Think of hypnotherapy and the first thing that probably springs to mind is entertainers making unwilling participants seemingly fall under their control at a mere click of their fingers, allowing them to take part in a range of embarrassing tasks that they appear to be completely unaware of. For this reason hypnotherapy has many misconceptions, particularly when it comes to “mind control”, and many people remain cynical about its usage. However, hypnotherapy is advocated by many for its health benefits. So what can hypnotherapy do for our health, and how can it help us?
What is hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is a type of complementary therapy, and uses techniques which aim to achieve an altered state of mind. Essentially, it is a safe way of helping a person access their subconscious mind (or the store of all your previous life experiences) through relaxation, or a means of hypnosis. Although you appear to be in a trance-like state during hypnosis, you are actually fully conscious – you will be fully aware of your surroundings and will not be able to do anything against your own will.
Hypnotherapy sessions are carried out by trained hypnotherapists and the focus is always on the client and their comfort – if they feel uneasy at any time, the session will stop. It is used as a way to help treat certain conditions and to help break habits by finding out the underlying cause of a particular problem, with the aim of repairing or correcting it. Through this transformational process, the therapist will work with the client to determine what lessons can be learned from that experience, allowing healing to take place as a result.
How can hypnotherapy benefit our health?
Hypnotherapy can be used to help treat a number of health conditions including:
Hypnotherapy can help discover the underlying causes of addictions, such as those to alcohol or drugs. It can help to instil positive thought processes with the aim of maintaining these moving forward, rather than the client having to rely solely on willpower.
Hypnotherapy is advocated by many as an effective way to aid weight loss. It can help a person to understand the reasons why they have struggled with their weight in the past, and develop new healthier habits for the future.
Giving up smoking
Hypnotherapy is a widely used method to help smokers give up smoking. During sessions, a hypnotherapist may get their client to imagine that the smell of cigarette smoke smells like something particularly unpleasant. This has the effect of altering their perceptions and behaviour with the aim of eventually helping them to give up for good.
Reduce anxiety and depression
For those that suffer from anxiety and depression, hypnotherapy can help clients manage any presenting symptoms such as stress. It can teach techniques to develop positive responses to triggers which would have previously resulted in a negative outcome, as well as helping with positive thinking too.
What should I consider before choosing a hypnotherapist?
If you’re considering hypnotherapy as an alternative health treatment, one of your primary considerations should be on finding a hypnotherapist that is right for you. It’s important to do your research and choose a therapist that is qualified and experienced in helping people with your particular health concern. A helpful website in relation to this is the National Council of Hypnotherapy which allows you to search for trusted and registered therapists. The Hypnotherapy Directory is also an excellent resource for providing detailed information about hypnotherapy and also enables you to find qualified hypnotherapists across the UK. Once you think you’ve found a potential therapist, it’s a good idea to speak with them on the phone before meeting them. This allows you to discuss your options for treatment before going ahead to ensure it’s the right option for you.
What else should I be aware of?
Responses to hypnotherapy vary from individual to individual. If you are someone that is easily able to focus and block out distractions, then you may find hypnotherapy of great benefit. However, those who find this more challenging may find it harder to utilise the treatment to its full potential. By speaking to a qualified hypnotherapist beforehand, they will be able to advise whether they think hypnotherapy could be an effective option for your particular health concern.
If you’d like to find out more about hypnotherapy and how it can benefit your health, visit NHS Choices for further information.