it complete nonsense?
Over the years I have been asked everything from ‘Will you make me act like a chicken?’ to ‘Are you able to read minds?’ Now, I have absolutely no desire to make anyone act like a chicken and if I could read minds that would be a miracle (and quite possibly very upsetting for me, God knows what people think of my fashion sense!)
I can forgive anyone for being hesitant about hypnotherapy, I am a sceptical person by nature. In these days of social media there are many people making wild claims and outlandish promises. It is wise to make sure we are not being conned by quackery.
The best way to give you an idea of what hypnotherapy is, I believe, is to first let you know what it is not. It’s not mind control, magic, entertainment or sleep.
As a clinical hypnotherapist I use hypnosis to work with you on making beneficial changes in your life. You, the client, are always in control and aware of where you are and what is happening. Clinical hypnotherapy is far removed from hypnosis for entertainment. In fact, as a member of the European Association For Professional Hypnotherapists, my code of ethics means I am forbidden from engaging in stage hypnosis (not that I want to do it anyway).
Hypnosis is simply a relaxed, trance-like state where you are more open to suggestion. The word ‘trance’ sounds a bit scary but we all go into trance like states multiple times a day (think of when you daydream or are absorbed in a book or film so much that you stop noticing the outside world. Or when you realise you have been driving for miles but haven’t noticed the last few motorway exits). It is a lot easier to introduce new and beneficial ideas when we are in that relaxed and quiet state of mind. It makes sense because there is a lot less ‘mental noise’ going on so we can more easily take these positive thoughts and suggestions on board.
I always say the ‘therapy’ part of the word hypnotherapy carries a lot of weight and importance. Hypnosis is a tool used to help the client engage in meaningful and life-changing therapy to deal with a variety of issues from smoking and weight-loss to anxiety and phobias.
In conclusion I will say what I say to every client that comes through my door- with hypnotherapy, your only job for the duration of the session is to relax in a recliner with your eyes closed. Now that doesn’t seem like something very scary at all, does it?