The Oxford English Dictionary defines hypnosis as “an unconscious state in which somebody can still see and hear”. It is, in fact, a natural state of mind and an important part of everyday life. Whenever our mind wanders, daydreams or is focused on something such as reading a book, driving a familiar route or watching a film, we are in a state of hypnosis.
Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert estimates that 47 percent of our waking day is spent in a dream-like state, where we let our mind wander and ponder. Brain scans on people who are in a hypnotic state show that brain wave activity alters: brain waves are slower and brain activity is reduced. This is similar to the pattern of brain activity during meditation.
Is hypnosis safe? Can I be made to do something I don't want to do?
When we are reading a book or watching a film, we do not give up control, and hypnosis is no different. When you are in a hypnotic state, you always have the power to bring yourself back to full awareness, just like coming out of a daydream or meditation session. Often, the realisation that you are in control and can make changes yourself is very empowering.
Hypnotherapy is a form of complementary therapy that uses the power of positive suggestion to facilitate unconscious change to our problematic thoughts, feelings and behaviour. As a clinical hypnotherapist, I use a variety of techniques, including hypnosis and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) to relax the conscious mind, and at the same time stimulate and focus the unconscious mind in order to allow helpful suggestions to be made.
Hypnotherapy is widely endorsed as a treatment for habit-breaking, stress-related issues and a range of long-term conditions, and in recent years has been gaining prominence in the medical world since a recommendation from NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) recognised hypnotherapy as a treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
Where there is an imbalance beween the conscious and unconscious mind, the unconscious mind dominates and problems can occur. For example, our conscious mind knows that being overweight is bad for our health, but our unconscious mind may drive us to reward ourselves with chocolate after a hard day at work.
Hypnotherapy can be used for a wide range of issues including fears and phobias, exam stress, cravings and addictions (smoking, overeating, etc), physical conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, skin conditions, migraines, anxiety and stress, panic attacks, infertility, insomnia and lack of confidence. It can also be used as a tool to manage pain, improve performance at work or in sport, and to improve birth outcomes. Whatever problem you come to see me with, I will provide an individualised therapy plan for you, based on your own needs.
I am also a qualified and registered homeopath (for more information click here). In certain circumstances I may be able to recommend hypnotherapy treatment which includes the support of homeopathic remedies. If this is something you would be interested in, please ask. There is no additional fee for this.
People who are overweight often consciously know that they need to control their weight and yet they still feel drawn to eating unhealthily and/or eating too much. This is because their unconscious mind thinks differently, has learned this behaviour, and keeps them doing what they've always done. Hypnotherapy deals with the unconscious mind and makes suggestions for healthy, lasting change.
Similarly, smokers often consciously want to stop smoking because of the health risks, cost etc, yet they keep on smoking and just can't seem to stop. This is because their more powerful unconscious mind is in charge and continuing their old habits. Hypnotherapy addresses this unconscious behaviour.
People with phobias can often consciously think that they should not be afraid, yet whenever they are faced with the object of their phobia their unconscious fear comes into play and they react. Hypnotherapy deals with the causes of the fear, as well as the symptoms, and gradually builds confidence.
Hypnotherapy can also help with medical conditions where the illness or pain often has a psychological or emotional aspect to it. The mind and body are clearly linked and our thoughts, behaviours, memories and emotions can have a direct effect on our body.
Dealing with stress and anxiety can effectively help with healing and can reduce pain. That said, all medical conditions should be checked by a qualified medical practitioner before you go to a hypnotherapist. Do not stop taking any medication without consultation with your GP.