Before attempting to define what hypnotherapy is, it is perhaps useful to explain what hypnotherapy isn't.
Hypnotherapy is not stage hypnotism, where willing participants are apparently coerced into all sorts of amusing situations to entertain an audience. A hypnotist cannot actually make you do anything that you do not want to do. In fact a better term for this phenomenon might be staged hypnotism. You can rest assured that at no time will you be asked to squawk like a chicken or quack like a duck! The people who take part in these shows are all eager volunteers who accept in advance what is going to happen, a fact that is admitted in Derren Brown's book "Tricks of the mind".
Neither can a hypnotherapist delve into to your mind and influence you to reveal secrets which you wish to remain secret! The client is always aware of what is being discussed and can at any time simply declare the session is over and regain full consciousness. There is nothing to fear from hypnotherapy, and much potential to be realised.
So, How does hypnosis work?
When something happens to us, we remember it and learn a behaviour in response to what happened. Each time something similar happens, our physical and emotional reactions attached to the memory are repeated. In some cases these reactions are unhealthy. In some forms of hypnotherapy, a trained therapist guides you to remember the event that led to the first reaction, separate the memory from the learned behaviour, and replace unhealthy behaviours with new, healthier ones.
During hypnosis, your body relaxes, and your thoughts become more focused. In this relaxed state, you will feel at ease physically yet fully awake mentally and may be highly responsive to suggestion. Your conscious mind becomes less alert and your subconscious mind becomes more focused.
There are several stages of hypnosis:-
What happens during a visit to a hypnotherapist?
During your first visit, you will be asked about what brought you in - what condition you would like to address. The hypnotherapist will explain to you what hypnosis is and how it works. You will then be directed through relaxation techniques, using a series of mental images and suggestions intended to change behaviours and relieve symptoms. For example, clients suffering from performance anxiety may be given the suggestion that, in the future, they will be able to relax whenever they want. A sports improvement hypnotherapist may also teach you the basics of self-hypnosis and invite you to practice visualisation and mental rehearsal in the quiet and comfort of your home.
How many treatments will I need?
Each session lasts about an hour, and most people start to see results within 1 - 5 sessions. You and your hypnotherapist will monitor and evaluate your progress over time. Children (aged 9 - 12) are easily hypnotized and may respond after only 1 - 2 visits.
Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) can be described as the technology of the mind, the science of achievement, and the study of success. It is based upon the search for and the study of the factors which account for either sickness or failure in human performance.
For over thirty years NLP explorers have studied or modelled the behaviour and thinking styles of particularly effective and successful people in business, education, sales, therapy, sport and personal development.
NLP allows us the ability to better use our minds, emotions and body to run our lives more successfully and communicate more effectively.
We experience the world through our senses, and neurology, and thus create our view of reality and act accordingly. That is, all behaviour results from how we use our senses; sight; hearing; touch and feeling; smell and taste and then process this information through our brains and nervous systems.
Linguistics refers to language and other non-verbal communication systems. It's about how we communicate to others and ourselves. A Jungian approach would say there is a spiritual ground of being that underpins our journey as human beings. That "language" evolves from our first cry - our first attempt to communicate and reach out. It's about pattern recognition.
The "programming" part interprets human experience in very logical terms. Every day we organize our thinking and behaving to get results. Our behaviour is not just random. Most of our thinking and feeling has a structure and a sequence. If we understand the structure, we can largely predict the result. If we have a recipe - know the ingredients and the method of combining them, we know if we will end up with a cake or a stir-fry. If I think I can do something, or I think I can't do something, I am usually right.