5 Tips to Make the Most of your Clinical Hypnotherapy Session
Be ready for some weird stuff
Clinical hypnotherapy involves learning strategies which empower us to change what we are doing, thinking or feeling subconsciously (see ‘Clinical Hypnotherapy FAQs’ for more detail).
The language of the subconscious mind is a bit dream-like. Dreams can seem weird when we reflect on them with our thinking, or conscious mind. And yet they make complete sense while we are having the dream.
To harness some of our powerful, subconscious resources it is helpful to use the dream-like language of the subconscious mind. This is where the weird stuff comes in…
Allowing yourself to use your own creativity and imagination will help you get more out of each session.
Schedule your session at a time you are likely to be alert
It is best to schedule appointments at times when you or your child is likely to be more alert. Children are commonly more alert in the morning.
This is why appointments are not offered later in the day.
Fill out your intake form with as much detail as you can
This information is very useful in planning your session and will save a lot of time.
Read the information sheet and FAQs that were sent to you
They will help you understand what to expect and how to achieve change faster.
Clinical hypnotherapy is a powerful opportunity to learn about and tap into inner strengths you may not know you have.
Come with an open mind and be prepared to change.
Clinical Hypnotherapy FAQs
Will I cluck like a chicken like they do on YouTube?
Stage hypnotists (the ones who do performances) are not medically qualified and they use very different techniques to the ones used in clinical hypnotherapy.
Stage hypnotists often rely on strategies which help them identify audience members who are both comfortable performing on stage and are also particularly good at using their imaginations in a way that will entertain the audience.
Hypnotists and hypnotherapists are not able to control people. If you watch the videos closely you will often notice participants ‘waking up’ and not performing any more. Those participants had performed within their own comfort zone. They then became uncomfortable with what the stage hypnotist was asking them to do and simply went back to normal. At that point the hypnotist may have invited them to leave the stage.
The most important thing to understand is that, during hypnosis, you always remain aware and completely in control of what you do.
How does clinical hypnotherapy work?
A medical therapist combines conversation with the state of hypnosis to help people find useful techniques and strategies to achieve the change they desire. The techniques taught are tailored to the person and their individual issue, and are practiced at home using self-hypnosis (see below).
Clinical hypnotherapy is most effective when the person really wants to change and will practice the techniques regularly, as instructed by the doctor.
A trained therapist can teach people to use hypnosis whenever they need to. This is called self-hypnosis and allows them to enter and exit this state of comfort and increased control for many purposes.
Learning self-hypnosis is a valuable lifelong skill.
Through mastery and empowerment self-hypnosis enhances self esteem and resilience.
Sometimes a part of the session is recorded, usually on the client’s phone as a voice memo, to help guide self-hypnosis at home.
What’s the difference between ‘trance’ and ‘hypnosis’?
Both words mean the same thing. A state of ‘trance’, or ‘hypnosis’ is a natural state of mind we all experience every day.
During hypnosis we tend to focus inwards rather than paying attention to the environment around us.
The state of hypnosis is a very powerful one because it is a state where our subconscious mind becomes more open to change which is led by the conscious mind (see below).
The state of hypnosis allows us to access our own inner strengths and resources.
What is the difference between the conscious and the subconscious mind?
This is a useful concept to understand when having clinical hypnotherapy.
The conscious mind is also called the ‘thinking mind’. It is the part of our mind which thinks logically and rationally. It is the part which plans our week and does maths problems. It is also known as ‘the boss’ because it knows right from wrong, what’s good for us and what isn’t. It is the part of the mind which says, ‘I really should go out and exercise’ or ‘I really should get off Snapchat and do my homework’.
The subconscious mind is also called the ‘unconscious’, ‘reptilian’ or ‘automatic’ mind. It is the part of our mind which is responsible for all the thoughts, feelings and behaviours which we don’t have to think about to make them happen. It is also responsible for our body functions, for instance our heart beating and breathing.
The subconscious mind does not really use logic, it is guided by feelings and memories. It is the part which triggers our emotions and the fight/flight/freeze response to fear or anxiety. It is the part which causes us to watch videos on our phone instead of doing work.
Hypnotherapy is all about helping ‘the boss’, or conscious mind, achieve its goals. This could mean feeling comfortable around something which used to frighten us. It might be to help us perform at the best of our abilities instead of getting ‘psyched out’. It might involve breaking an unwanted habit. All of these behaviours are led by the subconscious mind.
By learning to access our own inner strengths and resources we can achieve remarkable control over our subconscious mind. This can be used to achieve what ‘the boss’, or conscious mind wants.
What is the best time of day for Clinical Hypnotherapy?
It is best to schedule appointments at a time you or your child is likely to be more alert. For children, that is generally in the morning.
This is why appointments are not offered later in the day.
How many sessions will be needed?
This varies greatly depending on the person and the issue.
Six to eight sessions is an approximate average.
I did a hypnosis exercise with the hypnotherapist and I kept getting distracted and thinking about other things, does this matter?
No, not at all. The state of hypnosis is a natural one which our brains are designed to go into and out of quickly. In fact, some hypnosis exercises involve the hypnotherapist guiding you in and out of this state a number of times. This actually helps the brain to learn the techniques faster.
I did a hypnosis exercise with the hypnotherapist and I remember everything that happened, does that mean it didn’t work?
People mostly feel completely awake while they are in the state of hypnosis, even if they also feel quite relaxed. Occasionally, people forget some parts of what was said. None of this is related to how well the hypnotherapy exercise is working.
