Frequently Asked Questions
What is Hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is the process of using hypnosis to interact with the subconscious mind in an open-reflective process to create positive change in your life. There are many techniques and many styles and many applications of hypnotherapy. They all have several things in common: (1) a strong desire to change, (2) a state of deeply relaxed focus, and (3) language and visualization in relationship to emotions.
What is Hypnosis?
Hypnosis is simply a state of relaxed focus. It is a natural state. In fact, each of us enters such a state - sometimes called a trance state - at least twice a day: once when we are falling asleep, and once when we are waking up. That kind of fuzzy, timeless state between dreaming and awake is a trance state. When a nine-minute snooze-button seems to give you enough time to have an-hour long dream, that's a trance state.
There are many other times that people enter a natural state of trance. Driving, watching TV, listening to music, working on a favorite hobby or activity in the "flow" state. These are all "altered states of consciousness," and all are various levels of trance. Trance is normal, natural and common.
Some people leave their first hypnotherapy session saying, "I wasn't hypnotized - I knew what was going on the whole time!" Well of course you did! Hypnosis is not a state of amnesia or of no awareness. Just the opposite true, in fact: hypnosis is a state of very heightened awareness and focus.
Hollywood has perpetrated many myths about hypnosis, and not remembering anything from the hypnosis session is one of those myths. Only under special circumstances would a person forget everything from a session. Much more can be accomplished when the person undergoing hypnosis remembers everything.
I saw the movie "Get Out" and now I am scared of hypnosis/hypnotherapy!
Although the Oscar winning screenplay for the brilliant horror-thriller movie, "Get Out" by Jordan Peele is a great movie - it is just that; a movie. It is 100% fictional. It is not possible for a hypnotherapist to transplant one person's personality into another person's mind. I will be happy to further elaborate on dispelling this myth along with any other you might have during our first session.
What can't be treated with hypnotherapy?
Serious psychiatric or mental health problems are referred to a qualified psychotherapist or psychiatrist. Medical problems with the physical body must always be treated by a physician, who can, at his or her discretion, prescribe hypnotherapy for pain control, hypno-anesthesia or relaxation. Drug addiction, family dynamics disorders, clinical depression and other such problems need to be treated by doctors and psychiatrists, who can, at their discretion, prescribe hypnotherapy as a supplementary treatment.
Will I bark like a dog or cluck like a chicken?
Ahhh, you've seen a stage show where a hypnotist made people do all these crazy things, huh? Or, perhaps you have ideas from Hollywood's movies and TV. The stage hypnotist carefully selects his subjects (watch how many volunteers he has sit down), and he chooses people he knows WILL bark like a dog. They will because somewhere inside them is a part that loves to entertain. And they will do it because, deep down inside, they don't believe there is anything wrong with barking like a dog.
Hypnosis can not make you do something that is against your morals or ethics. All hypnosis is self-hypnosis, in truth, and no hypnotist can make you do something that you really don't want to do. That's why some people can be hypnotized to stop smoking and yet they still smoke. You have to want the change, agree with the change, and then hypnosis is an instrument for helping make that change better, faster, and permanent.
What will happen in our first session?
During our first session, we will explore the Theory of Mind. The mind is divided into four (4) parts: Conscious, Subconscious, Critical and Primitive (responsible for our Fight, Flight or Freeze reflexes). Hypnosis is a way to resolve issues between the conscious and subconscious mind when your subconscious is getting in the way and preventing you from living your best life. When we work together using hypnosis, you will work with your conscious mind while I work with your subconscious to achieve your desired results.
You will remain completely aware and alert at all times of all happenings. Many people say they experience a hyper awareness where sounds appear enriched, thoughts clearer and your ability to imagine and visualize is greatly enhanced. It is common for these hypnotic experiences to create sensations of deep relaxation, fluid warmth, a pleasant tingling sensation or buzz throughout your physical body. Many describe the hypnotic state as a complete and total escape from all physical tension and emotional stress, while remaining completely alert and in control.
Will I lose control?
This is another Hollywood myth. You always have control, and you can always hear what's going on. Hypnosis is nothing but a state of relaxed deep focus. It is a natural state that you enter at least twice a day (while waking up and while falling asleep!), and probably much more often than that. If at any time you are in trance and you wish to be fully awake, you can just count to yourself "1 - 2- 3" and open your eyes.
My friend tried hypnosis to quit smoking and it didn't work. How can I be sure it will work for me?
There is more to changing a serious habit like smoking than just a few hypnotic suggestions, I'm afraid. In the simplest terms, the person must want the change, and they must have a replacement for smoking. Hypnosis can be used to find a healthy, effective replacement, and then it can be used to help flip the subconscious over to the new, healthy habits.
While sitting in a room with 50 other people in a seminar, or listening to a stop-smoking CD can work, it is usually much more effective to have a personalized session with a hypnotherapist, who can customize the approach, language and replacement suggestions to match your lifestyle and circumstances. To effectively quit smoking with the use of hypnotherapy, it will require a minimum of at least six sessions but we can not tell you how long it will take, as it will vary from person to person.
How is hypnotherapy different than affirmations?
Hypnotherapy has the advantage of being able to communicate with the subconscious in a two-way fashion. Affirmations don't facilitate direct responses from the subconscious; they only seek to speak to the subconscious.
A post-hypnotic suggestion is also different than an affirmation: effects tend to be more direct, more specific, and more immediate when using post-hypnotic suggestions.
Other than that, the language of hypnosis and of affirmations is similar. Both are always expressed in the present tense, and always in the positive. If you ever meet a hypnotherapist that uses the words, "don't smoke" as a direct suggestion, choose a different hypnotherapist!
Isn't Hypnosis dangerous?
Myths about hypnosis, perpetuated by Hollywood movies, urban legends and fiction books lead people to think all kinds of things about hypnosis, including that it is somehow dangerous. Some people have heard that you can go into trance and not wake up. Or that the hypnotist can make you do things you don't want to do. These things are untrue. You are always in control, always able to "came back" to full waking state at anytime if you wanted or needed to. The number one job of the subconscious mind is to protect you, and it is always on the job. Hypnosis is a safe and beneficial procedure when facilitated by an ethical and trained professional.
Hypnosis is not a treatment or cure for mental illness, and people suffering from psychosis, suicidal depression, or that are on medications for psychological stability should only be hypnotized by their doctors or psychiatrists or by an experienced hypnotherapist with the client's doctor or psychiatrist present.