What happens in a hypnotherapy session?
Hypnosis at Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic
In the second of a series of articles for the Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic website, I’m going to respond to another question that I’m often asked: “What happens in a hypnotherapy session?”
People are intrigued to know just what happens in a hypnotherapy session and understandably first-time clients might even be a little apprehensive about the process. I wish to reassure them.
Hypnotherapy and Stage hyposis
Any apprehension might arise because of associations people have made between hypnotherapy and stage hypnotism. But as I never tire of pointing out: the two things are different. So, let’s not be confused. Stage hypnotism is a show – a performance intended to entertain and isn’t really hypnotism at all – it’s mind manipulation. That’s not to say it isn’t clever but it is showmanship not therapy. Hypnotherapy, on the other hand, uses hypnosis as a means of integrating rational understanding into a client’s unconscious. It is an ethical practice that helps address a multitude of conditions or disorders yet the client remains in control at all times – even during trance. The benefits and efficacy of properly administered hypnotherapy is widely acknowledged by medical professionals both in the UK and around the globe.
The “rational understanding” just mentioned, itself needs to be explained, of course. And at Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic I first of all chat with a client, which helps put him or her at ease and allows me to understand their condition. After preliminary pleasantries, I will then explain to the client what I mean by the phrase rational understanding.
First of all, I should state that I can only speak for how treatment is administered at Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic. I use techniques that I have developed over the years, which I have been teaching to other practitioners around the country and abroad and which I know work. Some of the techniques I employ will be different from those used by other hypnotherapists, though there are basic principles to which all trained practitioners might be expected to adhere.
The first task of the therapist is to ascertain what condition it is that troubles the client.
Quite often, a client will misinterpret his or her condition. For example, someone with a phobia, say a fear of spiders, believes that even thinking of spiders scares them or makes them anxious. In reality they have a conditioned fear (they’ve hypnotised themselves, if you like, into being scared of spiders). But it is not actually the spider that makes them anxious – that is just what they believe – it is a pre-existing anxiety that makes them blame the spider. In other words they are anxious about being anxious. They are scared of being scared. It isn’t always the easiest concept to grasp but using cognitive behavioural therapy, we get there. And we exchange what are called unhealthy negative emotions for healthy negative emotions.
What happens in a hypnotherapy session at Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic? This is what I call emotional coaching and it is about teaching clients to understand their feelings, emotions and thoughts – it teaches them the difference between demands and preferences. It teaches them about psychological perception. It teaches them to think accurately. It teaches them to think and act rationally. After all, we know that in the UK, at least, spiders can’t actually harm us.
Once an understanding is established and a client understands what it is I’m talking about, we can proceed to the next stage. (Grasping the concepts is usually easier face-to-face during a session than it is reading about them. At my clinic in Leeds, I can tell if someone understands what I am explaining and if not, I will approach it from a different angle or use another example.) What happens in a hypnotherapy session?
After the emotional coaching part of the session, we move on to inducing trance. I always explain what this entails so that the client knows what to expect before, during and after hypnosis. There are different approaches to inducing trance. Some practitioners will use a rapid approach while others (the majority) will ease their client into a focused, meditative state. What happens in a hypnotherapy session at Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic is admittedly slightly different to what clients would receive at different organisation.
Inducing hypnotic trance
The most common technique is to use body relaxation – the therapist talks to the client, asking them to focus on different parts of their body, usually from the toes up and to feel each section of their body slowly relax, leading eventually to a tranquil state where the client’s conscious is still aware of what the hypnotherapist is saying. There is nothing to fear and the feeling is soothing.
Deepening a hypnotic trance
The hypnotherapist may then count down from 10 to 1, gradually deepening the trance. Once a client is in a focused state, I will begin to make suggestions that have been agreed upon with the client during the earlier part of the consultation.
As the unconscious mind opens, I am able to integrate the principles learnt during our emotional coaching and the client, accepting the benefits of healthy beliefs chooses to adopt them. He or she will be enjoying their trance state and already feeling a sense of revelation about their new-found comprehension.
For some people reading this, of course, the whole process will be translated as “woolly” nonsense and there are people who insist they cannot be hypnotised. To those people I say: everyone can be hypnotised. They just don’t know it. They are simply allowing themselves to become conscious of their own unconscious minds, so that they can make their desired goals a reality.
Different hypnotherapy techniques
Different techniques can be applied to different people. But as an ethical practitioner, I only treat people who wish to be helped and we work together to achieve optimum results. I find that gently easing clients into trance is the most enjoyable and beneficial route.
Reassurance for Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic clients.
Before hypnosis begins, I always reassure clients that at no point during trance will they lose their free will and that they will be able to come out of trance at any stage if they so wish. This has never happened in my experience because people in trance find the state they are in so pleasurable.
And so, once the unconscious has absorbed its new understanding, I ease the client out of their trance.
This is done by counting them back to a fully conscious state. Sometimes people are perplexed because they believe they haven’t been in a trance – it’s only when they realise that an hour has passed that they begin to recognise the value of the experience. The inner strength and understanding they have gained in the process stays with them. There will most likely be specific moments in the future when they recognise the changes that have been made. It is not their personality that has been changed, just their understanding and insight. They are no longer becoming victims of tricks of the mind.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like more information on what happens in hypnotherapy session.