Hypnotherapy is one of the most successful, effective and enjoyable ways to improve our lives and overcome negative psychological issues. There are three main advantages of having Hypnotherapy over and above any other forms of therapy. Most people are aware that it accesses the unconscious mind, the part of our brains that carry our automatic and at times self destructive habits and behaviours, but do not know why it is so effective.
First of all hypnotherapy is short-term therapy. Most clients want to change as soon as they can and do not want to spend months and months or even years, and of course more money, on talking therapy. Hypnotherapy accesses the unconscious mind in a relaxing and enjoyable way. Since this is the part of our mind that controls so many behaviours, thoughts and feelings it is where we need to focus our attention in order to make adjustments and to improve ourselves. Traditional therapy can be very helpful and suits some more analytical clients who want to work out why they behave and feel a certain way. This can sometimes, but not always, brings that ‘light bulb moment’, a revelation that can sometimes help. However it takes longer because we spend more time reminiscing and indulging in depressing or even traumatising past events and experiences, which can keep one stuck in a negative frame of mind. That is why clients can find that they go though ups and downs during therapy, working through their issues in a conscious way, and it can take courage. Modern therapy has shown that we do not need to understand reasons for our apparent negative issues, that what is important is moving forward and we do not need to look back. Once we have shifted in a positive way, the need to know what was going on in the past drops away because we are happy and feel back in charge of our lives again. This is of great comfort to clients especially if they do not want to go over very painful and sometimes forgotten memories. We can make use of hypnotherapy’s ability to recover or go over some past events in a safe and more comfortable way, but this is really only necessary with certain conditions such as phobias for example, where it is extremely helpful. In fact I work with phobias more quickly than most other issues and we only need four sessions. Smoking can be dealt with in one double session. Other issues can take on average between 8 to 12 sessions.
Secondly hypnotherapy recreates powerful REM sleep. Scientific research has shown that we used part of our sleep, dream/REM sleep, to go over stressful events in the day and to convert those from emotionally charged memories into narratives that we have control over. This is an essential natural tool that helps us to cope with all of the stresses in our lives. However sometimes we have too much stress and we do not have enough time during the night to deal with it all, leaving us drained, anxious or depressed. So practicing hypnotherapy, both in the consultation room and at home with a self-hypnosis recording, is extremely supportive and effective. Most people who are new to hypnosis do not realise that it is a natural ability similar to daydreaming and becoming engrossed in a good movie, and so is easy to contrive.
Thirdly hypnotherapy encourages positive thinking, positive action and positive interactions through suggestions made during the trance work. There are two natural and effective ways (instead of prescription drugs) to move out of anxiety, anger and depression and the whole gamut of issues that come under those general problems, and to shift you forward. One is giving you more REM sleep and the other is to focus you on positive aspects of your life that keep you in your innovative, solution focused intellectual brain. When we do this we produce the rewards of the positive chemicals in our brains (such as serotonin) that make us feel happy, able to cope and strong. We all need some help with carrying out these mentally healthy behaviours. It is no good telling a depressed person, for example, that they should simply think in a positive way, or make more friends or go for a run! Apart from the fact that they would want to leave you in disgust and go back to bed, you would be talking to their conscious mind and to the part of the brain that is involved in our more basic survival mechanisms, the fight, flight and freeze parts of our minds. With hypnotherapy we access the deeper unconscious parts of our brains where we can encourage changes that allow us to move out of the grip of this naturally very negative part of the mind to the more forward thinking positive part and thereby make use of our incredible natural resources. We all have these natural abilities and unless we are suffering from more serious mental conditions, such as schizophrenia for example, where medication is so important, we can all change with hypnotherapy. Just as all of our personalities differ, so do our brain chemistries to a certain extent and of course our experiences. So some people may take a bit longer to improve than others, but the basic ways our brains work are the same for all of us.
To give a simple example of how effective it is to access the unconscious mind through hypnotherapy let us compare it to the fairly familiar idea of Positive Affirmations. These can be very useful, yet when we repeatedly say a short positive phrase, such as “I am confident and assertive” or “I am attracting wonderful relationships” we start off by saying it at a conscious level. It can feel uncomfortable and we do not convince ourselves, let alone find we can look at ourselves saying it to the image in the mirror. But after a while it becomes easier and such a familiar phrase, that it does indeed become an unconscious positive loop going round and round our brains. Thought patterns do create neurological pathways and our brains can grow new ones and let old ones recede. This is when it really starts to work! It is similar to how we learn new habits, such as tying our shoelaces or brushing our teeth. We have to learn it at a conscious level first. When we use hypnosis we bring such positive affirmations immediately to our unconscious minds, and circumnavigate the disbelieving or resisting conscious part that can block it. Someone who was told as a child that they would “never be any good at maths” for example, can have unconscious doubts and inhibitions as an adult, even when the bill comes to the table in a restaurant. They might not even know why they have this fear of or doubt about their mathematical ability. Their friend might try to give them some encouragement but it probably won’t get rid of those nagging doubts. So accessing the unconscious brain where this negative loop has been going round and round “I will never be good at maths”, and replacing it with positive self belief is faster and more effective than grinding through trying to say it to yourself. Imagine how important this is for even more damaging self-beliefs such as the tragic and unfair shame or guilt often felt by by people who were abused as children. Thoughts are very powerful and affect our feelings as well as our behaviour.
It is so exciting and uplifting to know that whatever our issues and/or self destructive patterns, whether it is addictions, weight, grief, confidence, obsessions, phobias, pain control, anger management or psoriasis, we have it within ourselves to improve and release ourselves from unnecessary suffering. Hypnotherapy is not only a subtlety powerful way to bring relief and happiness but is also extremely safe, relaxing and enjoyable.