When I do my self-hypnosis at home, it doesn’t feel the same as it did with the hypnotherapist. Does that mean it’s not helping me?
All hypnosis is self hypnosis.
Hypnosis can be described as ‘guided’.
It can be ‘self guided’. This is also called self-hypnosis.
Hypnosis may also be guided by a hypnotherapist or an audio recording.
The state of hypnosis is the same state, whether it is self guided or guided by another person or a recording.
Hypnosis usually feels different when it is self guided compared to when it is guided by a hypnotherapist. Some people feel like they are in deeper hypnosis when they use self-hypnosis and others feel like it is lighter.
It’s not at all important to feel like you were in deep hypnosis to achieve the change that you desire.
I didn’t feel very relaxed when I was doing the hypnosis exercise. Does that mean it won’t help me?
Sometimes people feel relaxed during hypnosis exercises and sometimes they don’t. Some people feel like they are in a ‘deep’ trance or ‘deep’ hypnosis and some feel like they are in a ‘light’ trance or ‘light’ hypnosis.
This is not in any way related to how well it is working or how quickly you can make the change you desire.
There were noises and distractions outside the room, does this matter?
No, not at all. The state of hypnosis is a natural one which our brains are designed to go into and out of quickly. In fact, some of the hypnosis exercises involve the hypnotherapist guiding you in and out of this state a number of times. Distractions do the same thing. They can actually help the brain to learn the techniques faster.
If you become distracted during a hypnosis exercise you can just allow the distraction to help you relax more fully into the exercise.
I’m not good at visualising.
I’m not very imaginative.
Does this mean hypnotherapy won’t work for me?
People often misunderstand what ‘visualising’ means. Many people don’t find it easy to dream up or imagine stories, events or situations.
If you’ve ever recognised a familiar house then you were visualising. When you recognise the face of a loved one you are also visualising. If you’ve ever been frightened of something, that fear involves you imagining possible scenarios of what might happen, even though you may not realise that that’s what you’re doing.
People who say they can’t imagine or visualise are mostly not consciously aware of it. And it doesn’t mean they can’t enter a state of hypnosis.
I think I fell asleep during the hypnosis exercise, does this matter?
Sometimes people forget some of what was said during a hypnosis exercise and assume they were asleep. Sometimes people do actually fall asleep. It’s quite easy for a trained therapist to distinguish sleep from hypnosis.
I don’t think I can be hypnotised, I’m not a gullible or suggestible person.
It’s a common myth that entering a state of hypnosis is somehow related to being gullible. This is quite wrong, the two factors aren’t related at all.
The hypnosis exercises will be more helpful for you if you can just ‘go with them’, though some parts may seem a little weird. Hypnosis exercises use the language of the subconscious (see below) which is a bit like the language of dreams. When we’re dreaming, the events don’t make sense when you think about them afterwards, using your conscious mind. But the dream made sense while you were dreaming it, with your subconscious mind. Hypnosis exercises are designed to aid communication between the conscious and subconscious mind and often use dream-like concepts.
Is it like meditating? I’m not good at meditating.
This is a very common myth. Many people believe they ‘aren’t good at’ meditating. These people also may believe that they cannot achieve a state of hypnosis, or can’t be hypnotised.
Hypnosis is not meditation, though sometimes it feels similar.
In actual fact there’s no such thing as being ‘bad at meditating’. Anyone who has ever daydreamed, zoned out or focussed on something is able to achieve a state of hypnosis.
People who think they are bad at meditating have often tried meditation exercises which they didn’t enjoy. They may believe that meditation must be done in a certain specific way or sometimes they were taught to feel like they’ve failed if their mind wanders, or if they didn’t feel any different.
Clinical Hypnotherapy for Children
What is the difference between Clinical Hypnotherapy for children and for adults?
Children have wonderful imaginations and often enjoy creative play. Clinical hypnotherapy for children tends to include less exercises and more playing, drawing and pretending.
Sometimes children will be given a small object to use at home, like a marble. We may talk about that object having magical powers, and the magic actually having come from inside the child.
I would like my child to have Clinical Hypnotherapy, what is the youngest suitable age group?
Children as young as three or four may benefit from the techniques. The younger the child, the more the parent will be involved in helping the child to use the strategies.
An important factor in success is how much the child really wants to change.
Will I be sitting in on the session with my child?
This varies from family to family.
At the initial visit, the parent will often be invited into the consulting room first, without the child, for an approximately ten minute chat. During this time we will talk about the issue and the child’s history, as long as the child and parent are comfortable with this. The child will sit in the waiting area during this time, with reception staff present. Please bring something for your child to do during this short time.
After the initial chat with the parent, the child will be invited into the consulting room and the parent will either go to the waiting area, stay in the consulting room for a short time, or stay for the entire session.
If the child prefers the parent to stay then they are welcome. Many children prefer their parents to sit in the waiting room. This encourages the child’s independence and ownership of the strategies. Many children are proud to show their parents the techniques they have learned.
At the end of the session, parents are often invited in for a quick recap.
How do I explain Clinical Hypnotherapy to my child?
Explain that the hypnotherapist is someone who can help them change thoughts, feelings, habits or body sensations that they want to change.
Invite them to have a think beforehand about what they want to change.
Use age appropriate language.
Ask them to fill out as much of the intake form as they can, this helps them to take ownership of both the issue and the solution.
Give them the information you are sent and encourage them to read it, if that’s appropriate for their age and development.