Image by Joshua Woroniecki
 

Clinical research has shown hypnotherapy to be highly effective when used to address a wide range of issues and conditions. It is a unique therapeutic approach which firstly allows the practitioner to relax our client into a relaxed, receptive, and focused state and then to go ahead and apply psychological theories and interventions in order to facilitate positive change. A variety of techniques may be used including neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), regression, psychoanalysis, Ericksonian hypnotherapy, straight-forward suggestion, and cognitive behavioural-based strategies (amongst a plethora of others).
 
The hypnotic state is often thought of as being mysterious; sometimes people may feel daunted or frightened by this phraseology, but did you know that all of us enter into a hypnotic state, on average, at least four times per day? Daydreaming, becoming completely absorbed in a film, meditating, or even arriving at your destination whilst not quite remembering how you got there are all examples of us entering into this slightly altered state of mind which comes completely naturally to us. 

Hypnosis is sometimes referred to as an “altered state of consciousness," but whilst it is true that when deeply relaxed our brainwaves slow to various different rates, during hypnosis, most people do not fall asleep. If this does happen, the delta wave state is often too deep for the maximum benefits of hypnotherapy to take root, and you will be gently awakened into an alpha / theta wave state; the optimal state in which to reprogram our minds for positive change. 

So, why do we need to reach an alpha / theta state? Why can't we just make changes whilst in a beta or fully alert state? Our brains operate on both a conscious and unconscious level and between these two realms lies the Conscious Critical Faculty (CCF), which acts as a gatekeeper or "reality filter." Say we would like to develop a better sense of intrinsic self-esteem and we resolve to tell ourselves, every day, that we are good, successful, or attractive. How easy would it be if it were that simple? In reality, our conscious mind relates these messages to our CCF, which passes them down to our unconscious minds, which then checks this new information against what is already stored there. If the unconscious mind does not agree with the new information, it bounces back the messages as false, thus the new information is not absorbed. Yet, if we suspend the "reality filter," then new, positive messages can get through to the unconscious mind, take root, and become the new information against which all further messages are checked against, thus never being rejected as being untrue again. When your CCF is bypassed, it can be easier to undo self-limiting thoughts and beliefs, unwanted habits, unhelpful behaviours, and to make the positive and beneficial changes that you want to make for yourself and within your life.

 
Sometimes, regression techniques may be helpful to aid in exploring and removing the unconscious blocks which might be holding you back. There may be introjections, core beliefs, or learned behaviours from your childhood or even your recent past that may be beneficial to target; thoughts, feelings, and emotions which may have been denied, repressed, or supressed from your conscious mind. Processing these thoughts, feelings, and emotions in a protective hypnotic state can help you to discover which parts of your unconscious mind your habit is feeding, what makes you avoid certain situations or objects, what caused your anxiety or lack of confidence, or facilitate the release of stress and negativity in order to change the way that you feel in the present. Whatever the case may be for you and whatever changes you wish to achieve, a multi-approach, bespoke hypnotherapeutic treatment plan will be created especially for you, with only you, your individual needs, and your preferences in mind.

A hypnotherapist who practices ethically will never claim that they can "cure you" and hypnotherapy should never be considered to be a "magic bullet." You will not cease to smoke or be able to manage your weight without also making other alterations as the ability to achieve real, positive change lies within each individual client and their own personal motivation. What hypnotherapy can do is assist you to make the required changes more easily; through removing mental blocks to success, increasing insight and self-awareness, or resetting habits, phobias, social anxieties, or addictions from within the unconscious mind. If you really want to make positive gains within your life, then hypnotherapy can be remarkable in assisting you to do so, however, in line with ethical practice, hypnotherapy is not suitable nor beneficial for everyone and everything. If this is the case, a referral to a counsellor or another psychotherapist may be recommended if it seems that you would benefit more from taking a different approach to your presenting issue.

You'll find plenty of information and blogs (Hypnotherapy FAQs) throughout the Actualise site that should answer any other questions that you may have, but please don't hesitate to contact me or to launch a chat if you would like some more information.

I look forward to meeting you and working with you soon!