Is hypnosis safe? Dispelling myths about hypnotherapy
Today is World Hypnotism Day, a day created to educate people about the benefits of hypnosis. I’ve written before about what hypnosis is, and throughout my blog posts I’ve written about some of the reasons why people might seek hypnotherapy. Today I’d like to answer the most common questions I’ve been asked as a therapist, including ‘is hypnosis safe’. It’s understandable why a lot of people might be a little nervous about going to see a hypnotherapist. When most people think about hypnosis they think of stage hypnosis shows. These are events people attend knowing that there is a chance that they will be selected to go on stage and be asked to perform comedic acts for the audience. Hypnotherapy sessions are very different. People come to see me because they have a specific goal in mind, something they want to change or move on from. There’s a structure and a purpose to the appointments, not just entertainment.
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Is hypnosis safe?
Sessions of hypnotherapy with a qualified and insured hypnotherapist are very safe. Prescribed medication often comes with a long, and sometimes alarming, list of side effects. On the other hand, hypnosis has relatively few reported side effects. Occasionally a client will say that they have a slight headache or feel tired or slightly dizzy after a session but that usually passes quickly. Some appointments may be emotionally draining or difficult, but doing basic self-care and getting some rest has most clients feeling much better. The good news is that hypnosis is safe, effective, and compared to other types of therapy it’s very quick.
Can you make me do something against my will?
In hypnosis you are still fully in control. If you don’t want to do something that is suggested to you, then you just won’t do it. Hypnotherapy is a partnership, we work together to make the changes you want a reality. When you’re in a hypnotic state of focus, you may be more open to proposals or advice. In your normal waking state, you might ignore or brush off questions which lead you to examine long held, never questioned beliefs or patterns of behaviour. When you take the time to examine these beliefs and ideas you may find they are outdated and unwanted, leading you to choose soemthing different. But you are always in control and the one making the choices.
Can you ‘cure’ me in one session?
I don’t like to use the word cure. It has too much baggage attached to it for it to be a useful word when discussing outcomes with people. Often the reason people come to see me is for relief from a problem that has been plaguing them for a long time. Often the issue goes back over 20 years. While you will notice a difference quickly, it can take a little time and several sessions to fully cement the changes. As I wrote above, compared to other types of therapy hypnotherapy gets results fast. Everyone is unique and every reason someone comes to see me is different, but many people report that they’ve resolved their issues within 3 – 6 sessions.
What will an appointment be like? What will we do?
Every appointment is different because every client is different. Generally before I see you I will have had a chat with you on the phone and sent you a client questionnaire. We will have a chat about why you’re coming to see me and what you’d like to achieve. More importantly, we’ll discuss what achieving your goal will mean for your life. What will change? Why are you motivated to work towards this goal now?
Once we have a good picture of where you want to be and what it will mean for you to achieve this I might teach you some tools or techniques or encourage you to brainstorm potential solutions. We work collaboratively, but always lead by you. Each session of hypnosis will be tailored specifically for you and may contain suggestions or techniques for accessing your subconscious mind. Perhaps you’ll be told stories which help you to start thinking in new, more creative ways. Even though you may not consciously understand the meanings behind a story, your subconscious mind is listening and will take what it needs from the tale. When they emerge from hypnosis clients usually say they feel deeply relaxed and very calm, ready to continue on with their day.
You may find it helps you to keep a journal throughout the course of your sessions. Not only does this help you to process the thoughts and ideas that come to you as a result of the discussions we have, it means that you can chart your progress.
I hope this article helped to dispel doubts and answer any questions that you might have about hypnosis. If you still have questions or you’d like to have a chat with me to gain further information please leave me a comment or contact me.