Frequently Asked Questions

What is hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy is simply the use of hypnosis for therapeutic purposes. In other words, it is a complimentary therapy that combines hypnosis and other forms of psychological treatments. Through carefully constructed positive suggestions, I can help you make the desired changes within yourselves. Together, we can challenge and replace, limiting and damaging beliefs, thoughts, habits, with more positive and useful ones. You can access memories behind “this nagging feeling”, or a fear that’s holding you back. 

You can reprocess a traumatic event of the past with the knowledge and experience you may not have had at the time of the incident using the resources you have since developed and finally move on. You can heal your inner child. You can un-install undesired behaviours and replace them with more productive ones. You can break old chains and practice success. You can bring back to your life the youthful joy and fun you nearly forgot. There is no limit to imagination. For more detail on how hypnotherapy works, please visit the “treatments” page.

What do we mean by hypnosis?

Hypnosis is nothing obscure and I don’t wave a pendulum in front of my clients. It is a natural state of mind we go in and out several times a day. For instance, can you think of a time when you drove to a familiar place through the roads that you know well, observing all the traffic rules and yet, when you get there, you had no idea how you drove, because your mind was “somewhere else”? Do you remember watching a film, knowing perfectly well that it is just fiction, but you got so absorbed that you associated with the character’s feelings very vividly, even shed a tear or moved your head to dodge a punch? You would probably be startled if you sat next to my dad, when he “takes the penalty” from his chair, on behalf of his favourite football team’s striker. This is all “trance”; you have been in a “hypnotic state”.

Of course, when we use hypnosis in the therapeutic setting, we are after some health and well-being benefits and it is easier and quicker to obtain these benefits because in hypnosis people have a heightened sense of awareness, sharper senses, easier access to imagination and memories and they are much more open to accept positive suggestions, compared to other talk therapies.

How does it feel?

People experience hypnosis differently. Although the word comes from the ancient Greek “hypnos” meaning sleep, you are not asleep. You are conscious and in control. Relaxation is not a prerequisite of hypnosis (you may have heard of the “runners’ trance”), but you are usually very relaxed, completely disconnected from your immediate environment and daily worries, totally looking inwards.

Some feel heavy, some feel light, as if they were floating….time may seem to slow down or pass quicker, you may feel cooler or warmer….but so far, I have never met anyone who didn’t find hypnosis pleasant and relaxing, and all my clients open their eyes with a smile!

Can I get stuck in hypnosis?

Can you get stuck in a great book or daydream, literally ‘non-stop’? No. Hypnosis is a state of sustained attention and absorption that we can maintain only for a limited amount of time; so, we cannot get “stuck” in hypnosis. However, it is my job to look after you before, during and after you experience a hypnotic trance and monitor you every step of the way.

Every session ends with energising suggestions to fully re-orient you to the here and now, and to an alert, clear state of mind. I will watch you carefully before you leave my therapy room and make sure you are ready to go out and tackle the world.

“C” is for control!

One of the most frequently asked questions is “will I lose control”? The answer is simple: No, you will not!

Above, I have mentioned that in hypnosis, you become “more open to positive suggestions”. There are two very important elements to this statement. One, “more open”, two “positive suggestions”. This means that in hypnosis, neither I, nor anyone else can “make you do or accept” anything that you don’t want to do or accept. Your critical faculty, the capacity that helps you decide what to accept and what to reject may become more porous in hypnosis, which allows your imagination to run more freely, but is never totally by-passed.

“How about the stage hypnotists who make people cluck like chickens?”, I hear you ask. First and foremost, the purpose of stage hypnosis and hypnotherapy are totally different. The former is for entertainment, the latter, for therapy. A professional clinical hypnotherapist only uses hypnosis for the client’s benefit and is bound by the code of ethics of our profession. 

Research suggests that “people who cluck like chickens” on stage, are carefully selected by the entertainer during or before the show, from highly suggestible and compliant members of the audience, using a few quick tests. They are under audience pressure to behave in a certain way. They also have an “excuse” for shedding their usual inhibitions and it is the belief that “they were in trance and not responsible for their actions”. That lets them behave in a way they wouldn’t otherwise.

In hypnotherapy, we make use of this feeling of “freedom”, in order for you to come up with the most creative solutions to your problems. You are able to imagine vividly that you are already where you want to be and experience how it will feel when you reach your goal. It may be your target weight, your confident outlook, your happy, healthy self, being a director, getting an A+, feeling great when you hold your baby for the first time…  You can believe that whatever you have imagined will come true in the near future. You can practice success. I can only guide you on your journey but the change can only be made by you. You will learn to believe it first. Hypnosis is not a magic wand but it is a powerful tool for change.

From the physical point of view, even when you are deeply relaxed in hypnosis, you can move, open your eyes, talk, as and when you wish. If there is ever a need to be awake and alert, you are always able to reorient yourself to here and now and act as is necessary. So, you are always in control!

What to expect from a hypnotherapy session?

The first session is longer (90 mins) than the subsequent ones. This is because I will want to make sure that I get a complete picture of your mental and physical health and personal history. In some cases, I may ask you to contact your GP to let them know you are planning to have hypnotherapy and check that it is  compatible with the medical care you are receiving. We would then have a discussion about your issue(s) and your goals, for me to understand what you would like to achieve at the end of your sessions and devise a therapy plan accordingly. I will then use a range of techniques to help you make the relevant changes in your life and achieve your goals.

At the beginning of each subsequent session, we will discuss your progress, evaluate any issues or obstacles that may have surfaced,  and work together to solve and overcome them. My priority will be to ensure that after each session you feel heard and understood, relaxed, uplifted and supported to go out and make things better for yourself.   

Between sessions, I may ask you to practice what you have learned during the session, such as a relaxation technique, keep a thought or food diary or listen to a recording I may make for you to strengthen the positive suggestions. Nothing complicated or difficult yet very important. The more you engage, the better the results.  

As with every therapy, change can be subtle; however, it is not unusual that during hypnosis something clicks in a client’s mind and they have an  “a-ha” moment when they have connected with their subconscious minds. This is one of the reasons why a faster and seemingly effortless change can occur as a result of hypnotherapy.

However, it is important to understand that hypnotherapy is not a magic cure. As a matter of fact, unless your hypnotherapist has a separate medical qualification, we don’t diagnose and we don’t cure!

You need to be willing, ready and able to make the changes in your life. I am the  guide to take you down a safe route, show you the door to change and hand you the key of imagination. It is always up to you, to open the door, from the inside!

top image © João Silas

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