A Guide To Hypnosis
Hypnosis has been used by many top sports stars to give them
that very vital 'edge' to their performance. Such top stars
as Tiger Woods know the benefits of hypnosis. It can help
performance in so many different areas. It can improve confidence,
help you perform at your best in the moments that really matter,
and can be used to help you rehearse and practice your mind
set to perfection.
There are many stories about hypnotherapy being dangerous,
turning people into chickens, people not being able to wake
up, and unscrupulous hypnotists exploiting their 'vulnerable'
patients. However there are many people who are adamant that
it has helped change their lives, helping them succeed in
their goals. Millions of people swear that it has helped them
with many issues such as weight loss, quitting smoking, other
addictions, confidence, phobias, stress, success, IBS, and
many more issues.
There is a large and growing tradition of hypnosis being used
for therapeutic purposes, not just for entertainment. In fact
therapeutic and entertainment hypnosis are two very different
things. A clinical hypnotherapist does not aim to create the
illusion of having people 'under' his control. Stage hypnotists
do this with the clever use of pressure, showmanship, and
choosing the correct participants.
Many people are missing out on this powerful yet safe therapeutic
tool because they are too afraid to use it. I hope to dispel
these fears by answering these common questions about hypnotherapy.
What is a hypnotic trance?
It is a normal and natural state that most of us experience
several times a day. It commonly happens when people are driving.
Have you ever driven somewhere and not really remembered the
journey? It also often occurs when reading a book or watching
TV. Sometimes you can be so absorbed in the book or TV programme
that you are not consciously aware that someone is talking
to you. Hypnosis is the focussing of the conscious attention
in such a narrow corridor of influence. The conscious mind
is so intensely focussed that other influences are not being
critically analysed by the conscious mind. We still hear them,
although we are not always aware. A good example of this is
when you are in a place where there are several conversations
going on at once. They may all sound like a mass of background
noise. However if someone in one of those conversations mentions
your name, you then consciously focus on that conversation.
How did you know someone said your name? Your subconscious
mind (which is far more powerful than your conscious mind)
was listening to EVERY conversation AT THE SAME TIME! That
is perhaps a reason why you can sometimes "just know" something.
Your subconscious mind has absorbed it without you consciously
What does hypnosis feel like?
Usually when in a trance you feel more mentally and physically
relaxed. It is a very pleasant experience, and you can tell
that you are still in control. You can still hear exactly
what is going on around you, unless you choose to drift your
attention away. You become aware that you can easily stand
up, talk, or move whenever you want. A lot of people (me included)
when they first experience a hypnotic trance move their fingers
or hands in order to test whether they can move at will. Sometimes
a patient can be a little difficult to wake up. This is not
a sinister thing as it has been portrayed. No one has ever
been stuck in trance. It is more a case that a patient just
"can't be bothered" to wake up as it feels so pleasant. However
they soon become bored and will wake up pretty soon. One trick
the old hypnosis pro's use is to tell the patient that they
are charging for the time. It's amazing how quickly they then
Is hypnosis dangerous?
A hypnotic trance is actually a very natural state that almost
everyone goes into several times per day. In 1955 the British
Medical Association set up an inquiry which favourably reported
hypnosis as a therapeutic tool. It even recommended that it
should be taught at medical schools. Hypnosis was also approved
by the Council of Mental Health of the American Medical Association
in September of 1958 as a safe practice with no harmful side
effects. Since then there has been acceleration in the establishment
of hypnosis societies for doctors, dentists, and psychologists.
No one has been seriously hurt with hypnosis.
Can I be made to do things against my will?
You could never be made to do anything against your will or
contrary to your value system. If this was actually possible,
would there not be criminals learning the art of hypnotherapy
in order to hypnotise their bank managers to opening the vaults
and handing over a large sum of cash?! In a trance, you would
not unknowingly reveal your deepest secrets. You can even
lie when in a trance, which is one reason why testimony in
hypnosis is not permissible evidence in a court of law. It
is only used by police to help with the investigation. A person
will only act upon suggestions that serve them in some way
or reinforce an expected behaviour, anything else their subconscious
will just ignore. Most people develop these misperceptions
from seeing or hearing about a Stage Hypnosis show. However
they largely achieve their results from showmanship, selection
of the more extrovert people, and peer pressure.
How long will it take before I notice a change?
In one session, you can expect to become more relaxed than
you are right now. Most people do not relax enough, and some
people never seem to relax! Being more relaxed can help most
mental and physical problems that you may have. I have often
had patients report back to me that people noticed that they
seemed more relaxed after just one session. In the past I
have significantly helped problems such as IBS, skin complaints,
and addictions, simply by doing relaxation work.
Hypnosis can bridge the gap between your head and your heart,
making your goals much more emotionally compelling, and therefore
increasing your chances of permanent change. Depending upon
the intensity and number of sessions, you will notice suggestions
for the desired behavioural changes spontaneously popping
into your conscious mind almost immediately.
Please keep an open mind when deciding if to use hypnotherapy.
I have been a clinical hypnotherapist, trained by the London
College of Clinical Hypnotherapy (LCCH), for several years.
During this time I have witnessed many things that, quite
frankly amaze me at times! I have helped so many people in
so many ways, that I feel it would be such a shame for people
to opt out simply due to unfounded fear and misinformation.
Make sure you find a therapist that has received good training
from a well respected body, such as the LCCH, and you will
not be disappointed. It is not perfect. Hypnosis does not
solve everything all the time. However it does help almost
all of the time, and can create amazing changes some of the
time. With a well qualified practitioner, you are pretty much
guaranteed a comforting, relaxing, and enjoyable experience,
as well as a shot at gaining very good ground towards your
goals. I hope you are not missing out for the wrong reasons.
Jon Rhodes is a very experienced UK clinical hypnotherapist.
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