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Frequently asked questions

What does hypnosis feel like?

As humans we are unique and complex and the experience of hypnosis is not identical for everyone. However some of the things commonly said include how relaxing the experience is. Some people describe having a feeling of weightlessness or floating, or a sense of dissociation. Sometimes a mild tingling in hands or fingers for a very short time after the session is experienced. This is due to the slow down in heart rate and circulation during hypnosis. This is not unpleasant, and is a positive sign. You will be physically and mentally very comfortable, and many people report a feeling of wellbeing after hypnosis, often sleeping better and feeling generally calmer and more positive. Sometimes people are suprised that they remain aware of what is going on around them whilst they are in hypnosis, and feel that 'it hasn't worked'. Please be assured that it is quite normal to remain consciously aware.

Will I lose control?

No. Please put aside any thoughts of stage hypnosis. Clinical hypnosis bears very little resemblance to what we see on tv and at live stage shows. During hypnosis your conscious mind remains fully aware of what is going on, although as you relax more this conscious awareness takes more of a back seat. You will remain aware of what is going on around you, and you will be able to stop the session at any time should you wish to do so. You remain fully in control. Hypnosis is not something that is 'done' to a person; it is a natural state that a person is guided into by the therapist. All hypnosis is actually self hypnosis, and it is impossible to achieve it without full cooperation and participation from the client. Think of the experience of hypnosis as being similar to being absorbed in a movie or a good book, where your concentration is entirely focused on the movie or book but you remain periphally aware of other things going on.

Will I fall asleep?

Very unlikely. If you do it will simply be because you have relaxed a little too much! I will monitor you throughout the session to ensure you are at the right level of relaxation. Despite its name coming from the Greek word for sleep, hypnosis is not sleep as we know it, it is simply an altered state of consciousness, similar to that experienced during mindfulness or meditation sessions.

What is expected of me?

You simply need a genuine and strong desire to make the changes for yourself. If someone else in your life is encouraging you to try hypnotherapy, that's great, but it is very important that you want to participate yourself. Just as you wouldn't go to see a dentist with toothache and refuse to open your mouth, you must be willing to engage in your own therapy. Also you must be willing to do any 'homework' I advise for your own benefit in addition to the sessions. Hypnotherapy is not a magic wand. It is a powerful tool when utilised by someone who wants to make changes and is willing to help themselves do so. Mostly the session will be about relaxation for you, and sometimes following some simple instructions. Be as open with me as possible, and together we can formulate a plan to get the most out of the sessions and achieve the changes you desire.

Do you guarantee success?

No. To my knowledge there is no form of therapy which will provide a guarantee of success. Just as you would not get a guarantee for any medical treatment or any other complementary treatment, neither should you from a hypnotherapist. If you do receive such an absolute assurance, I would strongly advise caution and be sure to check out the therapists credentials. However, I can say that provided you have a stong and genuine desire for change, and that you engage and cooperate with your therapy, huge beneficial change can be achieved in a relatively short time.

Is it safe?

Yes. Very rarely, a person supressing a traumatic experience which the therapist is unaware of can re-experience this to some degree during hypnosis. Should this occur, I would view this as a wonderful opportunity to free yourself of the trauma. I would use techniques to guide you through the remainder of the session in order to neutralise the memory so that it causes no further harm going forward. The number one feedback comment regarding hypnosis in my experience is how deeply relaxing and enjoyable it is.

What will happen at the first session?

At the first meeting I will carry out a detailed assessment with you. Occasionally in certain circumstances I may need to obtain approval from your GP or other healthcare professional before commencing hypnotherapy, in order to adhere to the code of ethics laid down by the NCH and to ensure your wellbeing. You will have every opportunity to ask any questions you wish, and we will proceed with the hypnotherapy session only when you are completely comfortable and have agreed an initial treatment plan with me. Please dress comfortably for the session.

How many sessions will I need?

This will depend on your presenting symptoms and how your therapy progresses. I will be able to give you a better idea after the initial consultation and session. Some people experience significant changes/benefits after as little as one session. For more complicated emotional issues up to 6 sessions may be necessary, and occasionally, for eg for addiction therapy, more. 3 sessions is the average number required. Treatment programmes of more than 1 session are best undertaken at weekly intervals wherever possible, although for practical purposes it may be necessary to have sessions spaced further apart depending on circumstances. In that case any tasks assigned between sessions become even more important.

Do I need to disclose any painful secrets or information to you?

No. Although I do encourage clients to be as open as they feel able, I also understand that some things may be too diffiicult to discuss. In those cases, a form of 'secret' therapy can be used to guide you through the release of the negative emotion and lead you towards healing. We can discuss the best methods for you as the sessions progress and will only work within agreed parameters.

Can anyone be hypnotised?

I believe so. Everyone can daydream. Everyone can enjoy and become absorbed in a movie, or a book. All of these things involve hypnosis, or trance. If a person wants to be hypnotised, they can be. If a person does not want to be hypnotised, no therapist will be able to hypnotise them.