Changing people’s perceptions of hypnotherapy

The first time I heard about hypnotherapy was during a chat with a manager at work where I was explaining that I had been suffering with anxiety and that I didn’t really know what to do about it. My manager had said she knew a hypnotherapist who could help with anxiety. At that point the only thing I knew about hypnosis was through watching Paul McKenna and the like on tv, I also knew Paul McKenna did self help books and CDs, but that was pretty much it. At this point however I would have tried anything so I booked a consultation.

I didn’t know what to expect from the consultation and I was both nervous and excited. The session started with me explaining why I was there. She then told me how hypnotherapy works. I found it really interesting as the hypnotherapist explained how the brain works in regards to anxiety, depression, etc and how we can help ourselves. She explained that there are different parts of the brain that control depression, anxiety, anger etc but there are also parts that are more logical and rational. She also explained how sleep plays a very important part in controlling our stress levels. As soon as I was given this information I felt empowered straight away as it gave me a new understanding of the brain and made me look at my anxiety in a different way. I was given a self hypnosis CD to listen to every night to bring my stress levels down which would help the process. I was told that I needed to start focusing on the more positive things in my life rather than the negative and that she would ask me about those in the first session. I found this really difficult as at that time I didn’t feel like there was anything positive in my life but I knew if I was to make changes I had to put in the effort. I left there already feeling different, I felt like I had taken the first step in making some positive changes in my life.

I returned the week after and we went through what had been good about my week. I went through the things I had listed down and immediately felt quite good talking about the positive things rather than the negative. We then spoke about how I wanted to feel and what I would need to do in order to feel the way I would want. This was difficult as I didn’t know how to get to where I wanted to be. My hypnotherapist asked me questions in a way that got me thinking about what I wanted and I managed to think of small steps that I could take that would get me working towards my main goal of ‘feeling happy’. Again I felt good that I’d made a decision and that I was already thinking about my future in a positive way rather than a negative. I then had to lay on the couch and we did trance. Now this part I really didn’t know what to expect, obviously I had seen hypnosis on stage and tv and the hypnotist clicks their fingers and the participant drops their head as if they are asleep and the hypnotist makes them do crazy things, so half of me was excited but the other half was thinking what is going to happen to me. I closed my eyes and took a few deep breaths, my hypnotherapist played some lovely music and then started to take me through a body scan in great detail where I had to start to notice the muscles that were tense and as I noticed these tense muscles I started to relax my body from head to toe. She then basically got me to imagine that I was in a stately home and took me through each room in great detail. At the time I was just waiting for something to happen (as I still wasn’t too sure what it was all about), it was a strange feeling as I was relaxing in body but at the same time because I was almost waiting for something to happen, I was almost disappointed when it didn’t. I was literally just relaxed and that was it. She told me to open my eyes and congratulated me on my first session and we booked in for the following week. It was very strange as although I didn’t really feel like much had happened I couldn’t help feeling different when I left there. I basically couldn’t wipe the smile off my face and I felt like something had changed within me, like I’d almost got some control back. It was very strange.

The next session was exactly the same, however as I knew that during trance nothing strange happens, I just went with it and actually went into a trance. So the only way to describe it is that because you are focusing on the story that the hypnotherapist is sharing with you, you really zone out of everything else around you and you almost feel like you’ve drifted off but as soon as the hypnotherapist tells you to open your eyes your straight back there and fully alert. Its like when you’re sat down looking at your phone for example, and someone is speaking to you but you don’t realise until they talk a bit louder or say your name again and you come back to being fully aware of what they are saying.

So that is it, that is what a hypnotherapy session is like. And it’s exactly what your sessions with me would be. And the reason I have shared this is because so many people still think that us Hypnotherapists have a magic wand and can do things to you that you have no control over, or that we can get into your brains and change everything for you or take the anxiety / depression away in one session. It’s not like that at all, what we do is give you the information about what is going on in the brain, give you different ways of thinking about your life, a different way of coping with certain situations, and let you know things you can do to help yourself, we then get you to think about the ways in which you can help yourself reach certain goals or feel the way you want to feel and then we do trance which is just a way of reaching the subconscious and helping your brain to process the information in a different way. There is no magic involved but by changing the way you think about things you can get an almost magical feeling and get the control back in your life.

Hypnotherapy is a really powerful tool to learn and to use going forward, we want to give you the tools to be able to help yourself throughout your life. Think of it as us not doing anything to you but basically putting a hand on your shoulder and guiding you through the toughest times in your life and showing you that there is light at the end of the tunnel!

Another important thing to note is, like anything, the more effort you put into it the more you will get out of it. Think of it like going to the gym for your brain, you are starting on a journey of changing the neural pathways in your brain, and like building or strengthening your arms and leg muscles at the gym, it takes time and effort to make changes to your brain.

The other great thing about hypnotherapy is unlike other therapies you don’t need a great deal of sessions, we work quite quickly and you should notice a difference in how you feel fairly early on. I’ve even had clients that have felt different after the first consultation.

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