What is Clinical Hypnotherapy?

Would you like to help clients overcome stress, anxiety, a phobia such as a fear of flying, insects, water or going to the dentist? Would you like to discover the secrets of using hypnotherapy to lose weight without going on yet another diet? Would you like to help clients kick habits such as smoking and drugs? Would you like to help clients feel more confidence, self esteem, and reach their goals around career, relationships and simply feel happier and more content? If you have never experienced hypnotherapy, you may have many questions.

What is hypnotherapy? For what can hypnotherapy be used? Is it safe?

Let’s start with some clinical hypnotherapy history. Though the term, hypnotherapy, itself was only coined in the 1800s, the idea of using hypnosis or clinical hypnotherapy to help treat people has in fact been around for centuries.   You will also notice that we are calling this therapy ‘clinical hypnotherapy’ rather than ‘hypnosis’. That term is preferable so that it is possible to differentiate between what we do as therapists and stage hypnotists you may see on television. Clinical hypnotherapy is about helping our clients overcome problems, as opposed to a stage hypnotist, who uses hypnosis for entertainment.

It is important to add that when we use hypnosis during Hypnotherapy, the client is in a trance but will normally hear everything being said and just like in a regular conversation, a client will never agree to do anything that ordinarily he or she would not agree to do. The client maintains control and indeed often will be talking or communicating with their therapist as well.

Is Clinical Hypnotherapy Safe?

Clinical Hypnotherapy is perfectly safe and indeed when a client is sitting in the consulting room, if they heard a noise or perhaps an alarm sounding or if their therapist was to mention something that sounded strange or weird, they would immediately notice and would most probably also open their eyes and become alert immediately.

When hypnosis is carried out on a stage, it is a very different story. I was once at a show in the centre of London and it was clear that those on stage were in fact made to feel compelled to do as they were told and were there to entertain the audience. They were being manipulated for the benefit of others. In fact, such shows may lead to professional clinical hypnotherapists getting a bad name. In a professional therapeutic context, hypnosis is used for exactly the opposite of stage performers. Rather than entertain, we work really hard to help our clients. Hypnotherapy is a powerful way to guide someone to look at their challenges differently and find the answers to problems.

Clinical hypnotherapy, just like other therapies, is about the client gaining skills and learning how to have a more empowered life on a daily basis. All studies show hypnotherapy to be very safe. However it is also important for a therapist to check as to whether a new client suffers from epilepsy or bi – polar syndrome. If someone does, it will be advised to consult with a GP or consultant to ensure they are safe to enter into a trance state and undergo hypnotherapy.

For what can Clinical Hypnotherapy be used?  

The answer is quite long since hypnotherapy is really simply the carrying out of therapy whilst in a state of trance. Its application can be very wide indeed. Common challenges clients face include, stress management, insomnia, weight management, smoking cessation, addictions, anxiety, releasing phobias, pain management, improving self-worth and confidence, success coaching, public speaking or cutting down habits such as nail biting or facial tics.

If you have ever had clinical hypnotherapy whether with a local hypnotherapist or at a more expensive Harley street practice, you will know that during clinical hypnotherapy you will experience a wonderful sense of deep relaxation, just like daydreaming or being engrossed in focused concentration. Unlike most therapies which involve a conversation on the conscious level, during clinical hypnotherapy your therapist will be talking with you on a subconscious level more than on a conscious level. This involves suggesting to you, as it were, useful, empowering and positive images and ideas to encourage positive change. It may also involve speaking with you directly whilst in a trance.

In a sense, your subconscious is a little like your pre-set ‘autopilot’. The images and thoughts you experience on a subconscious level all go to help determine many decisions you make when under pressure, or might affect your feelings of self worth and confidence or influence behaviours or habits in challenging or emotionally charged situations.

Let’s take an example to illustrate. Let’s say, for instance, that you used to smoke and are now faced with a cigarette or a stressful situation with your boss, or a simply a decision whether to have extra dessert when not hungry. Your conscious mind might be saying a sensible big ‘no’ to that cigarette or extra food. However on the subconscious level, you are really attracted to it and saying a big ‘yes’, which can feel like a desire or a compulsion. In other words, since your subconscious programming is so powerful, you feel compelled. It feels as though you have already decided on a subconscious level that you have to go with your heart and have that extra piece of cake, light up that cigarette or respond angrily when under stress at work.  It feels like you have no choice and can not say no.

Your subconscious programming can feel very powerful but by using hypnotherapy your therapist will speak directly with those subconscious thoughts and desires, which had felt so automatic and overwhelming. You can indeed really change that around, making it easier to do what you really want to do and not feel conflicted or out of control. Making that ‘no’ bigger and that ‘yes’ smaller, as it were. By speaking with your subconscious mind, hypnotherapy helps clients cut down overeating , anxieties, fears and habits. You can even reduce and feel less desire for certain foods such as chocolate or cake.

By retraining their subconscious mind, a client can also learn ways to sleep better and deal with stress in more productive ways. Hypnotherapy also helps cut down annoying habits such as nail biting, teeth grinding, or automatic habits such as facial tics.

Hypnotherapy is also very effective for phobias, whether its claustrophobia, fear of the dentist, needles, spiders, heights or even things like a fear of commitment, meeting new people, exam nerves or speaking in public. Most fears and anxieties can be reduced. Hypnotherapy is great also for anxiety or pain – helping clients move focus and see things in a different light. Things will sound and feel much better.