What hypnotherapy isn’t
Many prospective clients and friends refer to hypnotherapy as “it”, almost as if hypnosis is something completely outside of normal human behaviour.
Perhaps it is based on what they have seen on television or stage – they believe that hypnosis is a form of mind control and are scared to consider hypnotherapy. Or at the other end of the scale they somehow think that visiting a hypnotherapist will magic their problems away - “the hypnotic silver bullet effect”.
Whilst it is true that sometimes there are huge breakthroughs with hypnotherapy – all the magic comes from the power of your own mind. All hypnosis is self-hypnosis. There is no mind control and no silver bullet!
Hypnosis isn’t really an “it”. In simplistic terms the mind works by learning consciously and processing thoughts where they then programme the subconscious. It's amazing, but most people really don’t think of their own mind in this way. They don’t question how a human being learns unusual skills like juggling or riding a bike and then can do it without thinking about it.
As your subconscious assimilates everything that is fed into it a bit like a robot, you should try to feed this robot the right data. Thinking positively consciously will help you to think positively subconsciously as well. Be careful what you keep telling yourself because eventually it may become part of your belief system – you in effect “hypnotise yourself” continuously.
So what is hypnosis with a hypnotherapist?
“It” isn’t very much more that a tweaking of your normal thought processes. The only thing that makes “it” an “it” is the special interaction between the hypnotherapist and the client. In this interaction the client willingly gives some of the responsibility normally taken by their own conscious mind and gives this responsibility in part to the hypnotherapist. The client remains conscious and will normally remember the session as if it were a daydream. You will never do anything or think anything that you don't want really want to - you are being guided or navigated - not being driven.
Many people see hypnosis as completely alien and weird because they do not identify what happens in hypnosis with their own thought processes.
In hypnotherapy it is possible to think very differently about your issues whilst being guided by a skilful hypnotherapist, but it is mainly a change of perspective - not really something alien.
So why do people need hypnotherapists?
Sometimes your conscious mind chatter, your own self-image or a disproportionate emotional response does not allow you to confront your issues from a helpful perspective. Sometimes your behaviour has just become a deeply ingrained habit. After time the neural pathways are so well trodden that your behaviour – like riding a bike has almost become hardwired. This is true for virtually everything that you might visit a hypnotherapist for. Like being in a hamster wheel that you can’t get out of – you keep repeating the same behaviour whether it is trying to stop smoking, reduce eating, reduce your OCD, overcome your phobia, sleep better etc. (there are plenty of lists of issues for you to choose from on this site - the same pretty much applies).
The additional help and guidance of someone who doesn’t know your self-limiting beliefs can be enough to create huge lasting change. You know the outcome of all the scripts in your head. Let a hypnotherapist help you to write a different ending and outcome - let them help you visualise a different way of doing things.
Hypnotherapists encounter people all the time that achieve life changes from a simple change of perspective. In this respect it can be a bit like a silver bullet but have no illusion – it is the client that has to make the changes and the effort going forward. Clients that are prepared to accept this can achieve huge change with that bit of skilful help.