What is Hypnotherapy?
New Blog added 13th Feb 2018
So what exactly is hypnotherapy and what's it all about?
When I meet people at meetings or give a card to people when I’m out and about, the reaction is as one would expect quite varied. Most people are highly curious and ask if it can help them.. Some laugh and ask If I might make them do something daft ... I usually reply ..."only if you want to. What would you like to do?" :-)
Typically people worry if they will lose control or if they might be made to run around clucking like a chicken. You can.......Though only if you want to but why?
Hypnotherapy can be used to help with the following and more
Most people just want to know what hypnotherapy is and what it can do and that is a very relevant question because it is a phenomenon that occurs naturally and one that can be induced to enable a conversation with the unconscious mind where change can be negotiated to help a person break through a challenge, problem or issues.
The unconscious mind is understood to be the repository of all of our human experiences and is considered to be that part of us that keeps us safe......The fight flight, freeze centre. This part of the mind is tasked with keeping us safe and from harm. (In scientific terms it is the reptilian complex which all living beings have. It comprises of the Amygdala, hypothalamus and hippocampus and is a part of the limbic system.The limbic system comprises of :- The Amygdala. ...The Hippocampus. ...The Thalamus and Hypothalamus. ...The Cingulate Gyrus. ...The Basal Ganglia. All the components of the limbic system work together to regulate some of the brain's most important processes.)
The Triune brain idea was formulated in the 1960's by American physician and neuroscientist Dr Paul.D. MacLean. It has proven to be a reliable model which has stood the test of time and explains how our brain evolved and how parts of it work. The Reptilian brain highlighted above in RED is the oldest part of our brain which scientists believe evolved 650 million years ago. This part of brain is thought to be responsible for fight, flight and freeze and is the survival engine one could say likely to be associated with instincts, dominance, aggression and ritual display. The paleomammalian complex ( The Limbic system ) thought to be 23 million years old is involved in motivation, emotion, parental and reproductive behaviour learning, and memory. It is the seat of anxiety when instincts /required drives are not able to met .The neomammalian complex is approximately 2.5 million years old is considered to be the conscious reasoning part of the mind. Logical thinking, Critical thinking, Will power, Abstraction, Language, learning, Planning and Perception originate in this area
The unconscious mind is also understood to be very malleable and open to suggestion which is why stage hypnotists are able to engage with a willing subject and that statement is KEY so please take note. For a change of state to happen the subject needs to be willing.
As a species most human beings are very suggestible and suggestions that are open and suggestions that are concealed are being made to us every minute of every waking day and we are acting on them, sometimes with awareness and sometimes not. Science and psychology has proven that we are very open to suggestion which bodes very well for hypnosis and hypnotherapy
In our human experience sometimes our subconscious in its best efforts to keep us safe receives mixed messages and gets things wrong and which it applies to future events and this is how fears, phobias, neurosis and anxiety are formed.
These promote negative unpleasant reactions in our psyche and give rise to things like limiting beliefs or adverse reactions to certain things like a fear of something or a phobic response.
The brain and the subconscious mind is essentially just a template matching device, so if a bad experience happened to us once and we had a strong reaction of for example fear, pain or anxiety to that event, if a similar situation arises that looks like a possible match to the processing centre of the brain, then, as far as the brain is concerned a match is found and the brain then finds the appropriate emotional response which happened before, so we might experience frequent pain, anxiety, fears, phobic responses and so on.
So here is an example:-
Suppose a person is very shy and has to give a speech to a room full of people and they freeze and make a mess of it. At least that’s how it seemed to them even though the audience may not have cared about the odd freeze or nervousness.
Now in the future, that person unless they find a way of dealing with that issue may always feel low in confidence perhaps, anxious, nervous and may do anything they can to avoid public speaking which could be a problem if their job depended on it for example.
Hypnotherapy can help overcome this as it has done for of my clients who consulted me on this very issue and found that what was once a problem is suddenly gone!
Now onto the question of what exactly is hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is made up of two parts, Hypnosis and Therapy. Hypnosis is a naturally occurring stateone that we enter into involuntarily many times each day and one that can be induced quite easily.
Hypnotherapy is the process of the use of solution based therapy using the naturally occurring state of hypnosis, where a skilled hypnotherapist immerses a client into a state of hypnotic trance where the therapist can work with the client in a safe ethical and supportive way to help the client get better or achieve their goals.
