Why should I choose hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is a type of therapy that can feel like a pretty big enigma.
Many of us will have a preconceived idea of what actually is hypnotherapy and how hypnotherapists behave. Commonly, these preconceptions come from TV or media, often, stage hypnotherapy – think pendulums and trances, even people clucking like chickens. Often, we don’t understand clinical hypnotherapy ourselves, so we stay in the dark, unaware of the variety of benefits, and conditions it can help with.
I recently explored hypnotherapy for a severe phobia of balloons, with a wonderful hypnotherapist who guided me through a course of six sessions. In said sessions, she tuned into my subconscious, working on changing my behaviour patterns, in the face of a balloon.
My phobia may seem odd to many, but for me it was very real. It’s just one example of how hypnotherapy, when used in a professional capacity, can be used as a legitimate option as alternative therapy.
Kat Nicholls, a Senior Writer for Hypnotherapy Directory, explains: “The beauty of the therapy world is that there are so many different options: from traditional talking therapies and life coaching to complementary therapies and hypnotherapy.”
So what is hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is about the power of suggestion. It’s a form of talking therapy that can be used to access someone’s deep subconscious mind, to make healthy suggestions to help change or modify behaviour. The practise will see you entering a deep relaxation state – you are still aware and in control of your body at all times – whilst the hypnotherapist then talks you through scenarios that help you manage said conditions, or change unhealthy behaviours.
In this ‘hypnotic state’ you are more open to suggestion and therefore more susceptible to changing your behaviour.
Hypnotherapist Lorraine McReight, explains: “In hypnosis, a person will be more open to suggestion and therefore be able to change patterns of behaviour that are unhelpful, but no one can make you do anything you don’t want to do.”
You can learn more about how hypnotherapy works in Happiful’s ‘Complete Guide to Hypnotherapy.’
There are a variety of hypnotherapy techniques that your practitioner can tap into, it all depends on what you need help with and what toolkit your therapist has. For example, Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can be very effective if you have goals you want to achieve, but have been unable to set reasonable steps to achieve these. It focuses on the solution, or the goal. You may benefit from this form of hypnotherapy if you struggle with anxiety, or conditions that have been fuelled by anxiety such as OCD, IBS or panic disorder.
Hypnotherapy isn’t recommended for individuals with mental health conditions such as psychosis or certain personality disorders. We’d always recommend discussing therapy options with a GP before making a change to treatment.
Hypnotherapy is also known to be particularly effective for breaking unhealthy habits, most commonly smoking and body focused repetitive behaviours – such as skin picking or hair pulling. It is common that the unhealthy habit is a response to a uncomfortable situation, so a therapist’s job is to replace those habits with healthy coping strategies.
“My nail biting habit began when I was completing a level four polytechnic course for work. The habit worsened when I did level five, to the point where I was also picking the skin around the nail if there was no nail left to chew! Everywhere I went I constantly chewed and picked with embarrassment also.”
Tina struggled with a nail biting habit when she started studying. In her story, she details how hypnotherapy helped curb this habit.
The benefits of hypnotherapy
The beauty of hypnotherapy is that really, the power is in your hands. It’s about heading to your sessions with an open mind and a want to tune in to what your therapist is saying. Think of this as your time, just for you.
Someone once told me, ‘therapy is like showing up for yourself’, and it really is. I was showing up for the eight-year-old little girl, terrified to go to her best friend’s birthday party, in case there was a balloon.
Hypnotherapy can bring about change through a positive – and relaxing – experience. Some of the benefits include:
- Focus on the here and now. This therapy is intrinsically linked to the present tense. What is working, or not working, in our lives that we want to change for the better.
- Find deep relaxation. A key element to the practise of hypnotherapy is being able to enter a deep state of relaxation or a ‘hypnotic trance’. Regular practise of this can help you live a more balanced, less-stressful life.
- Achieve success. Goal setting is a key area of focus in some hypnotherapy practises.
- Increase motivation. Through defining a clear pathway to your goals, and introducing healthy behaviour patterns, hypnotherapy can aid motivation.
- Reduce pain. Hypnobirthing has been heralded by many as a ‘miracle’ offering women a chance to have some control of their birthing experience. Not only can hypnotherapy help with childbirth, it can help reduce symptoms of chronic pain and support how someone struggling with chronic pain sees that pain.
Hypnotherapy can be a viable option if you are looking for an alternative to traditional talking therapies. Although it isn’t appropriate for everyone, it is certainly worth considering.