Hypnotherapy / Hypnosis – what is it, and how does it work?

hypnotherapyAre you aware we go in and out of hypnosis all the time, like when you drive somewhere and are so distracted that you aren’t even aware of the journey, or perhaps engaged in reading a book, or watching a film, only to return to awareness suddenly, to realise you have missed parts of the story.

Hypnosis is therefore a very natural state for most of us, and one that we probably wouldn’t identify as hypnosis.

Many people are anxious or nervous about treatment, as they have seen the antics of stage hypnotic shows, where the Therapist takes control of the person and embeds commands. However, clinical hypnosis is a very natural state, and utilises the art of deep relaxation where the brainwaves can move from about 40 cycles per second, when we are busy and actively thinking, down to as low as 4 cycles per second when we are in a deep hypnotic state. Brain waves can vary but move from Beta, very active down to theta, very relaxed. At night your brain will be in a constant flow, moving up and down through all the cycles.

All this means is that the calmer you are the slower the brain waves operate, therefore the more relaxed state your mind is in. In this relaxed state you become receptive to being creative and changing patterns of behaviour, you are not confined to your limited thoughts of I can’t do this, or I am afraid to try that!

When we are dreaming the major muscles in the body become paralysed to stop us acting out our dreams. Dreams seem real at the time and will even create a response in the body such as heart fluttering, or pulse racing. Therefore when we work with hypnosis in creating a different experience to change habits, or emotional responses to people or situations, then the brain automatically thinks that you have experienced the new response before, thus associating a more positive feeling to the experience.

There is a state mostly related to dreaming, commonly known as REM (Rapid Eye Movement) state, this is the optimal state for ‘instinctive programming’. This process is very natural and starts in the foetus during the last trimester of gestation. So when we are born certain instinctive templates are already up and running, therefore do not have to be learnt. These include a natural fear of heights, and the ability to match mothers facial expressions, enabling mother and baby to bond. These continue to develop through the early stages of infancy, during sleep time enabling a vast amount of instinctive knowledge to be embedded for survival.

These templates are often referred to as basic needs or human gives and comprise of 6. These needs drive our behaviours, as they must instinctively be met in order to guarantee our survival. These include

  • The need to give and receive
  • The need to have a sense of control ( a healthy sense of control, means you can let go of things outside of your control)
  • The need for goals and aims
  • The need to be part of something greater than yourself
  • The mind and body connection – good enough sleep, nutrition, exercise
  • The need to be part of something greater than oneself

If these needs are not met in a healthy way we will get them met in whatever way we can. (Refer to habits and additions to understand better how these get imbedded).

The most important thing to remember is, you the client will always be in control, you have the choice to relax or stay alert. The suggestions that are made will only be affective if you want them to be. Sometimes clients are resistance as there is a need to have control over the therapy session, and the Therapist will work with you to gain trust and build rapport, this enables the process to be affective. A first taster session maybe offered, this will allow you to trial the feeling of relaxation and hypnosis before undertaking a treatment plan of deeper work.

Talking therapies are fantastic for changing the way you think about things, hypnosis works to change the way you FEEL about things, which in turn, allows the thoughts to be different, as the experience is.