What can I expect during the first session?
At the first session, the therapist will take a detailed history of your case, of past and current treatments and of any more general matters that may be relevant. You will be given a full explanation of what will happen during sessions and should be ready to take part in discussion of what you are trying to achieve.
In the first and following sessions, you will sit on a recliner, making sure that you are warm and comfortable, while the therapist guides you into a feeling of deep relaxation. This state of relaxation is usually achieved by the therapist talking quietly with music in the background. You may be asked to look at some particular thing, such as a light, or a slowly turning wheel, this will increase your wish to close your eyes.
Keep an open mind about how you feel during your hypnosis session. It may not be what you expect!
The feelings you have are similar to dozing off to sleep, being very peaceful and calm. The word ’sleep’ is often used but in this context, it means a dreamlike, hypnotic sleep and not a natural sleep. It feels like the relaxing feelings you have when you are dozing off while watching TV. You know you should get up and go to bed, but it feels so good, that you can’t get up.
The TV just hypnotized you!
You probably won’t feel as though you are in a “trance” but you will be aware that you feel both mentally and physically relaxed.
You WILL be aware of everything around you and YOU are always in control.
Some of the other signs of hypnosis that you may become aware of are;
- Watery or fluttering eyes
- Changes in your breathing, usually slower
- A feeling of a heaviness or lightness
- Warm or tingling feelings in the arms or legs
- A feeling that you are sinking deeper into the chair or floating over it.
- Feeling that time has gone very quickly
- Experiencing little muscle jerks in your hands, arms, feet or legs
Even if you do not experience any of these feelings, you will still know that you were in a hypnotized state.
Ninety-five percent of the population can easily go into a hypnotic trance with any single induction method. Simply by changing the method of induction, almost everyone can be hypnotized.
While in the hypnotic trance state the therapist will talk to you (actually to your subconscious mind) and will lead you through visualization, usually of a garden or a beach to relax you. He will guide you to recognize your positive attributes and abilities, enable you to view your problems in a better way, or gain insight into past and future behavior and make the desired changes that would be for your benefit.
Sometimes, if a client is very tired, they may pass from a trance into a natural sleep during the session.
This is not a concern as the subconscious mind is always listening and monitoring, so you simply wake up after a little nap.
Clients should have no fear that they will remain in a trance or that they will be controlled by the hypnotherapist.
Therapists have no wish to control their clients and in fact work to return control to clients whose illness, anxiety or condition is an indication of a loss of control.
Remember, YOU are ALWAYS in control
If there is anything that you do not understand, feel free to ask at the beginning, during or at the end of the session.
To quote an article in the June, 1977 issue of “Psychology Today”:
“People who are hypnotized for the first time are frequently disappointed to find that they experience nothing overwhelming. They feel mildly relaxed but they remain in touch with reality and in control of their thoughts. Contrary to what most people believe, a person under hypnosis need not fall asleep, or lose contact with his surroundings or relinquish his will. He is often able to recall everything that happened during the trance and will act perfectly normally.
Although individuals may consciously believe that the trance was extremely light or that they had not been hypnotically affected, the suggestions, which were made to them; will in most cases, exercise influence (unless the subject deliberately sets out to prove that the suggestions will not work).”
Physicians, psychologists and hypnotherapists have used hypnosis as a valuable tool in treating smoking, overeating and stress related problems. Hypnosis has also been used for solving problems such as sleep disturbance, lack of concentration and memory, fears and phobias and controlling pain and asthma.
You will find hypnosis to be a relaxing and enjoyable experience.
Remember, however, we need your cooperation, since … ALL HYPNOSIS IS SELF-HYPNOSIS; all we do is guide you into it.
Please feel free to call with any questions that you may have.
Can anyone be hypnotized?
Yes, but only if they want to be. The only requirement is the desire to be hypnotized (or at least allow it to happen) plus an understanding of what is needed to do in order to achieve the hypnotic state. The degree, however, varies from person to person. Occasionally a different induction method may be necessary. Most therapy sessions do not require more than a light trance state, which everyone can easily achieve with practice.
What if I can’t be hypnotized?
