Quick Questions and Answers

Q - What is hypnosis ?

A  -  Hypnosis is a natural state of heightened inner awareness and attentiveness, naturally induced by the help of suggestion. Hypnotherapy is a therapeutic approach unlike that shown for entertainment or Stage Hypnosis. 

Q - What is NLP?

A - NLP or Neuro-Linguistic Programming is a study of how language, both verbal and non verbal, affects our nervous system. It offers specific methods which can be applied effectively in any human interaction. It is used to rapidly create lasting changes. It can also be taught to clients to enable them to alter their life-style, and to change unwanted or undesirable habits.

Q - What can I expect from a session?

A - Hypnosis induces an altered state of awareness, commonly known as trance. Trance is a natural state of deep relaxation and concentration. In trance the mind turns inwards, where it focuses on memory, thoughts, fantasy, plans, etc.

One client described her experience as : “when we do trance work I know I'm in control of what's happening. I'm not asleep but feel in such a very comfortable state. I feel in control even when I could be quite vulnerable. The positive changes I've made have had beneficial effects on my family and my colleagues".

You are not asleep and nothing can happen without your consent. You can hear everything being said and afterwards will usually remember all that has happened and will definitely remember all that you want to. It is not unusual for people to believe that they were not properly hypnotised because they remember "thinking" during the session, and can remember much, or all, of what happened. You will remember everything that you want to remember . If you are a bit apprehensive, and most people are at their first session, you will probably remember everything. Once you are used to being in hypnosis, you will often "miss" much of what has been said. It's like a car journey, you will remember the journey, but don't normally remember every lamppost you pass. It doesn't really matter because your unconscious mind has heard every word !

It has been found that virtually everyone can be hypnotised. Success at going into trance, however, depends on the persons willingness to be hypnotised at the time. This willingness will itself depend upon a number of factors, including the strength of the person's need and their trust and confidence in the therapist.

The actual level of trance obtained does not relate to the beneficial results that might be obtained. In practise this means that even where a person thinks they have not been hypnotised, given time, the goal of therapy may still materialise. If the right ingredients are present, if the time is right, and if the client has a therapist with whom he or she is willing to work, then all of their (realistic) goals are achievable. The matter of time is especially important in our current society, which has in many respects the belief that fulfilment of every desire should be instantaneous.

Cornucopia by Hazel Saville

Q - Can I become addicted or dependent on hypnosis ?

A - No!  Hypnosis is a natural state indicating that the mind is at its most effective work.

Q - Could I be influenced to do anything against my will ?

ANo.  Hypnosis only takes place with your full agreement. If anyone were to attempt to suggest such an action, you would be jolted out of a hypnotic state instantly by your self-defence mechanism.

- Are there any side effects ?

A - Yes! You will discover the many advantageous ways your life can be transformed by tapping into your mind's inner resources. Through hypnosis you can learn to remove your stress and tension, and can redesign your life, rather than putting up with painful or limiting experiences. There are no harmful side effects to clinical hypnosis such as there often are with medical drugs..

Q - Is hypnotherapy dangerous?

A - Hypnotherapy is one of the safest, quickest and most effective forms of treatment for the majority of psychological and emotional problems. It fosters an attitude of independence and mastery in coping with problems and can also accelerate the healing process in many physiological problems.

Many people have problems rooted in past events. We can often "bury" traumatic events away for years or decades. In some people, these memories begin to cause us more and more problems. The use of Psychotherapy under hypnosis reveals the root causes and then also helps us deal with them.

Traumatic memories are stored along with the original intense emotion. Whilst the Conscious Mind may have little or no access to these memories, the Unconscious Mind is aware of them every second of every day. During a session, it is important to allow any emotion to be dealt with there and then.

Concerns about going into trance have resulted from stage hypnosis, films and TV.

Losing control is a common fear. Research has shown that however deeply down people may go in hypnosis, and however passive they may appear to be, they actually remain in full control of the situation. They can end the session, stand up and leave the room, at any time they want.

Hypnosis always requires the cooperation of the subject. Extensive clinical research has shown that a client cannot be made to do anything in trance that he or she would not do in their normal state.

