Being a hypnotherapist
Whenever people ask me what I do for a living, my answer that I am a hypnotherapist is received generally with a mix of suspicion and curiosity.
The reference to hypnosis tends to raise a few common questions – and in some cases a raised eyebrow and discrete change of subject. Often, I am presented with a mix of questions asked in trepidation, such as ‘can you guess what I’m thinking’. Ironically and at that time, I probably could.
Hypnotherapy - myths and misconceptions
The questions raised are usually related to a lack of knowledge of what really happens in hypnotherapy. Also, many will hark back to films, tales and stage show's that used hypnosis as a prop. Hypnosis is still instinctively associated with themes of magic, deception and spectacle.
If films and stage shows helped keep hypnosis a component of our common consciousness through history, this came with a cost. On stage, hypnosis is meant to wow an audience through tricks, astonishment and deception; volunteers can be undisclosed accomplices or selected through a simple exercise where the ones most eager to conform with the hypnotist, can enjoy their moment of centre stage.
This is not what I (and I speak for my fellow hypnotherapists) practice with hypnotherapy.
But there is an added uneasiness concerning hypnotherapy; the implied association with psychotherapy - and this is a matter of the mind.
Although attitudes towards mental health are changing, with much support from well-meaning charities, the State and other institutions, this is still a source of discomfort for many people. Admitting to treatment through psychotherapy is still often a delicate subject and website reviews of psychotherapists are indeed rare – or only if the client can post anonymously!
Hypnotherapy - the truth
The concept of hypnosis and that of psychotherapy are both combined in hypnotherapy. Demystifying both is a tough task! Hypnosis can, however, be a very reliable and effective technique in managing one’s feelings, behaviours and thoughts. Hypnotherapy has been employed widely, including in Britain, to help people stop smoking successfully.
Despite the undoubted success of hypnotherapy in tackling an addiction/habit of smoking, more resistance appears in accepting hypnotherapy as the primary treatment for many other issues, and as a recognised technique in psychotherapy.
Choosing the right hypnotherapist
The lack of professional regulation is certainly a legitimate concern. As no licence to practice is required, there can be a wide range in the training and skillsets offered by different practitioners, which is regrettable. Therefore and for the time being, before engaging a hypnotherapist, it is important to verify and confirm in person the therapist’s credentials and affiliations to governing bodies.
If the hypnotherapist is competent and carefully chosen, the benefits of their therapy can be extremely rewarding, achieved quickly and long-lasting.
Areas where hypnotherapy can help
- Increasing self-esteem, self-confidence and motivation.
- In gaining control of habits, not just smoking but also nail-biting, over-eating, excess drinking, nervous tics and such like.
- Learn how to better manage emotions such as stress, anxiety (generalised or short-term), panic attacks, emotional trauma, phobias, bereavement, divorce and other relationship issues; disturbed sleeping patterns can also improve with hypnotherapy.
- In coaching, for improved performance at work, home and family, organisation skills, in sports, exams, arts and other areas.
- The provision of relief in anaesthesia or analgesia during medical or dental treatments, chronic pain, skin burns or eczema, and as the preparation for or recovery from chirurgical or physical trauma.
- In children and adolescents (a particularly malleable demographic), hypnotherapy can also help in dealing with enuresis and encopresis, separation anxiety, problematic behaviour, bullying, preparing and performing in exams or sports, self-confidence, concentration and many other issues.
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