The only people who cannot be hypnotized are those who are deaf (with eyes closed, communication stops [however, there are new studies involving hypnosis without eye-closure, so the deaf can also be hypnotized]), who are so limited in intellect that they are unable to imagine what is being said to them and those who don’t want to be hypnotized. The fact that you have got to this page means that none of these factors apply to you. Just remember that being hypnotized may not feel as you expect, but that misinterpretation of hypnosis does not mean that you are not in hypnosis.
There are very few people who can’t be hypnotized.
What does it feel like to be hypnotized?
We all have experienced a hypnotic state many times, every day of our lives. If you;
- Have experienced “highway hypnosis”
- Have fallen asleep in front of the TV (but didn’t want to get up because “it just felt so good”)
- Have been so involved in a book that you didn’t hear the phone ring
- Started to play a video game and the next thing you know it’s 4 hours later
- Remember the feeling you have just before you fall asleep or before you wake up…
Well, then actually, you DO know what it feels like to be hypnotized. These are just some examples of the natural hypnotic state.
What is the difference between hypnosis and hypnotherapy?
The state of consciousness known, as “Hypnosis” has been a part of the human experience since man has been on Earth. It is a natural state of consciousness that we enter frequently each day. Hypnotherapy is simply a therapy, which uses the state of hypnosis as the modality to facilitate change. Instead of a hypnotic state coming upon you naturally, during hypnotherapy, simply listening to the hypnotherapist brings on the state. It is used worldwide and it is safe and natural.
Are drugs used? Is it safe? Are there any unwanted side effects?
No, only the natural power of your own mind is used to relieve symptoms and alter unwanted behavior patterns.
Hypnotherapy is non-addictive and safe with no unwanted or unpleasant side effects.
Will I be in control and aware of what is happening?
Yes, all the time. You do not go “out”, “under” or “to sleep”. You are not unconscious; you are in an alternative state of consciousness with a very narrow focus of attention. You can hear everything that is being said. Nothing happens without your consent. You have absolute control. However, you are extremely relaxed. Even when you are in a very deep state of hypnosis, if you choose to come out of hypnosis, you will… instantly.
Will I remember what happens during the sessions?
The majority of people, who experience hypnosis, remember everything they or the therapist say during the session. In some instances the therapist may need to remind you of one or two points that were talked about in order to trigger the rest of the memory. People often question if they were “really hypnotized” after their session because they do remember everything that happened; it is the nature of hypnosis to remember what went on during the session. Many people request recording their sessions, I suggest a good digital recorder.
Is hypnosis suitable for children?
Yes, usually from about the age of six. Because children have a wonderful imagination, they usually make excellent hypnotic subjects. Younger children can benefit from the relaxation. In 1981 self-hypnosis was introduced into the national educational curriculum in Sweden. A parental permission form will be needed prior to using hypnotherapy with children.
What is “Parts Therapy”?
If you have heard the expression “Wearing many hats”, you have an understanding of what “Parts” are. You act differently in different situations. A subconscious “part” is one of many different facets of your subconscious, which was designed by you for a specific function. For example, if you drive a car, remember when you first learned to get behind the wheel. Everything was new, exciting, challenging, etc. You had to think about everything; the ignition, the gears, the steering wheel, the turn signals, the laws, the lights, the other drivers… the list goes on and on about all the things that need your immediate and instant attention. When you first become a driver, driving is anything but relaxing… listening to the radio, let alone, singing along with it, is not possible. When you first become a driver, you need to concentrate 100% on driving. Yet after a few months, you have one arm on the passenger seat, you’re cruising along, singing a song… What happened? When did you become this relaxed, confident, driver?The answer…YOU designed a new “part” in your subconscious. It took many of the driving responsibilities off your back and you were able to relax and rely on this new part of your subconscious… your “Driver Part” is formed and will continue to help you drive for the rest of your life. This is a normal function of the mind and is appreciated, needed and wanted. But… What if you want to forget how to drive? That would be very difficult if not impossible. Now exchange the idea of a “Driving Part” for a “Smoker Part”. You can see how difficult it is for a smoker to try to “forget about smoking”.Parts therapy deals with changing that part of the subconscious that is keeping you doing a behavior that at one time in your life, you wanted but now you don’t.
Will the therapist have to touch me?
Some therapists will touch you on the wrist, shoulder, neck or forehead to test whether you are properly relaxed or to assist you into a deeper state of hypnosis. They should always seek your permission first.