Getting a person into hypnosis is a relatively easy skill to learn but it is what takes place whilst a person is in trance that really matters.
There are various types of therapy routes which can be used to help a client to resolve their issues, such as regression work, hypnoanalysis, suggestion work, Solution and timeline therapy but an explanation of these different approaches is not relevant in this article. This article seeks to give a brief overview. There are many presenting issues which can be worked with in hypnotherapy but it must always be for the highest ethical good and must never be used as a means of punishment or revenge. In fact, any ethical hypnotherapist would point blank refuse to work in that area but many many good life enhancing things are possible.
There are various ways a person enters the trance state. We do it naturally every day and we can enter hypnosis through skilled guidance and also self induced hypnosis.The art of getting someone into hypnosis can be learned quite quickly, one only has to look at you tube to see the thousands of videos showing how easy it is to hypnotise someone. However in the wrong hands it is fraught with risk and serious consequences.The therapeutic work that takes place in hypnosis is life changing and highly skilled and should be left to professional therapists properly trained in hypnotherapy who have had effective proper long term training and undertake regular supervision and assessments.
After all, if you own a Bentley or Ferrari you would not entrust its maintenance to a person without the appropriate training and skill level. In inexperienced hands with little understanding or experience a lack of skill and knowledge can cause things to go horribly wrong.
As regards the hypnotic trance state and a person entering into it, what is not generally understood however is that when we experience a traumatic event or something shocking, the fight flight freeze response is automatically engaged and we go into trance spontaneously.
From the above it is possible to see that a person can be shocked into hypnosis. However, although this is fast way to drop a person into hypnotic trance it is very often not a pleasant experience and not at all the ideal way to get a client into hypnosis because of the methods used which can cause extreme abreaction and distress in a client.
All competent skilled ethical therapists should work in the clients best interests building rapport and trust and in my view, avoid the use of shock inductions because of those risks above which can have unexpected effects that are counterproductive to the whole therapeutic process. Once trust and confidence is broached all is lost as far as the client is concerned.
When I work with a client I use Ericksonian hypnosis approaches, which guides the client gently, comfortably and safely down into a deep relaxing slowing brain wave activity state.
From this first stage I use a deepening process before going into the therapy parts. Why?
Because Milton Erickson the world’s most respected therapist demonstrated time and again that for effective therapy work the ‘Critical Conscious Faculty’ (CCF) needed to be bypassed otherwise the conscious mind with all of its judgments, doubts, self criticism and limiting beliefs which stem from the unconscious mind would get in the way of the therapist being able to work with the unconscious.
(We need a clean route to the unconscious mind. It is effectively like running an antivirus on a pc with lots of windows open and other tasks running, it slows things down quite a lot)
Once a client is in a comfortable hypnotic trance, command triggers can be safely installed to facilitate a safe rapid hypnotic trance state on return visits dropping the client quickly into hypnosis. A rapid induction can work perfectly well for successful hypnotherapy once a client has been primed in the initial stage.
When working with rapid hypnotic induction, it is important that we as therapists ensure that the rapid induction can work as intended, to place the client in an effective useful hypnotic trance state.
We will look for clear observable signs. We look for things like rapid eye movement through closed eyelids for example. There are other things such as the temporary arm lock or hand lock to check that the suggestion for rapid induction is working.
(Things that might slow rapid trance induction down can be stress, if a client has had a bad journey getting to the appointment for example or something along those lines.
Trance ratification is very important here Trance ratification should always be tested and all competent therapists will do so)
Hypnotherapy is a natural and efficient way of creating positive long term changes in thinking, feeling and behavioural patterns in a person that can be used in a constructive supportive way to help create the type of life you want to live. In short it is a way of breaking through limiting beliefs and barriers in the mind. It is a natural way to open the mind to access the inner resources which each person has inside of them, often those inner resources lay untapped, unrealised and underutilised, just out of reach, but they are not out of reach, they are there waiting for you to use them.
Hypnosis helps to tap into them to create lasting positive change.
Trevor Wales Dip Hyp. LP. GQHP. BWRT Level 1 & 2 GHR. CRSST. CNHC. MIBWRT