Can hypnotherapy work over Zoom?
During this pandemic, we have seen people across the world making changes to their life and business; finding new ways to trade to stay afloat, and new ways to get the help they need. The same can be said for hypnotherapy. While traditionally, this may have been a service that was conducted face-to-face with clients, many have now turned to online services, such as Zoom, to conduct their sessions. And actually, you may be surprised to learn, some were offering hypnotherapy remotely long before COVID-19 even struck. But can it actually work online?
For many of us, when we think of hypnosis, we draw from what we have seen in the media, or from what we have been told. And so when we see the likes of Paul McKenna and Derren Brown, they often do use physical contact with their audiences to put them to ‘sleep’. So is this actually necessary to reach that hypnotic state, or is it just for show?
Well, when hypnosis is being done for entertainment, the hypnotist needs to get almost immediate results. They draw from people that are most susceptible to suggestion and then they do what is known as a ‘rapid induction’ to induce a hypnotic state in their client.
A hypnotherapist is not a TV hypnotist
In contrast, rapid inductions are not commonly used by hypnotherapists. Remember, they have got to build your trust and rapport to achieve the results you are looking for. And using methods that are associated with TV entertainment would probably put you on your guard; wary of what they may do next.
Instead, when hypnosis is used for therapeutic reasons or for pain management, the hypnotherapist will tend to opt for a technique that is known as ‘progressive muscle relaxation’ or PMR. They work with the client to gradually release the stresses and concerns that they are holding in their mind and body, allowing them to drift off into a hypnotic state. This is a pleasant experience, and many clients like to get recordings so that they can listen again at home, as they find it helps to de-stress and relax them.
For this type of induction, the client would find a comfortable position to sit in, and then the hypnotherapist would use their words to move them to a state of hypnosis. There is no physical contact needed to achieve this result.
Hypnotherapists do not want their clients to fall asleep. Yes, they want you to be relaxed… but if you actually fall asleep, your brain is unlikely to process any suggestions that they are trying to nurture.
That being said, when you do visit a hypnotherapist in person, they have more control over the environment around you to ensure a successful session is conducted. Therefore, to achieve the results you are looking for, you should look to replicate these conditions, where possible. So let’s have a look at how you can set yourself up for success.
Preparing for an online hypnotherapy session
First, it is important to find yourself a nice quiet space that you can sit in. While hypnotherapy doesn’t need to be carried out in complete silence, noises can act as a distraction that can prevent you from fully relaxing. This isn’t always the case, as in person, the hypnotherapist may draw upon any noises present at the time of the session, into the PMR, inducing a deeper relaxed state. But bear in mind, they won’t be with you on a remote session, and so may not hear the same noises that you can hear. This means they would be unable to incorporate these sounds within the session.
It is also fair to say, while we all have different levels of susceptibility to hypnosis, the more you have been hypnotised, the easier and quicker you will fall into a hypnotic state, making you less disturbed by any external noises. So if you are new to hypnotherapy, it is best to start off by finding a nice quiet space to go to.
Many people also believe it is best to lie down for hypnosis. I think this comes from our associations of therapy where clients would lie on the couch, or maybe from the connection of the word ‘sleep’ that again, we see heavily used in the media. But the truth is, hypnotherapists do not want their clients to fall asleep. Yes, they want you to be relaxed so that you are freed from your conscious thoughts, but if you actually fall asleep, your brain is unlikely to process any suggestions that they are trying to nurture.
This means that the best position you can be in for a hypnotherapy session is sitting upright. It is important to feel comfortable, because again if you’re not, it would prove to be an unwanted distraction causing you to fidget and move. Spend a minute thinking about your posture. If you have your legs crossed, while this may be comfortable now, it may cause your leg to go numb in time, so it is best to sit with both feet on the floor and your hands resting lightly on your lap.
And whatever device you are using, look at how this can be positioned away from you so that you are not left holding it up in front of your face. Is there a table that you can place it on, or can you get a stand? Having to hold a phone in front of your face or balance a laptop on your lap will not bring you comfort or help you to relax. And ideally, this should be positioned so that the hypnotherapist can see you clearly, so that they can observe how you are responding to the suggestions and make adaptations to their approach as needed.
Obviously, doing the session online does require you to have a stable Internet connection. And while we cannot guarantee this, as I’m sure we have all, at times, had our connection suddenly drop out, if this happens to you regularly, it is probably best to wait until you can see someone in person.
If you are new to hypnotherapy, it is best to start off by finding a nice quiet space to go to.
It is also important that you have clear audio so that you can hear the hypnotherapist and they can also hear you. It might be worth checking this in advance by doing a trial-call with a friend. Are the speakers and microphone on the device you are using good enough or would a headset work better?
While this may seem like a lot of effort to go through, it is not much different from what you would do for any online call. Just some basic considerations to set you up for success.
And in doing so, just think about the possibilities! You are no longer restricted to a hypnotherapist that is within commutable distance. Now, instead, the whole world is at your disposal.
If English is your second language and you would prefer someone who speaks your native tongue, that can now be arranged. If you connect with a particular person that doesn’t work close by and yet you have established a good rapport with, it’s no longer a problem. Or even, if you are looking for hypnotherapy to overcome your anxiety of coming out of lockdown restrictions, you can now do that from the comfort of your own home.
To answer the question, does hypnotherapy really work over Zoom? Yes, very successfully in fact. So, are you ready to take the next step?
Want to know more? Read our fact-sheet on online hypnotherapy.
You can also read Melanie’s other articles: