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What happens in a hypnotherapy session?

Updated: Sep 16, 2019

By Jackie Bland

Most people walk out of a hypnotherapy session saying ‘I feel so much better’, ‘that was lovely/great’, or sometimes just, ‘Wow’!

After two or three sessions most are making significant progress towards their improvement goals.

The sad thing is, most people don’t ever walk into a hypnotherapy session because they are too fearful, suspicious, sceptical or shy.

Maybe they have managed to confuse hypnotherapy with stage hypnosis and think that they are going to be ‘snapped’ into a state where they have no control and may make a fool of themselves. The old ‘you’re not going to turn me into a chicken are you?’ scenario.

The answer is No, I am not.

I'd like to see if I can help hypnotherapy to move a little further out of the ‘weird alternative practice’ wasteland and further into the new mainstream of healthy living. The new mainstream is about creating and maintaining health and not just fixing what doesn’t work. The new mainstream is also about recognising that we don’t have a separate mind and body, we have an integrated mind and body where thoughts and feelings really do have a recognisable and measurable effect on our health.

Hypnotherapy recognises this, and employs psychotherapy and gentle relaxing techniques which enable us to access that part of our minds that can help us change and improve both mentally and physically.

So, supposing you decide to give it a try. You might want to live with less anxiety or depression, manage your weight better, get rid of a fear or phobia, or you may need help to develop new goals in work, sport or even relationships. Maybe you are planning a pregnancy or planning for childbirth or want to manage long-term pain better, well what happens next?

You make an enquiry -

This is often the biggest step. You can pick up the phone, send a text or e-mail, or a message via Facebook – that gets you started and any initial questions you have can be answered.

First appointment -

The first time you see me for therapy I’ll spend a bit of time getting to know more about you, what the issues are that you’d like help with, and the kind of improvement you are looking for. I will then spend a bit of time explaining what’s going on in your brain as you are experiencing your issue, and how you can use new knowledge about your brain to find the solution that is right for you. I’ll also give you a free audio download to listen to every day that will help you relax and see things in a different way. Finally I’ll explain to you in a bit more detail how I think hypnotherapy can help you.

First hypnotherapy session -

If you are happy to go ahead with hypnotherapy to improve your life, your performance or how you feel about something then you will usually have the choice of going ahead there and then and having your first session, or booking an appointment for another time later in the week.

What’s been good? -

I’ll start the session by asking you to have a think, not about your problem, but about what’s actually good in your life right now. If you have a big issue it’s sometimes a challenge to think of good things, but usually people are surprised how much they can identify that is good even if they are feeling down or anxious or dissatisfied with some aspect of their life. It’s important to take time out to think about good things, however small, because it helps activate the part of your brain that is good at thinking up solutions and strategies to resolve issues.

How do I score? -

During the session that follows, one of the things I’ll ask you to do is ‘score’ your current happiness level. That gives us a starting point from which to work. During the rest of the first part of the session we’ll look in more detail at your issue and what it would take to begin to feel better about it – what would increase your happiness score by a point or two to start the process of bringing about the improvement you want. Sometimes it’s easy to see how you can take steps in the right direction, sometimes we have to work a bit more intensively at it, but either way there is always something that will start to make things get better.

Steps forward -

Once we have identified the first steps towards getting better we’ll make sure that you have a really clear picture of what would represent a way forward – not just a vague ‘wish’ but something really concrete and positive that will make you feel a greater sense of control.

Hypnotherapy -

Once we have completed steps 1-7 it will be time for the hypnotherapy part of the session. This is deeply relaxing and most people really look forward to this part (although most enjoy the ‘talking’ part too!). I’ll invite you to lie down and relax on a comfortable couch and you’ll have the option of being covered by a soft blanket or not. There will be some relaxing music and I will literally ‘talk’ you into a state of deep relaxation. Most people experience a sense of being neither asleep nor awake, but pleasantly hovering between the two. You are sort of aware but not aware at the same time, drifting and dreaming.

Deep relaxation and open mind -

Once you are deeply relaxed your brain becomes more available to positive suggestions and learning – it is literally more ‘open’. You can’t be made to do anything you don’t want to do, and your brain will only adopt suggestions that are for your benefit. The good thing is that while you drift and dream like this we can suggest ideas to your brain which help to reinforce your confidence, your sense of control and self-worth and self-belief. The process can help you to utilise the power of your own brain to bring about the changes and improvements that you want.

Metaphor -

Our brains love stories to help them process ideas or concepts. Often when we dream this is our brain processing the experiences and emotions of the day before and making sense of them. In hypnotherapy we also use stories which hold metaphors for the issues we are dealing with, so in most sessions I will include a short, metaphorical story, close to the end of the session.

End of session -

The session will end when I just invite you, gently and slowly, to return to full consciousness and open your eyes. There is no counting or snapping of fingers, just a sense of gently ‘coming to’.

Afterwards -

Once you are ‘awake’ again I’ll check you are OK and you can ask any questions you want to. We’ll sort out payment and arrange your next appointment as appropriate (the number of appointments necessary will depend on the issue/s that you have). Then you’ll be free to leave – with a bigger spring in your step than when you came in!

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