I've created a list of Hypnosis Frequently Asked Questions for you below.
For full information on fees, session length and what to expect, go to Book sessions.
What is hypnosis?
Hypnosis is a natural state of relaxation we enter into every day — while we’re reading, watching TV, falling asleep, waking up, and daydreaming. It is a state of highly focused attention. Being in hypnosis is incredibly relaxing and usually brings a sense of peace and well-being.
Is hypnosis similar to meditation?
The state of hypnosis is essentially the same state of mind individuals often strive for during meditation. What is the difference? In meditation, one generally seeks to clear the mind of all thoughts while in the clear and focused state; whereas in hypnosis, one is generally there to use the power of that state for a specific therapeutic purpose.
Will I be awake and fully aware of the process or will I go into a dream like/trance state?
Hypnosis is a spectrum with different depths. There are lighter and medium states, which is like having your eyes closed, being deeply relaxed, and being in a state of rich visualization, but some people do go deeper. However, you are always aware of where you are and the situation and you are always in control. See also 'How deep will I go?' below.
What does hypnosis do?
Hypnosis reduces or eliminates the activity of the conscious mind, calms the nervous system, and allows the benefits of a relaxed, focused state to come to the surface. In hypnosis there is an enhanced ability to:
Access deep self-knowledge and wisdom
Experience natural ease, well-being and grace
Step out of a negative thought pattern or perspective
See a more positive perspective, to embody hope, to release attachment to outcome and to forgive
Revisit and reinterpret memories from the past in a broader, more supportive context
Reveal emotions that may be associated with and causing psychosomatic illness
Influence physiological processes through visualization (medical hypnotherapy)
What is the conscious mind?
The conscious mind is the name given to describe a certain set of mental functions in the waking state. Typically when we talk about the conscious mind, we are talking about the analytical part of the mind — it is the part of us that judges, analyzes, scrutinizes and filters the information and experiences we encounter.
Our conscious mind is where we experience our running “stream of consciousness”, our self-talk, our fears, our doubts, and our sense of limitations. The conscious mind is rooted in what we generally think of as “reality” and generally only believes things to be possible when they make logical sense in the context of our past experiences. When the conscious mind is relaxed, and its functions subside, anything is possible. This is what happens when we dream at night — the most fantastical dreams of flying or other seemingly impossible feats and circumstances seem completely feasible and we believe them to be real. This is because the conscious mind is out of the way – dreams occur in the subconscious.
What is the subconscious mind?
Our subconscious mind is the name used to describe a certain set of mental functions that occur below our level of conscious awareness. These activities occur regardless of being awake or asleep. The dream state is a great insight into the function of this so-called subconscious.
The subconscious mind does not judge or filter experiences. It believes what it is told and generally holds onto those beliefs permanently. The subconscious is where all our memories and beliefs are stored, where our emotions are generated, and where our imagination lies.
As children, we generally don’t have very developed conscious filters before we hit puberty, explaining why children believe much of what they are told. It is around this time that children develop what is called 'the Critical Factor' where they start to question and analyse things. Prior to this, children don’t yet have enough life experience by which to judge or filter new information as being correct or reasonable. This is why so many of our emotional challenges as adults lie in events or circumstances from our childhood. Parents who don’t show love to their children or who abuse their children verbally or otherwise can cause deep-rooted negative beliefs in the child about the self and the world. Common examples include believing that they are inadequate, undeserving, unlovable, unimportant, not valued, unappreciated, etc.
So what makes hypnosis so powerful?
Hypnosis opens up the subconscious mind to the way it was when we were children – malleable and open to changes in belief. This is extremely powerful since it allows a skilled therapist to literally undo damage that was done through a person’s misinterpretation of earlier life experiences.
While regular psychotherapy (talk therapy) allows a client to understand on an intellectual level how an earlier life experience affects their current psychology (and in the process provides some empowerment), hypnotherapy targets the actual experience, reframes how it is perceived and completely changes the associated emotional context and resultant belief.
Working with the subconscious mind directly also allows incredible changes to occur physiologically. There exists a very strong connection between the subconscious mind and our physical body. Science is only beginning to understand the mechanisms of these connections, yet in the meantime we have found that simple hypnotic and visualization methods can improve or eliminate a large range of medical conditions.
How deep will I go?
How deep you will go, depends on a variety of factors:
The strength of your desire or motivation to reach your therapeutic goal: The more you really want to achieve whatever it is you are seeking hypnotherapy for, the more “on board” your whole being will be with engaging in the process.
The level of comfort and trust you have with your hypnotherapist (rapport): Allowing another person to guide you through the hypnosis experience can make some people feel vulnerable, particularly if they have never experienced hypnosis before and don’t know what to expect. Naturally, allowing one’s self to go to deeper levels of relaxation and comfort requires a certain level of trust and confidence in your hypnotherapist. It is important to follow your gut instincts when choosing a hypnotherapist. If you don’t get a good feeling from them, seek someone else. Also, it helps to seek a hypnotherapist that describes a life and healing philosophy that matches your own. A hypnotherapist with a value set close to your own will act synergistically to accelerate the change you are seeking.
Your previous experience with hypnosis or meditation: The ability to go into hypnosis, like meditation or any other activity in our lives, improves with practice. Individuals who experience multiple sessions of hypnosis usually experience successively deeper hypnotic states. Each session is training for the mind, and as someone has reached a certain depth in their first session, the feeling of that state is often noted in the mind as a reference point from which they can go deeper during the next session. For individuals with some apprehension of the process, this increase in depth is also likely caused by increasing levels of trust in the hypnotherapist, and a realization of how incredibly enjoyable the hypnotic state feels.
Preconceived ideas about hypnosis: If you have any negative, preconceived ideas about hypnosis that you have not had resolved with your hypnotherapist in your pre-session talk (pre-talk), you may not be completely open to the experience. This resistance can cause mental distraction from the focus required to both experience deeper levels of hypnosis, and achieve your therapeutic goals. Your hypnotherapist should ask you in the pre-talk whether you have any previous experience with hypnosis, and if you have any concerns they can put to ease. If you are not asked about any previous experience concerns, make sure to ask about what you can expect during the session — it will positively impact your results.
Your natural susceptibility: Individuals have a wide range of natural susceptibility. Some people go into a very deep hypnotic state during their very first experience, while others may take several sessions before getting to that point. The reasons for this variation in individuals likely depends on a number of factors, some of which incorporate some of the factors described above – personality (how trusting you are in general), ability to relax, stress level, and right brain-left brain dominance (highly creative and imaginative people often engage in the process more easily) are some of the commonly accepted factors.