Does hypnotherapy work?
It’s a good question isn’t it? One that you should probably ask if you plan to invest in some sessions with a hypnotherapist. Of course, as a hypnotherapist I am going to respond with yes – hypnotherapy absolutely does work! However, I am mindful of giving the false impression that I hold a magic wand. I really wish I did! Firstly, let’s consider what hypnosis is.
What is hypnosis?
Hypnosis can take the user into an altered, but normal state of mind. Hypnosis, often incorrectly synonymous with relaxation, is not relaxation, rather it is a heightened state of mind in which one feels alert and focused. Due to the nature of a hypnotherapy session many people will feel relaxed. There are also many people that will be in a hypnotic state when they relax however, the two are not the same.
A hypnotic state of mind is the same as a meditative state of mind. This state of mind is one which we can all find through regular practise. Regular practise of meditation and hypnosis is considered brain training. When you enter a state of hypnosis you may experience different sensations, for example some people say they feel like they are spinning. Others feel a temperature change and your awareness of time may change.
What is therapy?
Therapy is a process that involves coming together with another person to move from one point in your life to another. Some people see a therapist to resolve problems other people do not have a problem but seek the support of a therapist to propel themselves forward. The spectrum of therapies available is wide and problems may be physical, emotional, or psychological. In most circumstances you will benefit from a holistic approach that combines therapies.
How is hypnosis used therapeutically?
There is no statutory regulation for hypnotherapy in the UK, so alongside other therapies such as psychotherapy, counselling, massage, nutrition and more I recommend you explore the experience and training of your therapist. Most hypnotherapists have completed a thorough practitioner training that teaches hypnosis and various aspects of therapy. If the hypnotherapist subscribes to an association there is likely to be a requirement to complete continual professional development.
Hypnotherapists can find courses that further their hypnosis skills and their therapeutic knowledge. As a result, you will find that every hypnotherapist works in a different way. Most hypnotherapy training covers suggestion, basic NLP, and basic CBT alongside the neuroscience of the autonomic nervous system. The hypnotherapist will use hypnosis to enhance the effect of the therapeutic modality they subscribe to.
Below is a small list with brief descriptions of some therapeutic modalities that your hypnotherapist might have further experience in.
Adlerian therapy / behavioural therapy / psychoanalysis (or Freudian therapy) / psychotherapy
Therapists believe that the way you behave and react today is based on your experiences in early life. Your therapist will help you to understand why you behave in the way you do so you can find ways to act more beneficially.
Brief therapy / solution focused therapy
A short-term process that involves looking forward, finding solutions, and making positive changes rather than focusing on the past. With your therapist you might make goals and find ways to achieve them.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
The focus is to change the way you think (cognitive) and the way you react (behaviour). CBT focuses on the present problems and solutions rather than the past with the aim of adapting the way you think, so you move away from negative thinking to positive.
Gestalt therapy / humanistic therapy / integrative counselling
Gestalt therapists look at the individual holistically rather than separating you into parts. Gestalt therapists help you to focus on the now and your current thoughts, feelings, and behaviour to improve the way you relate to others and to situations.
An analytical approach that intends to align the conscious and unconscious to help you become more balanced and whole.
Neuro linguistic programming (NLP)
A combination of cognitive behavioural and humanistic therapies often used alongside hypnotherapy. NLP therapists also believe that previous experiences programme your view of the world. The belief is that by grasping an understanding of yourself you can take control of your actions. You will use your previous successes or the successes of others to develop further.
Transpersonal therapy considers spirituality, human potential, and heightened consciousness within the therapy, regardless of the modality.
Does hypnotherapy work?
There are many other therapeutic modalities out there. Your hypnotherapist will combine one or some of these with hypnosis to help you achieve the changes you desire. When searching for a hypnotherapist ensure that their specialism fits what you seek.
When you find the right match for you, hypnosis will enhance the therapy. Hypnotherapy is a highly effective way to bring positive changes into your life providing your hypnotherapist works in a way that fits you.