How does hypnosis work?
During the day, we naturally drift in cycles between what are known as Beta and Alpha brain wave states. Beta is the alert and cognitive state, and Alpha is the awake but relaxed and daydreaming state, considered to be a light hypnotic state. There’s also Theta, which is the light sleep, dreaming and deeper hypnotic state, and Delta, the deep sleep and deep hypnotic state. In the Alpha, Theta and Delta states, the mind temporarily suspends the process of critiquing every message we receive.
This means that the process of criticising, analysing and judging is temporarily suspended to varying degrees. In this state, the mind is more open and receptive to suggestion than in the normal Beta state (the state we consider alert and awake ). It allows a window of opportunity to enter the inner, subconscious mind.
Hypnosis can be described as the vehicle we use to bypass the critical and analytical faculties of the conscious mind and communicate with the subconscious mind. And it’s the subconscious mind that calls most of the shots, heavily influencing our behaviours and creating our habits. It’s very powerful and utilises up to 90% of our mind’s power.
What is a Clinical Hypnotherapist?
A Clinical Hypnotherapist is a specialist in hypnosis, who uses the healing state of hypnosis to work with problems or conditions that a client wishes to change.
What happens during hypnosis?
A Clinical Hypnotherapist uses hypnosis to enable the client to achieve a state of mental, physical and emotional relaxation.
When in hypnosis, the conscious mind (that busy, critical, analytical part of the mind) takes a rest. Hypnosis allows people to tap into the storehouse of information that lies in the subconscious (sometimes referred to as the unconscious) mind and make positive changes to thought patterns, habits or the effects of traumatic incidents that are having a negative impact either mentally or physically.
Can I be hypnotised?
Yes, some more easily than others. Like anything else in life, the more people practice self-hypnosis, the more easily they can slip into that wonderful, relaxed state. The depth that people reach in hypnosis varies between individuals. It is not necessary to achieve a very deep level of hypnosis to bring about change to habits or conditions that are having a negative impact either mentally or physically.
A common myth about hypnotisability is when a person says, “No one could hypnotise me, and I’m too strong minded”. All hypnosis is self-hypnosis. A person goes into hypnosis because they choose to. So strong-minded individuals are really good candidates for hypnosis provided they are committed to wanting it to work for them.
Could I be asked to do anything against my will?
This is one of the common misunderstandings associated with hypnosis. This is probably tied in with another misconception that the hypnotherapist has control over the client. This is not the case. People will not do or say anything under hypnosis that they would not do when not in hypnosis. Thanks to TV shows and stage hypnotists, there is a common misconception that you can be hypnotised against your will. It is not true. All hypnosis is self-hypnosis.
Research conducted at the University of NSW by Dr Amanda Barnier and reported in The Sydney Morning Herald on 2 February 1998, states that “Hypnotised people do not act like robots, nor are they powerless pawns of post-hypnotic suggestions plan"
How many sessions will I need?
The biggest variable in speed and magnitude of outcomes is you, the client. Everyone is different and so, in many cases, one or two sessions solve problems to your desired outcome. In more complex conditions including trauma and anxiety, and for some people four or six sessions may be required. You, the client, are in control of your treatment duration at all times. I will assess your situation and give you a realistic appraisal of the number of sessions you may need.
Is hypnotherapy safe?
Hypnosis is a normal, naturally occurring, healthy state of mind. It is totally drug-free. There has never been a single documented case of harm resulting from the use of hypnosis.
Leslie Le Crone, psychologist and authority on hypnosis, states: “As to self-induction, many thousands have learned it and I have yet to hear a report of any bad results of its use”.
In his book Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, Dr William S Kroger states: “An associate of Pavlov, who used hypnosis for over fifty years in over fifty-thousand cases, reports as follows: ‘We have never observed any harmful influences on the patient which could be ascribed to the method of hypno-suggestion therapy, or any tendency toward the development of unstable personality, weakening of the will, or pathological urge for hypnosis'”.
Dr David Cheek, MD, who has vast experience in the field, writes, “We can do more harm with ignorance of hypnotism than we can ever do by intelligently using hypnosis and suggestion constructively”.
Dr Julius Grinker states, “The so-called dangers from hypnosis are imaginary. Although I have hypnotised many hundreds of patients, I have never seen any ill effects from its use”.
Psychologist, Rafael Rhodes, in his book Therapy Through Hypnosis, writes: “Hypnotism is absolutely safe. There is no known case on record of harmful results from its therapeutic use”.
Dr Louie P Thorpe, Professor Emeritus, University of Southern California, in his book The Psychology of Mental Health, writes: “Hypnotism is a natural phenomenon, and there are no known deleterious effects from its use”.
Clinical hypnotherapist, Gil Boyne, states: “In almost forty years of practice and more than 40,000 hours of hypnotherapy, I have never seen or heard of any harm resulting from hypnosis”.