You might be one of the many sceptics but hypnotherapy is fast shedding its image of dangling pendulums and mystifying mind-control and is now being accepted as a well-established alternative to traditional therapy. Gaining increasing popularity for its ability to help treat everything from addiction to emotional trauma, we spoke with Harley Street hypnotherapist Fiona Lamb for an insight into the practice.
Can you explain exactly how hypnosis works?
Hypnosis is a focus of attention and quieting of the conscious, analytical mind. This focus offers peaceful inner awareness and the ability to relax deeply enough to recognise and use resources that otherwise might be overlooked. It’s not a strange, altered state, nor are you unconscious. In fact, you enter a similar state all the time – drifting off, daydreaming or losing track of time. When you’re in a hypnotic state, you’re able to pay closer attention to your own guidance, enabling your unconscious mind to make positive changes easily, but you remain completely aware of your surroundings and everything that is being said to you.
Can it work for everyone?
Absolutely, but some people find they go into hypnosis more quickly and easily than others. It is a skill you can learn, like meditation. Some people have more resistance to letting go and want to have a sense of control, which is an issue to be looked at in itself.
What kind of cases are most common?
Fear affects us all in so many different ways. It can be apparent, like fear of flying, or less obvious, such as the fear of rejection or being alone. People can also fear their ability to cope and manage situations. Such anxieties can lead to over-eating, lack of motivation, addictions, bad relationships and other negative, limiting behaviours. If the real issue is found quickly, then treatment is usually speedy – this involves removing old ways of thinking and replacing them with confidence, self-belief and assertiveness.
Why do you think hypnosis has become more popular in recent years?
It’s all down to mindfulness, people are more open to self-improvement – no longer a taboo, it is now seen as a strength to be mentally self-aware. Hypnotherapy is actually a form of meditation used to examine why you are feeling the way you are and to try to remove the feelings. Under hypnosis you can change your default thinking, and people are increasingly putting their minds before their bodies when it comes to change.
How effective is hypnotherapy compared to other forms of behavioural therapy?
Hypnotherapy has been proven to be the most effective form of therapy in the shortest amount of time. Even back in the ‘70s, a study found hypnotherapy had a 93% success rate after just six sessions, compared to behavioural therapy which had a success of 72% after 22 sessions and to psychoanalysis which had 33% effectiveness after 200 sessions. It is also the only form of therapy to treat smoking with a 90% success rate. People tend to use hypnotherapy as a last resort when everything else hasn’t worked, which is a shame as it can be very effective in a short amount of time.
Can benefits be seen after just one session?
Absolutely – for many people one session is sufficient, but for issues such as depression and weight loss, two or three sessions is usually more effective. Everyone is different and responds differently to treatment, but I have seen countless people’s lives change in just one session.
What’s your advice on finding a hypnotherapist?
Recommendations – if you know someone who has had success with a hypnotherapist that's usually the best way to find one. If not, then find a therapist who uses a range of techniques and is accredited with a professional body. Also, go with your gut instinct and don’t underestimate the value of liking the person who will be treating you. If hypnotherapy hasn’t worked for you in the past there is a very good chance the therapist was not right for you, not the therapy.
Lastly – what would your advice be to someone trying hypnotherapy for the first time?
Trust and have faith in the process, relax and enjoy it.
For more information, visit FionaLambHypnotherapy.com