Interview With A Hypnotherapist
Can everyone be hypnotised?
Hypnosis is a naturally occurring state, and everyone can be hypnotised, although resistance on the part of the individual can make it more challenging for some. This resistence can be present for a number of reasons, but most can be worked around.
Hypnosis is not "done to" a person, the hypnotherapist meerly guides the person into a state of trance but the person is in complete conmtrol the whole time and the elicitation of trance is dependent on the person being willing to follow the guidance.
See also "How does Hypnotherapy Work" question which will hep to answer this question.
What does the subconscious mind do?
Your subconscious mind is like the harddrive of a computer, and contains all of your programming including how your body works, who you are, and largely governs how you behave.
From the moment we are born we are programmed to observe and learn and model how people do things. This learning, coupled with our experiences, literally mould us into the people we are, shaping our view of ourselves and the world we live in, affecting our confidence, self esteem, resourcefulness, values, morals, ethics and emotional state.
Although this can appear to be written in stone, as it is how we define oursleves and how we feel safe, it can be reprogrammed when it is no longer being helpful to us, for example: if limiting beliefs about what we deserve/how we should behave are holding us back, we can challenge those beliefs and reprogram them through the power of Hypnotherapy.
Can you get "stuck" in hypnosis?
You cannot get stuck in hypnosis, but the brainwave states that are induced can be a great source of relaxation and rest for a person, and so there may be a reluctance to leave that state, but it is not possible to be "stuck" there.
See also the "How does Hypnotherpay work" question.
What happens if I am not very good at it?
People worry that they will not be very "good" at Hypnosis and this demonstrates that they are operating at a conscious, analytical level and are experiencing some anxiety, which may hinder their ability to experience deep levles of trance initially.
However, if you are able to listen, understand and are willing to go with the hypnotherapist's lead for your own benefit, then you will achieve a slower brainwave state than you are operating at currently, and with practice and experience you will achieve even greater levels of trance and therefore even greater effects.
Can you make me do things I don't want to do?
In short - No!
All hypnosis is guided, that means that the person has a choice and is in control throughout the whole process.
Within Hypnotherapy, the client has come to seek treatment as they are unhappy with something and this is where the work is targetted.
It is, however, important to recognsise that although a person may say they want to stop a behaviour (smoking for example) it needs to be acknowledged that there may be lots of subconscious reasons why the person feels the need to continue (i.e. using the smoking example the person may be reluctant to give uo due to the percieved stress management/friendship circle/permitted breaks at work etc).
Does it always involve identifying childhood trauma?
Not always, but many of our experiences in childhood and when growing up, both good and bad, go together to construct how we percieve the world and ourselves within that world. Sometimes it is a case of unlocking an outdated thought/perception/concept and updating it and the difficulties simply dissapear.
How many sessions will I need?
It depends on the nature and severity of the problem, the person's resistance and motivation, but most issues see significant resolution within 4-6 sessions.
How does Hypnotherapy work?
Basically, it involves bypassing the conscious, analytical part of the brain, to access the subconscious, by using a variety of induction and deepening techniques. Once in a trance state, the Hypnotherapist then assists the client to identify limiting beliefs/blocks, recognise them, create alternative ways of thinking, cement those new ways of thinking and assisting the client to understand that they have created their world for specific reasons, but they have the power and ability to adjust those old thinking styles and create a new world which fits with how they wish to live now.
On a more complex level it is to do with brainwave states. This can become very complex, but in short we have different brainwave states or frequencies which occur at different times and for different reasons:
Beta (12 to 38 Hz) - conscious and functioning "normally" in a wakeful state, where our attention is directed towards cognitive tasks and the outside world. High-Beta frequency (22-38Hz) is highly complex thought, high anxiety or excitement and when running at Hi-Beta for long periods of time is not healthy or efficient as it takes up lots of energy.
Alpha - (8 to12Hz) - quiet flowing thoughts, low level medative/hypnotic states or relaxation. This is a resting state for the brain, a time of being present, mindful. Being in this state induces calm, mind/body integration, learning and internal alertness.
Theta - (3 to 8 Hz) - these brainwaves occur most often in sleep, but also in deep meditation/hypnosis. In this state our senses are drawn internally, focussing less on the external world and more on information from within ourselves. It is recognisable as that brief moment when we are drifing off to sleep, or waking. It is a dream state where we can experience vivid imagery, information not accessible when we are consciously aware, and we can access our intuition. It is where we store our inner most fears and traumas - our "murky stuff".
Delta - (0.5 to 3 Hz) - Generated in the deepest meditation/hypnosis and in dreamless sleep. Healing and regeneration occur in this brainwave state, hence the need for deep and restirative sleep when the body is unwell and needing to heal.
The hypnotherapist uses inductions to take a client into a state of trance, or altered brainwave state or frequency (usually Alpha/Theta/Delta) to bypass the conscious critical analytical mind and complete the healing work without interference from the consciousness. As you can see, a person enters these states naturally throughout their lives and so the only thing that stops a person being hypnotised is their own will for it not to happen, perhaps for a specific reason.