Hypnotherapy has been mainstream medicine since 1955.

Although hypnotherapy has been around for many years, people are still reluctant to try it. Their perception has been coloured by the image of the music-hall showman who gets people to do ridiculous things on stage. This page explains what hypnotherapy really is.

What is hypnosis and hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy is a science: the Royal Society of Medicine in London has a section devoted to medical hypnosis, and hypnotherapy has been approved for use by the British Medical Association since 1955. It's also recognised by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE)

Hypnotherapy is a form of therapy that enables you to enlist the help of your conscious and unconscious/subconscious mind. It's a goal-orientated therapy that lets you focus your attention internally, re-accessing resources and creating new associations, patterns of thinking and behaving. It is holistic, safe and effective, and has successfully helped many people deal with a range of mental, emotional and physical conditions.

Is hypnosis / hypnotherapy the same as sleep?

No, it's not the same. It is an altered state of mind similar to daydreaming or becoming so absorbed in an activity that you lose track of time. During a hypnotic trance you're not asleep, merely unconcerned about your surroundings. Some people liken it to a feeling somewhere between sleep and wakefulness.

How does the hypnotic trance state feel?

Lovely and relaxed! It is a thoroughly pleasant experience, similar to the feeling you get when you drift off to sleep in the evening. Your bodily senses slow down and your muscles begin to relax. The hypnotic trance shares some of those attributes. The big difference being that you are deliberately inducing this state under the guidance of either a hypnotherapist or, if you're practising self-hypnosis, yourself.

Will I lose control during hypnosis?

No. Even though you're very relaxed, you remain in complete control the whole time. During hypnosis your attention is focused on your internal world, so you are even more aware of physical and psychological changes. The reality is that you're even more in control of yourself.

Can anybody be hypnotised?

Most people are hypnotisable – if they allow themselves to be. That's why it's so important to develop a comfortable and trusting relationship with your therapist. Nobody can be hypnotised against their will. If you choose not to be hypnotised, you won't be.

Will I remember everything during hypnosis?

Some things you will remember, others not. Most clients say that they don't remember everything from the sessions but they also say that they notice starting to think and behave differently after the sessions – and always in line with their desired outcome.

Sometimes it's necessary to remember certain elements of the process to ensure success. And some clients say they remember everything, but that's because they're totally unaware of the things they've forgotten. Sometimes clients think they've fallen asleep and remember almost nothing about the process, although they do report feeling very relaxed. It's unlikely that they really did fall sleep. They probably achieved a much deeper level of trance and simply forgot everything.

Is hypnotherapy safe? Are there any side effects?

With a registered hypnotherapist you're in safe hands. I treat my clients with utmost care, your psychological health is my priority. The worst that can happen is that you really do fall asleep during the hypnosis. In all other respects you are in total control of your trance experience.

What's the format of a hypnotherapy session?

At our initial consultation we'll discuss what you want to achieve through hypnotherapy. We will then begin to assess your problem through a series of questions, taking details of your history and your psychological health (based on a questionnaire that I will send you after you have made your booking). I'll also take the time to explain how the mind and therapy works, so you feel informed and comfortable at all times. We'll also be able to work out how many sessions you're likely to need. And you'll have plenty of opportunity to ask questions.

During this first session I'll also introduce you to hypnosis and NLP and guide you into a trance light state to help you with whatever issue you have.

In subsequent sessions we'll talk about your progress and any changes you have noticed, as well as areas that may need more work. At each session we'll move you closer to your goal. Although it's a joint effort, it's very much your therapy. I welcome your thoughts and comments.

What's a typical number of sessions?

That depends on the condition and the severity. I can generally treat phobias in 1 to 3 sessions and smoking in just 1 or 2 sessions. Eating disorders and addictions generally require at least 3 sessions. These are rough guidelines: on average I see clients for 3 to 5 sessions.

Most clients take 1 session a week. Others prefer to take them once a fortnight or once a month. We work together on a long or short-term basis according to their needs – and we constantly review progress.

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