Tell me about hypnosis...

Hypnosis is a natural state, and is well described as
"an inward focus of attention" (Milton Erickson, M. D. )

Your mind becomes very focused when you are in the state of hypnosis. While this is happening, your unconscious mind is open to beneficial ideas or thoughts – things which may now be processed in a slightly different way, leading the way to positive and lasting change.

Hypnosis enables us to access that part of our mind where our habits and patterns of behaviour are stored, and make changes where appropriate. Although the word ‘hypnosis’ comes from the Greek word hypnos, which means ‘sleep’, hypnosis is not sleep – you do not become unconscious, nor will you go to sleep. For most people, it’s a pleasant experience, and many people find it profoundly relaxing. 

But … it’s not just sitting there with your eyes closed being told to relax. Hypnotherapy and relaxation therapy are two different things. 

We all have the ability to experience hypnosis, and like any skill we get better at it when we practice. A careful hypnotherapist will spend time with you showing you how it all works, answering your questions, and giving you an experience so you know that you can and you are in hypnosis. 

Modern Hypnosis: a client-centred approach

Milton Erickson MD is considered the father of modern hypnotherapy. Since Erickson, hypnotherapy has moved on from the idea that successful outcomes are owing to the all-powerful hypnotist (and their ‘magic’ suggestions), to a better understanding that change cannot be imposed upon anyone. 

Erickson’s definition of hypnotherapy is:

“A process whereby we help people utilize their own mental associations, memories, and life potentials to achieve their own therapeutic goals.” 

Hypnotherapy has a long history of established efficacy, but how we practice today is a long way from the swinging watches and authoritarian commands of the past. The more old-fashioned way of practicing hypnosis is very authoritative, and it is not appropriate for most people. Generally, people don’t like to be told what to do, even in hypnotic trance. You know unconsciously what is best for you, and if we can suggest that you make changes for your own benefit, the effects will be positive and lasting. This is much more realistic than expecting someone to change just because they have been told to change.

The essence of good hypnotherapy is what is known as the ‘therapeutic alliance’ – the relationship of trust and rapport between a practitioner and their client. Good hypnotherapists take their responsiblities to you seriously, and honour the trust you place in them by asking for help. 

The suggestions you are given in ‘Ericksonian’ hypnosis can vary between very direct and indirect. It will depend upon your personality, the way you process information, your goals, and lots of other things. Different approaches work for different people, and it’s the job of the hypnotherapist to adapt to you, not you to them. 

You are in control - indeed, hypnotherapy shows you how much control over your life experience you can really have. We'd love to show you.