On this page I answer some of the FAQs about hypnosis and neurolinguistic programming (NLP).
What is Hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is the therapeutic use of hypnosis. Today hypnotherapy is a widely accepted adjunct to conventional treatment for a range of problems both physical and mental.
What is Hypnosis?
Hypnosis is simply a communication process that involves the use of language to direct and absorb attention, lead cognition and seed ideas, for the purpose of enabling someone to utilise their personal resources so they experience a temporary, or permanent, altered subjective reality.
It’s a process. It’s something we do, that we actively engage in, rather than being something that is done to us. It’s a process you choose and are motivated and willing to engage in. If you don’t want to experience hypnosis you wont. It’s as simple as that.
It’s a communication process. The hypnotist communicates with the hypnotee through words and body language. Since ancient times, there have always been people who have been aware of the effects of their words and ideas upon others. Some have realised that they can take this awareness and systematically apply it, to change the way people think, feel and behave. Not all of them have called themselves hypnotists. They may have been called leaders, healers, mystics or shamans, advertisers. Nowadays they might be called a politician, salesperson, thought leader, manager, therapist, coach or magician.
Direct and absorb attention – most researchers agree that hypnosis requires the subject to engage in intense focus or concentration on one or more specific ideas. This is also called selective attention or everyday trance – we select a single idea or thing on which to focus our conscious attention on. This focused attention leads to a heightened state of awareness of the idea, or thing being focused upon and, everyting we’re not focusing on drops out of our conscious awareness. Selective attention is our natural learning state. In order to learn anything, we must focus our attention on it.
Lead cognition and seed ideas. Hypnosis has been called the art and science of suggestion. During the hypnosis session the hypnotist delivers goal directed suggestions that faciliate achievement of teh outcome the hypnotee is seeking. In addition to suggestions, the hypnotist may use imagery, metaphor and stories.
Enabling someone to utilise their personal resources. We all have a set of innate resources that we can draw on in order to help us to create the changes we want to make. These resources include our beliefs, our values, and our imagination.
Eperience a temporary, or permanent, altered subjective reality. An example of a temporary change in subjective reality would be where it’s suggested to a person that their hand is stuck to the table and that becomes their reality until the hypnotist tells the person their hand is no longer stuck, at which point the person’s reality returns to normal. Helping someone to permanently alleviate or eliminate the symptoms of IBS is an example of a permanently altering someone’s subjective reality.
How can I best prepare for my session?
The best way to prepare is to adopt a hypnotic mindset. A ‘hypnotic mind-set’ simply means that you:
have an intent to experience hypnosis
are motivated to experience hypnosis
are confident in your ability to respond to the suggestions you receive
are optimistic about the outcome of hypnosis
expect to automatically experience the responses and changes being suggested or imagined.
What if I can’t be hypnotised?
If you adopt the hypnotic mindset you can experience hypnosis, because you are already an expert in the key components of hypnosis. You use them multiple times everyday. You can:
Focus your attention
Use your imagination
Respond to suggestions
As I said above, if you don’t want to experience hypnosis you wont. It’s as simple as that. It’s a choice. You have to want to engage in the process. If you don’t then nothing is going to happen.
What is it like to experience hypnosis?
Everyone’s experience of hypnosis is different, because we are all unique individuals.
Hypnosis is a very focused and pleasurable experience. Most people describe it as very enjoyable. You are aware of everything that is going on around you. You are alert and focused on the hypnotist’s words. You hear everything that’s said but, like with any communication you’re unlikely to remember all that was said. Because you’re alert, and focused, you are in control. That means you can end the session anytime you wish. You can also reject suggestions id you want to.
This short video produced by the UK’s National Council for Hypnotherapy, shows a client discussing her experience of Hypnotherapy with her hypnotherapist: What happened, how she felt and how it works.
Might I say or do something I don’t want to?
No. In hypnosis a professional hypnotist would not make you say or do anything you do not want to.
My session is over – why haven’t I noticed any change?
Change starts from the moment you decide to change and change can be happening even when we think it isn’t, so there’s no need to feel disappointed when, as occasionally happens, a hypnosis session doesn’t seem, at first, to have made any difference. Change can be instantaneous or it may take a few days, weeks, or months to achieve the result you desire. Each of is unique and we change at a rate and speed that is unique for us.
In the meantime, you can notice what you notice. Clues that you have moved, or are moving, toward the desired outcome will emerge, so be alert for even the smallest things that you’re doing differently.
Are there any physical side effects with hypnosis?
Can I get ‘stuck’ in hypnosis?
No. Hypnosis creates a state of relaxation and focused attention. This can be light to very deep. It is literally impossible to become “stuck” in a state of relaxed, focused attention. Can you imagine getting “stuck” in reading an absorbing book or watching an enjoyable film? Should you need to, you can bring yourself out of hypnosis at any time.
Can hypnotherapy be used for physical conditions?
Yes. Hypnotherapy can be used to help a wide range of conditions that some people may think are purely physical, including IBS, migraines, tinnitus, impotence, physical twitching, facial ticks and many others.
A growing body of research now supports hypnotherapy, as an effective tool in the treatment of a variety of problems, from anxiety to chronic pain. For more information about clinical hypnotherapy and research that supports its efficacy click here – Hypnosis Research.
What is Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP)
NLP is the study of human excellence and success, how we do what we do. Did you know that when you change how you think you can change what you think – and in changing how and what you think, you can dramatically transform the results you create in your life. The modern and highly effective NLP techniques can be used with, or as an alternative, to hypnotic trance work. NLP can assist you to develop and maintain a high level of motivation for achieving your goals, and can help convert barriers and obstacles into doorways to success.
Why is it called Neuro Linguistic Programming?
Neuro: Is a reference to how we organise our thoughts through our five senses.
Linguistic: Is a reference to the language we use to communicate with ourselves and others.
Programming: Is a reference to the way we organise our ideas and actions to produce results.
How do you protect my privacy?
I am bound by the National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH) Code of Conduct which specifically requires me to respect the confidentiality of my clients. A copy of the Code is available here http://www.hypnotherapists.org.uk/about-nch/code-of-ethics/. I also work within the code of ethics of the New Zealand Association of NLP (NZANLP). A detailed copy of this Code is available should you request it.
I only collect the minimum amount of personal information I need to help you achieve your therapy outcome(s). You have a right to see the information I hold pertaining to you. At any time you can ask for a copy of all the information I hold on your file.
When it comes to handling your information, I comply with the Privacy Act 1993. The Privacy Act controls how “agencies” collect, use, disclose, store and give access to “personal information”.
Unless authorised by you, I will not disclose information pertaining to you, to a person or body or agency unless I believe, on reasonable grounds that the disclosure of the information is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to your life/health or that of another individual. Confidentiality is also subject to the requirements of the law.