What is hypnosis?
Western scientists first became involved in hypnosis around 1770, when Franz Mesmer (1734–1815), a physician from Austria, started investigating an effect he called "animal magnetism" or "mesmerism" (the latter name still remaining popular today).
The development of concepts, beliefs and practices related to hypnosis and hypnotherapy stretches from prehistoric to modern times.
Evolution of hypnosis
Although often viewed as one continuous history, the term hypnosis only gained widespread use in the 1880s, initially amongst those influenced by the developments in France, some twenty years after the death of James Braid – who had adopted the term hypnotism in 1841. Braid adopted the term hypnotism (which specifically applied to the state of the subject, rather than techniques applied by the operator) to contrast his own, unique, subject-centred, approach with those of the operator-centred mesmerists who preceded him.
Modern research tells us that Hypnosis is a state of mind, enhanced by, (though not exclusively) mental and physical relaxation, in which our subconscious is able to communicate with our conscious mind. This state of mind may be brought about either by oneself unaided, (Self Hypnosis) or with the help of another person. If this person is a trained professional, who utilises the resultant state to encourage beneficial change to occur, the process is referred to as "Hypnotherapy".
What is hypnotherapy?
Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is a combination of psychotherapy techniques and hypnosis. The aim of this therapeutic approach is to assist people (usually referred to as clients) in finding meaningful alternatives to their present unsatisfactory ways of thinking, feeling or behaving.
Solution focused hypnotherapy
There are many forms of psychological therapies but Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is distinctive as we don't talk about problems, or things that have happened to you in the past. We are future focused and use tools that enable you to take back control of your life. These tools are enhanced by the application of hypnosis.
In practice we often (but not exclusively) require the client to be in a relaxed state, this helps the client draw on their own imagination. We may utilise a wide range of tools and techniques that include metaphors, scaling and the miracle question, all of which can help the client come up with their own solutions to the problem.
Regardless of the techniques employed, the most important thing is that the client feels comfortable and at ease with their therapist. This is of particular importance in hypnotherapy, as the value of the treatment is greatly enhanced when there is confidence in the practitioner.
Brief, effective therapy
Unlike many other psychological therapies, Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is generally considered to be a brief approach in which beneficial change, if it is to occur, should become apparent within minimal amount of sessions. In actual practice, most Hypnotherapists will combine hypnotic procedures with other appropriate techniques; in particular I choose to draw upon CBT, SFBT, Mindfulness, NLP, Human Givens and Person Centred. Each technique is explained in Models of therapy I offer.
Who can be hypnotised?
Pretty much everyone! We each go into hypnosis naturally every six to seven minutes of the day. Some people are more hypnotisable than others, and this can be dependent on our willingness to be hypnotised at the time. This willingness will itself depend on a number of factors, not least of which will be the strength of the client’s particular desire for change and their trust and confidence in me, the therapist.
Many people believe that hypnotherapy is something that is ‘done’ to them, that they explain their issue to the therapist who then simply hypnotizes their problem away, as if by magic. But Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is a much more collaborative process and it's important to understand that change happens because you want it to and because you are prepared to take the necessary steps to allow it to happen.
Some common concerns
Clients are sometimes concerned that they will ‘lose control’ in hypnosis. However, general consensus indicates that regardless of how deeply clients may go in to hypnosis they actually remain in full control of the situation. Clients are able to talk if they wish and can terminate the session, stand up and leave the room at any time.
It is likely that the notion of a loss of control stems from most people’s misconception of stage hypnosis, where participants are apparently persuaded to perform all manner of acts. However, participation in a stage act is a voluntary process, (permission is already given to the hypnotist) and that there can be no such volunteer who is unaware of exactly what they are letting themselves in for.
At the present time there is no statutory regulating body for Hypnotherapy. However, the Complimentary and Natural Healthcare Council is a voluntary regulator working hard to ensure practitioners deliver a safe and effective service for our clients. I am a member of the Complimentary and Natural Healthcare Council and therefore abide by their code of ethics, thus ensuring you, the client, can feel confident you will receive a professional, confidential, client-led service.