Couldn’t hypnosis, in some way conflict with my religious beliefs?
According to the “New Catholic Encyclopedia”, the Catholic Church (the largest Christian organization in the world) feels that “hypnotism is licit if used for licit purposes”. Hypnotherapy is just a tool, albeit very powerful, which can help people enlist the power of their own subconscious mind in order to solve their own problems. In many respects the effect is similar to prayer or meditation.
Will my mind be interfered with?
Could I be influenced to do anything against my will or nature?
When I am in a trance can I be made to bark like a dog or cluck like a chicken?
Will I say something private I’ve never told anyone?
No, you will not do anything that you think is unacceptable. You cannot be “made” to violate your own values or accepted patterns of behavior. You would either reject the suggestion or come out of the hypnotic trance. “Stage Hypnosis” has contributed to this misconception. When you see someone on stage acting “silly”, you should know that they would find nothing wrong with the way they were acting, whether they were hypnotized or not.
Could I stay “frozen” in one position and never come out of it? Could I harm myself?
The trance state can be terminated at any time you choose. It is your choice to enter the trance state and you can always choose to leave it. If you were left in a trance state by your hypnotherapist or by a hypnotic tape, you would either return to full consciousness on your own or enter a natural sleep and awaken after a short pleasant nap. In any case professional therapists are trained to awaken clients reluctant to leave the trance state – in their own interests – after all, there may be another client waiting for their session!
What Is Past Life Regression?
(This definition is by: Florence Wagner McClain of the Llewellyn Encyclopedia)
“Past life regression is just remembering. Stored in your subconscious mind are the memories of all of your experiences since you became a soul with the awareness of your individuality. Regression is reaching into those memory banks to recapture the events of past lifetimes. It isn’t so very different from trying to remember events that took place during your early childhood. At first the memories may be dim and few, but each event remembered sparks another memory and another until it becomes easy.
In one way you might compare it to an information storage system that has had little or no use for a long period of time. Some of the file drawers are stuck, or rusty. There are a few cobwebs here and there. Dust is thick and fills the air making it difficult to see. Some of the light bulbs have burned out, and the file clerk has taken an extended vacation.
But-a little attention here and there, putting the system on notice that you intend to make extensive use of it, and everything slowly begins to shift into gear. Shortly the system is running efficiently, retrieving the memories and information you request.
There are many ways to get the attention of your ‘file clerk,’ or gain access to your subconscious. Nearly everyone has experienced a form of spontaneous regression. For example, have you ever met someone for the first time, but felt an immediate kinship as if you were old and intimate friends? You probably were friends in some past lifetime, and the presence of that soul caused your subconscious to produce the proper emotion for that far-past relationship.
Perhaps you have traveled to some strange place only to find that it is familiar to you-you have a feeling of being at home. No doubt it was home to you sometime in the past. These are not uncommon experiences.
Very young children often have fairly clear memories of past lives. Sometimes these memories take the form of daydreams or are acted out in play. Occasionally past life memories are the basis for some of the fears of childhood. The child who is afraid of water may have memories of having drowned in another lifetime. The child who is afraid of the dark or can’t bear to be in a confined area may have, at least, the emotional memories of the POW who was kept in the dark or confined in a small cage. Children usually forget past life memories rather quickly as they approach school age.
Some individuals have gained a certain amount of access to their subconscious through the practice of meditation. Probably the most familiar method of gaining access to the subconscious is through conventional hypnosis under the guidance of a trained Hypnotherapist. Possibly the easiest and quickest way to gain access to the subconscious is through guided relaxation. Simple instructions are available in a recent book on past life regression. A friend can guide you, and later you can guide yourself, through exercises, which will give you access to your subconscious and past life memories on demand. Using this method, you remain alert and aware and in complete control of yourself and the experience.”
What is “Past Life Regression Therapy”?
PLRT is the therapeutic use of a past life regression to determine what experiences your soul had in that past life, which is now affecting your current life. Perfected by Dr. Brian Weiss (www.brianweiss.com) among others, PLRT has helped thousands of people with issues in this life that could not be helped by more traditional therapeutic techniques.
(See the reading list for interesting books on the subject)
How many sessions will I need?
