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What is hypnotherapy & how do we use it?

Hypnotherapy is one of the therapeutic techniques we use as part of our integrative approach to holistic health and wellness. It is a form of psychotherapy that uses hypnosis to help people make positive changes in their lives. It can be used to treat a variety of issues, from anxiety and confidence to public speaking and addiction.

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The benefits of hypnotherapy are numerous. It can help reduce stress, improve sleep, and increase relaxation. It can also help people to manage fears and phobias, chronic pain, and enhance their lives.

Hypnotherapy can also be used to improve self-esteem and confidence, as well as to help people cope with difficult emotions.

Our treatment plans are tailored to you and your  needs, so hypnotherapy is something we may discuss with you to help alleviate a variety of physical and psychological symptoms and health conditions.

We regularly get questions about what our clinical approach to hypnotherapy involves, how it works and what the benefits are,  so this article will help lift the veil on what is often a misunderstood therapy.

What is hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy, or clinical hypnotherapy as we prefer to call it, is an excellent addition to support an integrative approach to health and wellbeing. It’s a therapeutic approach to hypnosis, as opposed to the more theatrical use of it that you may have seen used with the aim of entertainment.

We like to think of it as ‘a state of relaxed focus’ or an altered state of consciousness, which is often called a ‘trance-like state’, that involves you experiencing a deep sense of relaxation. It’s completely natural to us as human beings.

Trance is a very natural and safe state. When you are in trance you are still in control. You process and decide whether information or suggestions are useful to you or not and won’t accept or do anything against your own will.

In fact you regularly experience it in your daily life when you’re daydreaming, reading a book, watching a film or about to fall asleep.

Hypnosis is enhanced by mental & physical relaxation and encourages beneficial change to occur in the individual receiving the treatment, by allowing the more imaginative and creative parts of our mind to be more engaged in finding solutions, in a calm and safe manner.

What can hypnotherapy help with?

Hypnotherapy can be a powerful therapeutic tool. Some examples of when hypnotherapy can help are: 

  • If you’re experiencing stress, overwhelming anxiety, fears, worries or phobia. 
  • When you’re undergoing medical treatment or surgical interventions like scans, biopsies or treatments involving needles.  
  • Support your resilience both before or after operations and to aid your long-term recovery
  • If you’re coping with deteriorating health, grief or the physical and emotional impact of the symptoms you are living with it can support you.
  • Improving your self-esteem in relations to how you relate to yourself and others
  • Reducing insomnia which is often the result of underlying anxiety or fears.

How do we use hynotherapy?

Firstly, all our sessions take place in a professional, calm and safe therapeutic environment. This supports your ability to work at a subconscious level, by quieting the conscious mind especially if you’re in a heightened state of emotions or overwhelmed by the level of stimulus in your daily life.

Your therapist will take time to make sure you’re comfortable and you’ll be fully aware of what’s happening throughout. The hypnosis merely helps facilitate new thinking, feelings and behaviours that can improve your life. 

We’ll guide you into a ‘theta’ state where you’re able to become more conscious of the connection between your body and mind. This deeper state allows you to access the unconscious mind and to understand why certain thoughts or emotions prompt certain responses. This understanding can help you to address these responses – particularly useful when it comes to anxiety or phobias. 

When in this relaxed state, you’ll turn your attention inward. You’ll discover and utilise resources within yourself that can help you achieve the desired behaviour changes or better manage pain or other physical concerns. 

Eventually, you learn how to address their states of awareness on your own and in doing so, gain greater control of your physical and psychological responses.

We can make gentle, positive suggestions about changes in thinking and behaviour that can help and support you with the issue you’re facing. 

You’ll be encouraged to do as much or as little talking as you wish about the issue you’re facing. Sometimes, we simply just ‘do the work’, with very little talking required from you, you can relax and enjoy your session ‘content-free’.

The benefits of hypnotherapy

Clinical Hypnotherapy - Clock and pin cones with lamp on side table

Hypnotherapy can have an immediate impact, or you might simply feel very relaxed. In general, the benefits of hypnotherapy are:

Increased focus 

There are so many distractions in our daily lives that it can be difficult to focus on yourself. Our minds are so busy and a therapy session like this quietens the mind and has some unexpected benefits that go beyond feeling less stressed and anxious. Your intuition, or inner wisdom, is something you can only access when the busy mind settles down and you can hear the nudges and whispers from the unconscious. When you’re connected to your intuition you make better decisions, you have better clarity on what you want and you’re more able to access states of flow that bring out the best in you.

Relaxation

In the theta state you are deeply relaxed. Your conscious mind is quietened and allows your unconscious mind to deeply focus. In this calm state you are more open to facing and being curious about your problems or fears.

Learning new ways of thinking, feeling and responding and tapping into your emotions 

The combination of emotion and information enhances your ability to remember. For example, in a hypnotherapy session, you tap into a feeling of excitement about your future and that feeling of excitement and positivity helps your brain remember the feeling and pull it into future situations. This combination of emotion and information intensifies the creation of new neural pathways, meaning you are literally rewiring your brain in positive, helpful ways.

Aiding natural healing 

The combination of hypnosis and visualisation is a very potent way of influencing the cells in your body to create better health. We use somatic techniques to help you develop greater awareness and understanding of your mind-body connection.

Does hypnotherapy work?

Hypnotherapy has been shown to be effective in helping people cope with pain, for instance during dental procedures. It has also been helpful in reducing nausea during cancer treatment, for menopause and the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

A study in 2021 also found that hypnotherapy was as effective as cognitive behavioural therapy in treatment of mild to moderate depression.

In our practice we have found hypnotherapy particularly useful in supporting clients who are undergoing treatment for cancer and in supporting their resilience to cope with life after cancer. It has also been extremely effective with the symptoms of menopause, insomnia, and the different types of anxiety disorders such as GAD, panic, social anxiety, phobias, and health anxiety.

One of our clients was living with three different types of cancers and unable to sleep. The insomnia had progressed over four months to the point they were unable to control the anxiety in relation to it. As a result they had started to cut themselves off from their family and friends. Life was becoming smaller and smaller and depression was starting to creep in.

After the first session, they described an immediate result of the anxiety being significantly reduced, so much so that they began to sleep better and after three sessions, they described the outcome as ‘being back to my old self’. They did not require any further assistance and coped well with their treatments and are now doing really well with no evidence of disease (NED).

Hypnotherapy - are there any risks?

Hypnotherapy is generally safe, and suitable for most people. However, it’s important that it’s only undertaken under the supervision and guidance of a qualified professional.

We are fully accredited and regulated members of the General Hypnotherapy Council and hold registration with the General Hypnotherapy Register. 

We are also registered with the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) – the only government accredited body for complementary therapists meaning we meet UK-wide standards of practice and the CNHC’s code of ethics and performance.

All our clients are required to have an initial consultation to make sure we understand your needs and goals. We also ask you to complete a detailed health questionnaire before we start your sessions. Hypnotherapy will only be included in your treatment plan if we feel it’s the right approach for you and your circumstances.

How to get started

Hypnotherapy is only one of the techniques we use in our integrative approach to health and wellness. It can be undertaken via a Zoom session or in person at our practice in Surrey.

Find out more about what we do and the other therapeutic techniques we use.

Please feel free to get in touch with us to find out more or book a free 15 minute consultation where we can discuss your particular needs.

References:

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