The truth about hypnotherapy

Creating change on your own is challenging  and sometimes it can seem easier to stay stuck than move forward.

This is why people want to try hypnotherapy – often after they have tried everything else. There is a belief that it is a magic bullet. In some ways it is, but thinking it so is not helpful. Here are 10 facts which will help you understand it better.   

1.  It isn’t new

Hypnosis has been around for thousands of years and was accepted by the British Medical Association in 1958.

2.  What is it?

Hypnosis allows communication with your subconscious mind – that part of you which is constantly influencing your thoughts and behaviour - to help you achieve your goals, overcome bad habits and remove subconscious blocks.

It is an altered state of awareness and is something you experience naturally every day - like when you drive from A to B and don’t recall the journey, because your conscious mind has been thinking about other things. It is not sleep. It is not even relaxation, though most people feel relaxed when they are hypnotised. 

Hypnotherapy is creating this naturally occurring phenomena for therapeutic effect – that which is good for your emotional and physical well-being.

It is great for so many problems – weight-loss, stress, smoking cessation, self-esteem, anxiety, insomnia, IBS and more. Anything which stress makes worse, hypnotherapy can make better.

3.  Inconvenient truth

Although some people experience it as a ‘magic bullet’ most people experience it as a process rather than an event and the number of sessions you will need depends on the complexity of the problem and the degree to which you are reliant on the problem as a coping mechanism for other issues in your life.  It can’t force change on you – but facilitates change through you – you still have free will.

4.  It isn’t mind control

A lot of people think that hypnosis is mind control but, in truth, it can only happen with your willing co-operation. You have something called ‘the critical factor’ which is like a gatekeeper between your conscious mind and subconscious mind to protect you from anything which isn’t for your highest good. Hypnotherapy helps you achieve what you want for yourself. You can’t be forced to do anything you don’t want to do or say anything you don’t want to say – you are in control throughout.  If you want to understand the difference between hypnotherapy and stage-hypnosis, read this article

5.  How do I know if I can be hypnotised?

Almost everyone can be hypnotised. Anyone from the age of around five with at least a normal level of intelligence can be hypnotised – if you want to be. You cannot be hypnotised against your will so feeling comfortable with your hypnotherapist is very, very important.  

6.  What does it feel like?

People experience it differently, but most people simply feel as though they have their eyes shut, and are able to hear everything that goes on around them. Nothing more than that. Others feel a tremendous sense of relaxation, yet others feel tingly or numb, heavy or light. Or all of the above, or none of them. The secret is not to expect a particular experience, not to try to relax, simply allow it to happen in whichever way is right for you.

7.  How many sessions will I need?

Because everyone is different, it is difficult to predict the number of sessions needed. The number of sessions often is affected by the complexity of the problem, the strength of your defence mechanisms and your readiness for change. It is useful to consider that a problem can take years to create so takes a little time to dissolve. Some people like change to happen gradually so it feels easier to acclimatise. Others are very ready for change now and it can be really quick. 

8.  How will I know that the work is complete?

When you first get the results you want – or you’re nearly there - it can feel like the work is complete and it may be. What you need to look out for though, is that the change can be maintained even through times of challenge. We can all behave differently when things are going well. But, typically, when we are stressed, if therapy stops too soon, chances are that your subconscious mind will revert to old habits because it is overloaded with whatever else is going on. It is much better to continue working until the change becomes a default habit, or, failing that, have top-ups to put you back on track. 

9.  Can it really change your mind?

Neuroscience has proved that we can change our mind. The more we repeat an action, the stronger it gets. So to change a habit, including an emotional response, it is important to create a new habit to replace it. The more these are repeated, the more your mind will change and the old habit will be weaker than the new habit. Hypnotherapy speeds up this process for you.

10. How do I find a good hypnotherapist?

A good hypnotherapist will help you regain control of your life. Because you will be working in partnership with your therapist, it is important to find the right person for you. This will be a mixture of chemistry, empathy, experience, and skill.  It is important to find one who has a good understanding of psychology too. For more information on how to do this, read this article Then, you can check out Hypnotherapy Directory to see who is the best one for you.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Hypnotherapy Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

Share this article with a friend
Byfleet Village KT14 & London W1G
Written by Tricia Woolfrey, MNLP, DHP, FCIPD, DHNP, SGHR
Byfleet Village KT14 & London W1G

Tricia Woolfrey is an advanced clinical hypnotherapist, master practitioner of neuro-linguistic programming and nutritionist. She specialises in stress, anger, weight, IBS and fatigue. She has practices in Byfleet Village, Surrey and Harley Street, London. She is a published author, trainer and speaker.


Find the right hypnotherapist for you

All therapists are verified professionals

All therapists are verified professionals