What’s a Hypnotherapist?

The U.S. (Department of Labor) Directory of Occupational Titles (D.O.T. 079.157.010) supplies the following definition:

Hypnotherapist – Induces hypnotic state in client to increase motivation or alter behavior pattern through hypnosis. Consults with client to determine the nature of problem. Prepares client to enter hypnotic states by explaining how hypnosis works and what client will experience. Tests subject to determine degrees of physical and emotional suggestibility. Induces hypnotic state in client using individualized methods and techniques of hypnosis based on interpretation of test results and analysis of client’s problem. May train client in self-hypnosis conditioning.

Does Hypnosis work?

A comparison in American Health Magazine reported the following findings from a recent study:

• Psychoanalysis: 38% recovery after 600 sessions

• Behavior Therapy: 72% recovery after 22 sessions

• Hypnotherapy: 93% recovery after 6 sessions

Can you make me do something I don’t want to do?

No. You are free to accept or reject any suggestion I make while you are under hypnosis. If something doesn’t make sense to you, goes against your sense of safety or morality, and is not in your best interest, it will be ignored. This is why I spend some time with you working out the best suggestions for your problem. This way we can both be confident you will embrace them subconsciously.  

Can I get stuck in a trance?

Absolutely not. If for whatever reason you need to return to normal, wakeful alertness, you will snap back on your own. In much the same way that you cannot get stuck in laughter.

Will I be able to remember what happens?

Most do, some don’t. The majority experience is that you’ll remember some things and forget others. The process of therapy is one where a lot is said, often repetitively and the conscious mind goes wandering off. Amnesia can be created where an event is uncovered that is not useful for the conscious mind to remember. You will be aware at all times, and most likely remember only the things that stand out as interesting, or important for you.

How does all this relate to stage hypnosis?

The first thing to keep in mind when watching a stage performance, or a hypnotic session on TV, is that the subjects are volunteers. They have accepted to go under for the benefit of entertaining others. Therefore, any suggestions which are made to them and which they agree to be good for the audience is likely to be accepted. In general, these are extroverts, not the shy types, and they have a natural curiosity about what’s possible. In therapy, we are only interested in what’s best for your well being, health and happiness. And in that context, that’s where the suggestions must fit. It’s also worth noting that where stage performances are concerned, the participants are selected by the hypnotist for their natural ability to go into a state of hypnosis called somnambulism. Something that seems to be a talent for about 10% of people. For the sake of therapy, it’s not important to have that depth of trance.

What happens if I can’t be hypnotised?

Everybody can be hypnotised. Different people experience it in different ways, and go to different depths, but research into hypnotherapy has shown that depth has little bearing on the success of change. The fact is, your subconscious mind is always listening, and all you need to do is relax and go with the flow.

How many sessions will it take?

That depends on the issue. The first session is generally used to assess your needs and work out the best, most effective way to get you to your goal. Two to six sessions is usually enough, but it’s a case by case proposition. Consider it like a push in the right direction. Some people need a bigger push than others.

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