According to the NHS, hypnotherapy uses hypnosis to try to treat conditions or change habits. Going into a session, you should expect to be led into a deeply relaxed state which many describe as similar to a daydream. Your therapist will then help you work towards your goals before gradually bringing you out of the hypnosis. Crucially, you’re fully in control at all times and don’t have to take on the therapist’s suggestions if you don't want to. Chloe can explain more…
Do people often confuse hypnotherapy with hypnotism?
“When they hear the word ‘hypnotherapy’, many people think of the stage shows where a participant is seen heartily tucking into a raw onion because the hypnotist has made them believe it’s an apple. While these things show the power of hypnosis, hypnotherapy is very different. It’s empowering and you always remain in control.”
Why shouldn’t people be sceptical or nervous about a hypnotherapy appointment?
“Sometimes clients are nervous about ‘losing control’, but this doesn’t happen. You’re aware of what’s being said and you don’t blurt anything out unawares! The first part of the session is spent talking about your history and the changes you’d like to see as a result of the session. Then you lie down and I guide you into a very deep state of relaxation, where your subconscious mind becomes more receptive to helpful suggestions. I do all my sessions online, so you are in the comfort of your own home – I have happy clients all over the world.”
How do you guide your clients into that relaxed state?
“Each session is tailored for the client based on their interests and the way they think about the world. For some clients, I ask them to imagine relaxing each body part or walking down some steps, becoming more relaxed with each step. For others, I'll use language that sounds confusing. This is especially good for ‘overthinkers’ as it confuses the conscious mind and enables the client to access a very deep state fast.”
How many sessions do clients typically need to feel on top of their anxiety or fears?
“We’re all different. Some people are very receptive to hypnotherapy and will feel as though a miracle has occurred after the first session, with a complete resolution of their issue. Others will notice more subtle changes that build to a big change over about six sessions.”
Would you recommend hypnosis even if someone feels fine?
“I would say feeling ‘fine’ is just a starting point. I’d invite you to ask yourself what it would be like to feel amazing instead. It’s possible to go from good to great. For some people, hypnotherapy is helping them out of a bad place. For others, it’s about getting to the next level of confidence, calmness or happiness. There is always a better state we can get to.”
Are some people more receptive than others to finding success with hypnotherapy?
“Yes. Just like anything in life, we are all different and we respond to things in different ways. But most people respond to hypnotherapy and everyone can be hypnotised. Some people – about 15% of the population – are very susceptible to hypnotherapy. They are the ones you'll see on stage at a hypnosis show, clucking like a chicken. They are the lucky ones!”
Hypnotherapy is known to be helpful for anxiety, during intravenous (IV) treatment and to overcome fears. What does it unlock that can help with so many different things?
“I exclusively see clients for anxiety and confidence, but it can be used for almost anything from stopping smoking to having a stress-free childbirth. It’s working at the subconscious level where your thoughts, feelings and habits originate from. Some people describe it as ‘reprogramming’ the subconscious mind. We all have programming and old beliefs that we have taken on board throughout our lives. For example, you might believe you’re not good enough because your dad left when you were young; or being bullied at school could have left you with the belief that you’re not likeable. These beliefs can lead to anxiety and low self-confidence. If we can change them, that’s when transformation takes place.”
What does the calm you talk about feel like?
“It can be surprising to people that they can relax so deeply. During hypnotherapy, time passes very quickly, so 30 minutes can feel like five, which can seem unbelievable. I work with people who often find it hard to switch off – learning that they can, can be a revelation. Calm is our natural state and we can all get there, with the right tools.”
I recommend journaling and writing down your thoughts and feelings. Getting things out, and down on paper, is a great way to offload them from an overthinking brain.
I'm a big fan of shaking. Animals in the wild naturally shake when they’ve experienced something stressful to discharge the tension in their bodies. Shaking your body to music at home – or quickly and discreetly in the loos at work after a stressful meeting – can help you feel calmer and relax your body.
DISCLAIMER: We endeavour to always credit the correct original source of every image we use. If you think a credit may be incorrect, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.