Modern hypnotherapy uses the trance state to channel the untapped resources of the unconscious mind. It has little relation to stage hypnosis. Serious therapists respect and care for their clients. They cannot force clients to act against their wishes. Suggestions are carried out because the client is willing to do them. A client can at any time end the trance state. Trance states cannot be maintained without the subject's awareness.

People can be worried that a hypnotherapist is going to control their mind or behaviour in some way. Extensive clinical research has shown that a client cannot be made to do anything in trance that he or she would not do in their normal state. Trance does not guarantee the acceptance of suggestions. Hypnosis is not a kind of magic that can be imposed on people to make them do anything. Hypnotic suggestions are only effective to the degree that they can activate, block, or alter the functioning of natural and mental mechanisms and associations that already exist within the person. Anything that is alien to the person cannot be imposed . Because it is possible to hypnotise a person, it does not guarantee that commands will be accepted. e.g. there is no way a hypnotherapist can make someone give up smoking unless they themselves want to stop.

Ericksonian hypnotherapy helps clients to feel free to respond as they want. Suggestions, not commands, are carried out, because the client is willing to do them. A client can at any time end the trance state. Hypnosis always requires the cooperation of the subject.

Other common fears are:

1) "I may talk too much and tell things I don't want people to know". People tend to think they have to talk while in a hypnotic state, but in reality very few people do talk. Even while talking in trance, one can lie or withhold things, just as easily as in conscious life.

2) "I may not wake up". A trance states cannot be maintained without the subject's awareness. Some people find it difficult to stay in a state of trance, while others will want to remain in a state of complete relaxation or to escape the frustrations of reality. One good thing about the trance state is that it will develop into a natural sleep state if the hypnotist is no longer there.

Q - Will hypnosis help me stop smoking in one session?

A – Sometimes (especially with smoking) this is all it takes. In other cases, we need to find out and/or understand what is motivating you to maintain any undesirable limiting habits.

Smoking is a dependancy, sometimes covering a deeper personal issue or symptom and that often needs to be addressed, before actually being able to let go of comfort smoking, etc once and for all. However all though the addictive effects of tobacco are very rapid in their speed , independant research has shown the power of that addiction to be very much weaker than smokers believe. The real problem is the powerful set of habits that they have built up, sometimes over years. Since habits are the province of the sub-conscious mind, then once it has been convinced by many repitions that this must be good for the smoker it needs to be convinced otherwise. This is where clinical hypnotherapy excels. Fortunately, since your survival and well being are the prime directive of the sub-conscious this is usually easy to achieve in hypnosis.

Q - What are the success rates for hypnotherapy?

A - Very Good! Nothing can be guaranteed in hypnotherapy but for example, proper medical trials carried out have shown that from a sample of 250 sufferers of IBS 70% got better with hypnosis (see our section on IBS).

National independant studies done by 'Which' magazine and 'New Scientist' magazine have quoted the success rate for hypnotherapy enabling people to stop smoking as about 60% remain stopped after after one year. This is far and away better than for any other form of treatment currently know to medical science (compares with 6% using nicotine patches/inhalers). We believe our results are better than these national figures.

The therapeutic process provides the best tools to access inner resources in a fraction of time and effort that some other therapies use. Hypnosis can strengthen natural self-resolve and assist the remarkable personal abilities people may not recognise or appreciate in themselves. It is surprising how, when encouraged to heal our lives we can tap into these inner resources as if by magic. Change can be really quick - this means that hypnotherapy has come to be seen as the best 'brief' therapy.

Q Are there any dangers ?

A – No, providing a therapist is experienced, well trained and follows professional codes of practice there will not be. Hypnosis is a well-tested and proven therapeutic aid. There is no evidence that problems solved with clinical hypnotherapy leads to new and different symptoms turning up because some underlying problems has not been addressed. In fact it is our clinical experience that clients sometimes experience positive spin offs in other areas of their lives, depending on what the therapy was for.

Q - Is a Hypnotist, a Hypnotherapist ?

A - No!  These approaches are worlds apart. A hypnotist is a stage-performer. A hypnotherapist is performing clinical therapy. 

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