Simple problems like smoking may only require as little as one or two sessions. More deeply rooted problems require more sessions. Many Hypnotherapists offer a free telephone consultation in which to determine your needs and the likely number of sessions and agree upon their fee.
How long do the sessions last?
Sessions vary; you can assume the first session to be 2 to 3 hours and subsequent sessions average from 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
What exactly is Hypnosis?
If you ask 100 Hypnotherapists, you very well may get 100 varying definitions. One definition of Hypnosis is, “An alternative state of awareness characterized by a special ability that many people have to respond to suggestion with changes in their perception, memory, motivation and sense of self-control”. Hypnosis involves dissociation, which means that our (hypnotic) experience is separated from our conscious awareness.
Hypnosis, as defined by the American Psychological Association is “a procedure during which a health professional or researcher suggests that a client, patient, or experimental participant experience changes in sensations, perceptions, thoughts, or behavior. Any definition is necessarily vague, as the underlying mechanism is little understood. Some theories view hypnosis as an altered state of consciousness, others as a type of focused attention. Psychologists have recently researched hypnosis and found a strong correlation between the ease of putting someone in a state of ‘hypnosis’ and their level of suggestibility. Generally, under hypnosis people become more susceptible to suggestion, causing changes in the way they feel, think, and behave, although contrary to popular belief they do still remain in control of their actions.”
The International Medical Dental Hypnotherapy Association States, “During hypnosis, the body and conscious mind are in a relaxed, natural state, while the subconscious mind remains awake and receptive to suggestion. Hypnosis is an education-communication process to a person’s mind that allows his/her conscious and subconscious minds to believe the same message.”
The Canadian Society of Clinical Hypnosis describes Hypnosis as a “natural state of heightened and focused attention; Hypnosis is one of the most fascinating phenomena of the human psyche. Our ability to enter this unique state of consciousness opens the door to endless possibilities for healing, self-exploration and change. Hypnosis has been recognized for thousands of years and used for many purposes. When we enter into a state of hypnosis, we can utilize thoughts, talents and experiences in ways not usually accessible to us. With the guidance of a trained professional, we can develop our latent abilities that enable making desired changes in our thoughts, feelings and perceptions. Although hypnotic trance is a very natural, peaceful state of mind that most of us experience almost daily (e.g., while daydreaming), it has often been portrayed in films and television in ways that have been inaccurate and even alarming. But hypnotherapy, when practiced by a well-trained, licensed health-care professional, is safe. In addition, it is often speedier than many other forms of treatment–both psychological and medical. Hypnosis has been used successfully to treat numerous psychological and physical problems and conditions. As a growing body of research shows, it has often surpassed other forms of therapy in terms of effectiveness, without the unwanted side-effects of medication.”
The American Psychotherapy & Medical Hypnosis Association defines Hypnosis as a “process during which an individual, usually with the aid of another, allows themselves to become more suggestible. One can experience changes in sensations, perceptions, thoughts, or behavior. Hypnosis is generally established by an induction procedure. Although there are different hypnotic inductions, they are based on imaginative involvement with focused attention and concentration.”
What is the difference between hypnosis and self-hypnosis?
I have heard you say that “All hypnosis IS self-hypnosis”, what does that mean?
There is absolutely no difference between hypnosis and self-hypnosis, from a physical perspective. Hypnosis is the same whether it is induced by you or a hypnotherapist. The only difference between hypnosis and self-hypnosis is simply that with self-hypnosis you are bringing on the state by focusing all your attention inside yourself. When you discover how to induce trance in yourself, you may find it an incredibly liberating experience. However, if you have never been hypnotized or meditated, self-hypnosis is more difficult, simply because you do not know what to expect. Once you have experienced being hypnotized, the process becomes easier, faster and deeper with each session, until you can go into hypnosis so easily; you no longer need a hypnotist. That is when you become very proficient at self-hypnosis and that is why you hear the expression “All hypnosis IS self-hypnosis”. As the hypnotherapist I am only giving you suggestions, it is your prerogative to accept them or not. You might consider me your “training wheels” you’ll need until you can ride your hypnosis ability all by yourself.
During each hypnosis session I reinforce the ability to do self-hypnosis… again the adage, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him to fish and you feed him for the rest of his life.