Hypnotherapy uses trance which is a natural state of mind that happens as a part of everyday living. Think of day dreaming to begin to understand how you naturally and easily go into trance. Or imagine watching a good film and being focused on what you are seeing and hearing. All the background noise seems to lessen as you concentrate more and more on the film.
In a hypnotherapy session, I guide you into a state of deep relaxation. As you relax more deeply and listen more completely to what I am saying to you, your attention becomes more focused because your peripheral awareness narrows and heightens. Now you are in trance. Now you are more open and relaxed. Now you can be guided by me to explore your thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, motivations, personal experiences and the deeper, often submerged influences over your consciousness.
Imagine an iceberg – three quarters of it is beneath the water. It is exactly the same for your thoughts and feelings. They are often hidden far below the surface of everyday life. All the time, they can have such a strong influence over your thoughts, feelings and the way you act. When you are in a trance you can begin to see and change what is beneath the surface.
What I can help you explore and deal with
- Understanding early life experiences: often these early patterns of attachment and loss have a huge influence over how we feel and act now. Trance enables you to therapeutically access and work with these early experiences.
- Intimacy: some people find it difficult to open up to others – often because of things that have happened earlier in life.
- Lack of meaning: at various points in our lives we can experience a lack of direction, motivation and meaning.
- Spiritual or existential emptiness: at critical points we may become aware that we lack a spiritual connection to ourselves, others and the totality of things.
- Recurring behaviour, ideas and dreams: using hypnotic free association and dream analysis we can explore the meaning and the message they may contain.
- Worry: we can often go about our everyday lives against a backdrop of worry. It becomes so normal that can go unquestioned.
- Fears: sometimes things have happened that create a perceived threat of danger, pain or harm.
- Phobias: an extreme fear or aversion to something. For many people it’s just not possible to ‘think their way out of them’. The cause may be hidden far below the surface. Sometimes you don’t even know why you have some of these aversions. Phobias about water, flying, heights are just a few of many phobias that people experience.
- Traumas: a deeply distressing or disturbing experience and the emotional and physical shock resulting from that experience. Other peoples’ traumas can effect us too.
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): persistent mental and emotional stress occurring as a result of injury or severe psychological shock, typically involving disturbance of sleep, flashbacks, dulled responses to others and the outside world.
- Panic attacks: a sudden overwhelming feeling of acute and disabling anxiety. These can come out of ‘nowhere’ and impact our lives in a major way.
- Becoming more resilient to stress: suggestion, guided imagery and situation-specific imagination work can be very effective to help build up resilience to stress.
- Addictions: dependency and cravings for cigarettes, alcohol, drugs or sex. We will explore what may lie behind these addictions and how you can move forward beyond them.
- Physical pain: highly unpleasant physical sensation caused by illness or injury. Imagination work and guided imagery can be very effective in helping you to control pain. There are many tools that you can learn to help with situations like surgery, fear of medical procedures and chronic pain.
- Jealousy: sometimes jealousy can take hold and destroy our relationships and our own sense of well-being. Trance can help you to explore the roots of jealousy and how to deal with it so that it ceases to interfere with your life.
- Low self-esteem: lack of self confidence can lead you to feel badly about yourself, feel unlovable, awkward or incompetent. This could be rooted in past experiences and relationships or in response to a particular situation you are experiencing now. Trance work helps us to understand and deal with the cause and the effect.
- Depression: a common but serious mood disorder that can affect how you think, feel, handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating or working.
- Bereavement, regret and loss: feelings of sadness and grief caused by the death of a loved, choices we regret, failure of a relationship or the loss of a job or role.
- Fear of death and dying: these are natural fears that we do not feel able to talk about in the everyday world.
I will also see clients who feel that, after talking it through with me, they want me to work with them on other issues.
I use the following techniques and approaches, depending on you and your particular issue:
- Hypnosis: I induce a trance-like condition through systematic relaxation. When in it, you are in an enhanced state of awareness, concentrating entirely on my voice. In this state, your everyday conscious mind takes a back seat and the unconscious mind is more easily explored. I am able to suggest ideas, concepts and lifestyle changes to you, the seeds of which become firmly planted.
- Hypnoanalysis: a very effective form of hypnotherapy that uses hypnotic trance and psychoanalytic methods (looking at how and why you think, act and feel in particular ways)to enable you to discover events in your past that are linked to strong emotions and feelings now. These may be holding you back or causing particular physical symptoms such as insomnia, migraine, skin disorders, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Hypnoanalysis enables you to achieve understanding and unconscious healing.
- Hypnotic free association: uses trance to enable you to freely explore your thoughts, images, ideas and consciousness in a state of relaxation and heightened awareness. I may say a word and your will have an immediate reaction. Or I may show you a picture and you may have an immediate reaction. You can then speak for yourself, rather than just being led by me. In fact, the therapist keeps out of the procedure as much as possible. Exploring free association in trance enables you to work through your own material rather than simply accepting the suggestions of the therapist. This way, you come to understand the root cause of things such as fears and phobias and your own imagery, self-narrative and recurrent patterns.
- hypnotic dream exploration: this is a creative combination of hypnosis and dream analysis that does not seek to analyse or impose an outside interpretation of your dreams. Instead, through the medium of trance, you are supported and guided to gain a deeper experience of the dream itself. Using a Gestalt approach, you ‘enter’ the dream and experience it from the differing perspectives of those within it, exploring characters, landscapes and their deeper significance for you. In this way you can discover the relationship of the dream to your own life and relationships.
- Regression and progression: these are trance techniques that enable you to recover and work on perceived past memories of things that have happened in your life (regression). Progression is a trance technique that enables you to journey forward in time imaginatively so that you can achieve reassurance, peace and connection to something greater than your own finite existence.
- Hypnotic suggestion: whilst you are still in a trance, I will deliver helpful suggestions that are based on outcomes or changes you want to happen. Language, metaphors and examples will be guided by what you have said earlier in the session.
- Ericksonian hypnosis: this is a particular type of hypnosis which is marked by the use of indirect suggestion (for example, “You may experience”), metaphors and storytelling as opposed to direct suggestion (“You will experience …”). The great hypnotherapist, Milton Erickson, believed that your unconscious is a positive force that can help in the healing process. The therapist listens carefully to the language, metaphors and narratives used by you so that they can creatively work with your unconscious mind to promote healing.
Most sessions will involve elements from several of the above approaches. Every client is different and I work flexibly according to your individual therapeutic needs.