Your Guide To Hypnotherapy

Your Guide To Hypnotherapy

Proponents claim it can cure everything from addictions to phobias – but is hypnotherapy really able to treat such a wide range of ailments? To find out, we went to three of London’s leading hypnotherapists to ask them some key questions – from what really happens in a session to finding the right practitioner, here’s what they said…

First – what exactly is hypnotherapy?

“Hypnotherapy has a dated, zany reputation, stemming from turn-of-the-century, involving pendulums and out of body experiences. These mythical (and outdated) associations do add to intrigue, but they couldn’t be further from the truth. Hypnosis alters your state of consciousness in such a way that turns off your analytical left-hand side of the brain and makes the right-hand side more alert. In doing this, you can communicate directly with the subconscious mind and reprogramme the brain, helping you take back control of your thoughts to break habits and entrenched patterns. Hypnosis is recognised by the NHS as a complementary therapy and can help everyone from diabetic children to those with a phobia of needles.” – Lydia Johnson, founder of The London Clinic of Hypnotherapy

So, how does it work?

“Hypnotherapy is a specific type of therapy that uses hypnosis to help patients reach a heightened state of awareness and peace of mind – aka mindfulness. As human beings, we cannot detach ourselves from thoughts, worries, and bodily sensations (that is just impossible) but we can learn how to slow down the negative spiralling thoughts that might cause anxiety and unhappiness – this is what hypnotherapy can help you with. During hypnosis, the hypnotherapist uses guided relaxation techniques to elicit feelings of extreme relaxation, focus and concentration. In doing this, they can help you rewire and reprogramme your brain in order to change unhealthy habits.” – Malminder Gil, leading hypnotherapist and life coach 

Does it really work?

“There are several studies that confirm the power of hypnosis. Recent findings by Alfred Barios PhD found that after 600 sessions, psychoanalysis was 38% effective, CBT was 72% effective after 28 sessions and hypnotherapy was 93% effective after just six sessions.” – Lydia 

What conditions can it help with?

“The list is endless, but hypnotherapy is particularly effective for those who suffer from anxiety, burnout, stress and sleep disorders as by its very nature, it induces a sense of calm and focus. I also have several clients undergoing treatment to break addictions, such as sugar addiction.” – Malminder 

“Hypnotherapy allows you to communicate directly with your subconscious to help you take back control of your thoughts, breaking habits and entrenched patterns.”

What happens in a session?

“If you’re new to hypnotherapy, I recommend starting with a three-hour session – this may sound like a lot but you can achieve realms of work in this time and often is enough. I start by chatting to you about your life – this covers everything from your upbringing to work life, relationships and diet. In the first two hours, I will pick up on themes and nuances that are getting in the way of moving your life forwards – you’ll learn about mindset and how to uplift and instil healthier habit thinking, turning down any negative thoughts. In the final part of the session, we record a hypnotherapy audio for you to take home to embed everything you’ve learnt and so you can realign your subconscious for long-term results. At our clinic, you can also choose the music you wish to listen to during your session – from sound baths to Simon and Garfunkel, the choice is yours. Music is so evocative for memories and visualisation and shouldn’t be discounted. We also stay in touch with you for two weeks after your session, and in that time, you can have a 30-minute top-up if needed. After-care is crucial with hypnotherapy, so I also send a pack with all the elements covered in your session as well as daily rituals that are easily accessible in day-to-day life.” – Lydia

“My sessions start with a guided meditation that lead you into deep relaxation before any suggestive work takes place. When you are in a receptive, trance-like state, with my voice I guide you through, getting you to repeat affirmations or verbal cues. Relaxation, meditation, visualisation, breathing techniques and NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) are all used during hypnosis.” – Malminder 

How do you feel afterwards?

“After just one session, you will feel free, exhilarated and lighter. You may feel tired or emotional, but also hopeful, excited and like you could take on anything.” – Jessica Boston, hypnotherapist 

“You may notice a significant shift – a letting go and sense of wanting to make different decisions that may well be healthier and more nourishing for the dynamics in your life that wasn’t there before.” – Lydia 

Is it true a hypnotherapist can control your mind and thoughts?

“This is a myth. A good hypnotherapist won’t be interested in controlling your mind, but even so, you never fully lose control as you are the one in the driving seat. I am just in the passenger seat holding the map, guiding you to what you really want. The only thing your hypnotherapist will be interested in is your freedom, not control.” – Jessica 

“There are still so many myths surrounding hypnosis – stage hypnosis contributed to this misconception – but hypnotherapy isn’t about asking something to do something under hypnosis. It’s an alternative therapy where therapist and patient work together to reach your goals. I can assure you that you’re absolutely in control of your mind and body during hypnosis. If anything, you are actually in a hyper-receptive state during which we, therapists, can intervene more successfully and suggest how you can change thought patterns and unhealthy habits.” – Malminder 

Are some people incapable of being hypnotised?

“If there is a lot of resistance there is usually a reason – perhaps you believe deep down that it means you are gullible or foolish. This doesn’t mean you can’t be hypnotised, but your subconscious might be more protective of the behaviours you’ve adopted to keep you safe, and therefore puts up more resistance to them. The subconscious is good at throwing a spanner in the works to slow down the process. If this happens with you, don’t worry – through your sessions, we will work through your subconscious and build on trust.” – Jessica 

“Hypnotherapy may have a dated and zany reputation, but studies show it is 93% effective after just six sessions.”

Does each hypnotherapist have their own unique style?

“Absolutely – some will read scripts, while others are more creative. I combine a mix of modalities and love playing with language and metaphor to come up with a creative solution. To me, hypnosis is the point where art, science and magic exist, but not all hypnotherapists take this view.” – Jessica

Can you do it virtually?

“Doing hypnotherapy in person and virtually both have their merits. When the pandemic forced us to do sessions online, I was reticent at first, but quickly realised there is a benefit to being in the comfort of your own home. This instantly relaxes you, which is optimum for hypnotherapy. However, in clinic I do pick up on many nuances, which are just not apparent from behind a screen.” – Lydia 

Is it safe?

“Yes, it is very safe but isn’t recommended for those with severe mental illness. Always do your homework and make sure your therapist is safe. Do you research and always book a complimentary call – any decent hypnotherapist will offer this. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about what a treatment plan entails. After all, trust is fundamental to your mental wellbeing and to a successful outcome.” – Jessica 

How can you find a reputable practitioner?

“Unfortunately, the world of hypnotherapy is a fairly unregulated industry, so it’s important to do your research. Qualifications are a good starting point, but also look for valid testimonials. If you can ask a friend for a recommendation, even better – 95% of my business is through referrals. Look to see if they have any materials you can access for a taster of their work. For example, I have an album on Spotify called This Feeling Is You, which gives you an idea of what to expect before working with me.” – Jessica 

Finally – what would you say to someone who is sceptical of hypnotherapy?

“Remember that hypnosis isn’t something that’s done to you – it’s a process your therapist guides you through that you actually already do yourself. When you’re lost in your thoughts, you are essentially hypnotising yourself. It’s all about handing over trust to someone to help you access parts of your thinking you’re unable to access alone.” – Jessica 


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DISCLAIMER: Features published by SheerLuxe are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.

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