The Gentle Mind

Let's bust the myth: What exactly is hypnotherapy?

Firstly, I’ve got to admit that hypnosis isn’t the most helpful word. It comes with baggage.

The snake in Jungle Book… Seeing your mates dance the funky chicken at a work do… Little Britain’s hypnotist, Kenny Craig, who has no worries about using his skills to advance his own agenda. All of these are popular, but entirely inaccurate examples.

So, what is hypnotherapy? Hypnotherapy isn’t a magical power, it is an effective medical treatment.

Hypnotherapy is a “genuine psychological phenomenon that has valid uses in clinical practice”, “a psychological procedure that can help change how you feel and act”, and a “focused state of concentration” and a genuine medical therapy that “enables people to perceive things differently”.

To be more precise

‘Therapy’ you’ll know, but what exactly is hypnotherapy?

The name is, somewhat unhelpfully, from the greek ‘hypnos’ meaning “to sleep”.

Believe me, you’re not asleep. You’re just relaxed in your mind and body. For most people, they feel calm, clear-headed and serene. And, most importantly, their attention is focused. That is the best way to describe it.

More about the state of focused attention

What I’m doing is leading you into a calm and composed state in which it’s easy to strip away stress and think clearly. It’s sometimes called reframing.

As an aside, you already know to hypnotise yourself/focus your attention.

No, really. For example:

  • When you read a book in the daylight and look up to find that it’s now night, you’ve lost track of time because you’re so focused on absorbing the narrative.
  • When you start a film on Netflix and look up to find that entire hours have passed, you’ve lost track of time because you're so immersed in the action.
  • When you’re playing a sport, tennis say, and everything you hit goes in perfectly, you’re just so hyper-focussed on every shot over that it overrides any other distraction.

You, me and focused attention

So when you’re relaxed and in this state, you’re able to strip away the stress and think clearly.

I don’t wipe your mind blank. What we work on doing is giving your negative feelings no meaning and lessening their power, so that they don’t matter to you.

You’ll have full awareness of your surroundings and what you’re speaking about, but you’ll likely have clarity and a stillness that lets you really think about your responses in a way you wouldn’t ordinarily.

You’ll have full control of your faculties, and my job is simply steering the conversation towards pinpointing problems and suggesting long-term solutions.

That’s what we mean when we say ‘suggestion’ - I make informed recommendations based on the information you give me. You can choose to take them on board, or you can reject an idea if it doesn’t sit well with you.

It’s absolutely impossible to hypnotise someone who doesn’t actively want to yield to the process. Like everything important in life, consent is crucial and participation is paramount.

That’s the hypnosis explained: What’s the Cognitive Behavioural bit?

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is grounded by the idea that thoughts, feelings and actions all interact and play off of each other in ways we don’t always recognise.

For example, if you approach something with a negative attitude expecting a poor outcome, regardless of the actual result, you will often leave feeling unfulfilled and negative.

Even if you’ve bossed your day at work, focusing on one ‘failure’ is enough to skew objective fact, spoil your mood, and cause you to spiral into feelings of inadequacy.

This kind of circular thinking can be very draining and deeply harmful. I use CBT to identify patterns in your thinking and, using hypnotherapy, suggest balanced and healthy ways to either bypass or overcome potential problems

Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy: What does it treat, specifically?

What we’re looking at working on together is removing whatever is holding you back.

You and I are re-framing your mindset. We’re looking at harnessing the power of logical thinking and positive common sense; virtually anything you’re struggling with can be safely and effectively treated.

This includes helping you to quit smoking, lose weight and tackle compulsive eating, any intense phobias (whether illogical or not) - the list is as long as you like. Most of the main ones are covered on my home page.

Lacking confidence? Hypnotherapy can find out why and act to boost it. Struggling with motivation? Hypnotherapy can help. Fearful about fretting or strained by stress? Yep, it eases strain and promotes mindfulness and a grounded, calm approach to facing problems - perceived or otherwise.

Do you have an obstacle that you’d like to overcome?

Join me to strip away the stress and re-frame your resolve. Get in touch today to discuss how hypnotherapy can help.

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