We’ve all seen the TV shows where a creepy looking guy (possibly wearing a purple velvet jacket) clicks his fingers and swings a pocket watch. It’s enough to frighten anyone, let alone the anxious amongst us. But hypnotherapy has come a long way and while it’s often associated with giving up smoking, it’s fast being seen as an effective way to manage anxiety.
Whenever I introduce myself and tell people that I’m a hypnotherapist, they’re either instantly intrigued (and begging me to hypnotise them) or they seem a bit terrified and look away, afraid that I’ll try to control their minds by staring into their eyes.
But rather boringly, hypnotherapy has nothing to do with mind control, magic or finger clicking. It’s simply a process which helps the subconscious mind (that’s basically where all of your automatic thoughts and feelings come from) to be more open to ideas and suggestions which are designed to help you.
During a hypnotherapy session, you get into a very relaxed state, which can feel a bit like a daydream. It doesn’t require any effort and even those who find it hard to switch off or do things like meditate find it easy to experience hypnosis. Your mind can drift in and out. It’s as if you allow your conscious, critical mind to wander off, while your subconscious mind listens in and absorbs helpful ideas. Examples might be about letting go of worries or feeling more confident and capable of handling whatever life throws your way.
Hypnotherapy is also used to help you to let go of things that might have happened in the past, helping you to change your perspective on it, or recognise that it wasn’t your fault.
It’s also often used to help you to think more positively about the future. Got a daunting presentation coming up? In hypnotherapy, we might work to help you to imagine yourself handling the presentation well, feeling more comfortable, speaking clearly and making eye contact. It’s a way of mentally rehearsing situations while you’re nice and relaxed, so that you feel more confident and able when the actual presentation comes along.
Sometimes people wonder what the difference between hypnotherapy and mindfulness are. Mindfulness is training your mind to be in the present moment and it’s often done using mindfulness meditation. This requires concentrating on the feeling of your breathing. During hypnotherapy, I guide people into a deep, almost meditative state using my words, then make suggestions to their subconscious mind. So, they’re totally different things, with different results.
You don’t feel like a different person overnight with hypnotherapy, the change is usually gradual and it tends to be quite fast, most clients get progress in 3-6 sessions.
You can get a FREE hypnotherapy MP3 for relaxation when you enter your details at www.calmer-you.com/free. I offer 121 sessions in London. I also wrote a book The Anxiety Solution a practical guide to managing anxiety.