Posted 11th November 2013 by Marcia Tillman
The Myths of Hypnotherapy
These are the types of questions I get asked by new clients and it is often the reason that prevents people from seeking help with a hypnotherapist. These myths (they are not true by the way :) ) are often the result of media sensationalism. To promote hypnosis in this way makes good tv watching, even childrens’ cartoons portray hypnosis as a way to control others in a ‘zombie’ type state (often with spinning eyes!). It can put people off coming for help, which is a such a shame because hypnotherapy is really effective at helping so many issues – and it feels great! I particularly like helping people overcome anxiety and stress, which is really at the root of many issues anyway. So let me explain a bit about hypnosis as I understand it and how it can help you.
Our brain has 2 main parts to it – the left side (the conscious mind) and the right side (the subconscious mind). The left brain/conscious mind is the rational, logical, critical part of us, that is also our decision making part, and the right side (subconscious mind) is literal and is the part of our imagination, creativity, emotions and memories, this part also deals with all our automatic functions including our heart rate, breathing and immune system. It is thought that the conscious mind makes up 10% of our mind and the subconscious 90%. It may not be surprising then to learn that if there is a conflict between our conscious and subconscious mind then the subconscious always wins – emotions pretty much always win over logic! This is why we can get frustrated because we often can’t ‘think’ ourselves out of a problem. I.e. if we say to ourselves ‘this is stupid I don’t need to be anxious in this situation’ this doesn’t often reduce the anxiety (and sometimes makes it worse!).
It is believed that the most effective way to create real change is to bypass what is called the ‘critical factor’ part of our mind, and this is the essence of how hypnosis works. The critical factor is like the ‘gatekeeper’ between the conscious and subconscious mind. This bypass can often happen naturally (when we naturally enter the state of mind that is hypnosis) for example when watching tv (advertisers are very clever, ever fancied eating chocolate after watching an advert?) , when we are emotional, daydreaming, driving a familiar route, just before we go to sleep and as we are waking up.
A hypnotherapist will help you to bypass your critical factor so that your subconscious mind is open to the changes you want (you will not accept any suggestions that go against your own morals or beliefs – another myth ;) ). This is what makes hypnotherapy so effective, it is a route to your subconscious mind where any change you would like to make needs to be made. Research has shown that during hypnosis our brainwaves change from our normal alert awake beta state to alpha (relaxed, creative state), theta (deeper relaxed state the most common state for hypnosis and meditation) and delta (more associated with sleep, a state that allows our body to heal).
During a hypnotherapy session your hypnotherapist is likely to initially talk to you about your issues, when they started, and how you would like them to change. They may also ask you about your life in general in order to get a better idea of who you are and the best ways to work with you. They will also need to know about your medical history as there are some conditions like epilepsy where hypnotherapy may not be advisable. During the hypnotherapy part of the session you will most likely be asked to make yourself comfortable and close your eyes. Breathing techniques may be used along with relaxation of your body and visualisation, or counting to relax your mind. You are likely to feel progressively more relaxed (although not everyone experiences relaxation with hypnosis – it is not essential), fingers may tingle, your body may feel light or heavy, you may feel quite day dreamy. There is really no right or wrong for how you might feel, entering the state of mind of hypnosis is actually very easy (as I mentioned it is a natural state that we enter several times a day) all you need to do is follow instructions. Your hypnotherapist will be looking out for signs that you have entered the correct state of mind and when you have will give your subconscious mind instructions to make the changes you wish to make.
Hypnotherapy really is a powerful tool to help you achieve peace of mind, feel calmer, sleep better and be and feel healthier.
Smoking, Slimming, Anxiety, Confidence, Stress, Fears, Phobias, Fertility, Pregnancy Issues, Habits, Insomnia, Obsessions, Negative Thoughts, Grief, Guilt, Anger, Trauma, Eating Disorders, OCD, Embarrassment, IBS, Low Self Esteem, Sports Performance, Pain Management, Jealousy and so much more.
In case you are still wondering about the questions at the beginning – I will answer them for you now :)
Will you make me cluck like a chicken? No, not unless it is your wish to do so, I can’t make you do anything you don’t want to do.
Am I out of control? No you are still in control during hypnosis, you still have awareness and you can bring yourself out if you choose to (you are unlikely to want to though as it feels good :) )
Will I tell you my secrets? No – you are still aware and will not tell me your secrets unless you are choosing to, you can even lie if you wish to.
Can I get stuck in hypnosis? No – if you were left in hypnosis you would either bring yourself out of it or drift into a natural sleep and wake up naturally.
I hope you have enjoyed my blog and hope I have helped to dispel some of the myths about hypnosis :)
Marcia Tillman is a Hypnotherapist and Counsellor working from Abbey Place Clinic in Faversham, Kent. She sees clients from across Kent , Canterbury is just 7 miles away, and she often sees clients from further afield too. Abbey Place Clinic is perfect placed close to the town centre, public transport and local car parks. Only 1 hours train journey from London.
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