What is it?

Hypnotherapy has nothing to do with what can be seen on stage where performers try to manipulate people into acting in silly ways. Unfortunately, much of the public knowledge of hypnosis is based on such shows which very often leads to a fear of hypnosis and a reluctance on the part of many people to seek for the help that hypnotherapy can give.

Somewhere between wakefulness and sleep is the state of consciousness that hypnotherapists use. That trance like state is similar to the one that occurs spontaneously in sleepwalking or daydreaming. Most people will experience hypnosis as a state in which they become more aware of their inner being, their emotions and state of mind so as to make it possible to work and transform those emotions and states which may have become a problem. You will not lose consciousness or awareness, but become able to gain a different perspective on what has been troubling you.

Most people talk and act as if the conscious mind is the prime mover behind our behaviour and regard the unconscious mind as something vague, that they are not really aware of. In fact, the unconscious mind is always working, monitoring and affecting all the physical and psychological functions of the mind and the body, from blood pressure and hormone levels to states of hunger and fatigue, even when we are asleep. The sum of what we have learned and experienced is also stored within the unconscious mind, and our memory holds far more than we can usually remember at a conscious level

Through accessing that unconscious mind, hypnotherapy can help you learn how to react differently to certain situations and help you to understand better the development mechanism of your mind. For example, if you have to prepare for an exam and feel nervous about it, you can learn how to access and strengthen your ability to relax and apply that to the situation of passing an exam. Once you know how to do that, then it becomes easier to "decide" how you would like to feel and react in a given situation.

It also is possible with hypnotherapy to access memories and past events which are still having a detrimental impact on the present. By understanding better what happened and how patterns of behaviour and feelings were created, then it becomes possible to transform how those memories affect us in our life. You can't erase and forget the past, but you can learn to feel differently about it.

What will happen?

Really, that will depend on what is troubling you. A good therapist will try to help you understand what is the root cause of your problem and how to transform your response to it.

Remember that you already have within yourself the answers to the problem, even if you are not aware of that at a conscious level. No matter how good he/she is, the therapist cannot just give you the answers that you seek as he/she cannot know what is the best solution for you. He/she can only help you to find those answers within yourself and help you draw on your existing resources to transform your emotional difficulties. The therapist will help you access and utilise those resources so that you may learn how to make better use of them.

What is it best for?

Hypnotherapy is particularly useful in helping people to deal with stress and anxiety related conditions such as panic attacks, phobias, insomnia and other emotional problems like depression, lack of confidence and self esteem, etc.

It can also be of help with problems such as irritable bowel syndrome, migraine, skin problems, ulcers, asthma and high blood pressure. It can be of great help in the management of chronic pain.

Hypnotherapy can also help you change unwelcome habits such as smoking and nail-biting, and deal with problems relating to food and body image. This is achieved by finding out what the real problem is and finding better, more positive ways to meet your needs.

Useful organisations:

The Hypnotherapy Association (HA) is a non profit making organisation run by practising hypnotherapists, offering a free referral service to members of the public.

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