What happens during a hypnotherapy session?

Hypnotherapy is a highly effective therapy which aims to help you change habits and outlook in a relatively short period of time. During hypnotherapy you close your eyes and are guided into a deeper feeling of relaxation, similar to daydreaming or focused concentration. You are guided in a deep state of relaxation, referred to as a trance state. In a trance state, the noise and chatter of your conscious mind quietens and your subconscious mind is more open to listening and thinking about things anew.

You are not asleep and are aware of what is happening around you. This means that should you hear a noise, such as a fire alarm, you will open your eyes and become alert again. Once you are relaxed and in a state of trance your hypnotherapist helps you by speaking with your subconscious mind, often by using specific visualisations or by speaking directly to you in a way which communicates directly with your imagination and subconscious mind, bringing change at a deeper level. You will be in complete control and hear what is being said and in some sessions your therapist may have a conversation with you whilst you are in this relaxed state.

Hypnotherapy is indeed the conducting of therapy whilst in a relaxed state. As such interventions can range from a more cognitive approach utilising tools from CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), a more imaginative approach in which you reprogramme how you view and experiences your memories or experiences, utilising tools from NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming). Often your therapist will use stories or metaphors or direct suggestions to give you a new perspective and help you overcome challenges.

By way of example, during a hypnotherapy session to reduce dependency of smoking cigarettes, a therapist may use questions to reach the underlying reasons for smoking or why it has been tough to quit. Using information gained from the client from their initial intake questionnaire and the conversation at the beginning of the session, the therapist will tailor visualisations to encourage new ways of thinking about all aspects of smoking. This could be thinking about health consequences, perceived reasons for smoking such as stress and anxiety or to break habitual associations between smoking and relaxing or smoking after eating. The therapist may also simply speak directly to the client about the dangers of smoking, using also information gained from the clients about their reasons for quitting. Using visualisations and cognitive approaches, the therapist will help the client see more of their positive inner resources and strengths so that quitting feels like something realistic and achievable and about creating a new fresh chapter for them.

As you can imagine, after any hypnotherapy session, you also leave feeling relaxed, calm and positive. Being in a trance state helps slow down your mind’s busyness for a period of time, which helps lower anxiety and stress levels.