What is Hypnotherapy?

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Iain Lawrence

What is Hypnotherapy?

Posted by Iain Lawrence 367 Days Ago

Have you ever wondered about Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy and if it might help with a problem you are having but you were unsure of exactly what it was and how it worked? Well hopefully in this article I can clarify some things for you and that by the end it will help inform whether it would be something that you would like to try.



The history of Hypnosis is very interesting and the earliest known example of Hypnosis being applied to treat people was in Ancient Egypt. The Egyptians would often with their sick induce a trance within a sleep temple whilst helping suggestions would be made to the person to enable them to fight whatever it was that afflicted them.



I often find that any scepticism directed towards Hypnotherapy as a useful means of helping people is hindered sometimes by how its portrayed in the media , sensationalist miracle promises from certain practitioners advertising, and the depiction of it by stage performers who dress it up as entertainment and emphasise a certain mystique about it. It is because of these factors that sometimes it can be viewed negatively as stage performers dress it up as a mind controlling instrument with embarrassing implications for people who participate in it but this is a world away from what I do in clinical hypnosis which is a valuable tool for helping people.



It is important to emphasise that in Hypnotherapy you are never not in control , you are in a trance for as long as you want to be though often I find that people remain for fractionally longer than my directions as it is so pleasant. If you ever choose to attend a Hypnotherapist they will likely initially carry out a thorough assessment of your problem and will likely try to find out the duration and severity of the problem and if there are different aspects to it. This is to try and evaluate which aspects are the most difficult to the most manageable.


The hypnotherapist may choose to do this using what is called a SUDS scale (Subjective Unit Of Distress) where each aspect will be rated from 1-10 in Severity. This scale can also always be revisited as treatment moves forward to measure progression.

Then beyond the initial assessment you will move to applying actual Hypnotherapy and you will likely be wondering how does that work and how will it help my problem?


Well the Hypnotherapist will  induce a trance through bringing you into an extreme relaxed state, this is done through listening to what you consider relaxing experiences and applying their own knowledge and looking at how you perceive things,  now  it is important to state that everybody has the ability to go into trance. In my experience some people are easier to put into trance than others and that is often down to individual personalities or how relaxed they may feel at that particular time but everyone can be induced into a Hypnotic state. It can also depend on the relationship between Hypnotherapist and client and often individuals who feel understood and validated by the clinician are the most likely to benefit from the experience. This is why I try to personalise things as much as possible for people and take the approach that no two people ever experience the same problem alike. 


You may then wonder but how can it help with my problem well this happens due to your mind consisting of two parts the conscious mind and the unconscious mind: The conscious mind is the awareness that you employ in your waking life, it is analytical and limiting. The unconscious mind is the part that is always present and always storing information throughout our life experience , it is less analytical and is capable of decoding things in a way that the conscious mind cannot. The most famous comparison between the two was by Sigmund Freud who likened the conscious and unconscious mind to that of an iceberg with the conscious mind being the ten per cent that we see above the surface and the unconscious mind being the ninety per cent below the water. We are most aware of our subconcious when dreaming.


In Hypnotherapy the unconscious mind is being amplified and the therapist is directing suggestions to it relating to whatever the problem is. This is often done through direct suggestion or the use of powerful metaphors that are of significance to the person and the issue . The experience of client is that of being aware but not aware like hearing a conversation in the background , it is a very enjoyable and relaxing experience.


In my own life as someone who has a therapeutic background of 13 years I think one of the best things about Hypnosis is that it can often inform people about the problem, and not only give initial symptomatic relief but ongoing long term relief through the use of self hypnosis.  This works by the Hypnotherapist providing the client with a recording based on what their issue is which helps the client induce trance by themselves . I generally recommend that people listen to their recording at least once a day and the more you listen to it the easier it is to achieve a beautiful relaxed self hypnotic state. I also think that any intervention that can help someone get to the root of a problem and then help them manage it can only be a good thing . For example an anxiety client may of only had  powerful anti anxiety drugs like Diazepam (valium)to help with their issue, but through working in their  face to face sessions what is driving the anxiety and then being given a self hypnosis recording that will concentrate on nullifying that  anxiety provoking trigger.  This is in turn can be life changing for some  people in helping them understand their problem better and being less reliant on other interventions like medication by having their recording to listen to.


I hope in this article I have informed any reader on how Hypnotherapy works and its obvious benefits and any person thinking of seeking Hypnotherapy for a problem now has a better understanding of it.  I would recommend anyone thinking of seeing a Hypnotherapist to ensure the individual they attend  are a member of an appropriate body such as the National Council of Hypnotherapy.  In summary I  truly believe that we often under estimate our own personal resources in dealing with a problem and that often the solution is lying dormant somewhere in our subconscious. However Hypnotherapy  unlike other methods such as counselling generally does not require  you to pour over difficult painful experiences for long periods of time you just have to relax close your eyes and listen.

Iain Lawrence

Article written by Iain Lawrence - East Kilbride

My name is Iain Lawrence I am a Clinical Hypnotherapist registered with the National Council of Hypnotherapy (NCH) and the Complimentary and Natural Healthcare Council. (CNHC) . I worked for over ten years as a Mental Health Nurse prior to becoming a Hypnotherapist . I have extensive clinical knowledge for... [read more]

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