One of the most common questions I get asked as a Clinical Hypnotherapist is – What is hypnotherapy and how could it help? Many people are pleasantly surprised by the answer. This article aims to share some of that answer.
First of all, what is hypnotherapy? Of all the “talking therapies”, there is probably more confusion and misunderstanding about hypnotherapy than any other. People write entire books about what it is and isn’t. I don’t want to do that. I’ll get straight to the point.
For me, hypnotherapy can be thought of as a way of helping you to understand and communicate with the subconscious aspects of your mind. By subconscious, I mean outside of your normal level of awareness.
Why would you want to do this?
Well, for example – most people take around 15,000 breaths a day. I’m guessing that you don’t consciously think about when to take each one of those breaths? Or how you take each breath? Or why the qualities of this breath may be different to those of the last? No. Because these are processes run by subconscious aspects of the mind/brain.
Much of our behaviour is also subconscious. It is managed and executed outside of our everyday awareness. Especially routine behaviours like getting dressed. Or driving a car. Or eating and drinking. Any process we carry out over and over again can become an automatic and subconscious process. This frees up huge amounts of conscious thought space that can be used for other useful activities like problem solving, decision making and logical analysis. It also means that you don’t need to learn to do routine activities over and over again.
The same thing applies to any thoughts, feelings and emotions that can also arise subconsciously – triggered perhaps by certain events, circumstances, thoughts or memories.
Many of the people who come to me seeking help for anxieties or fears feel that it is all “out of control”. Or that it is “irrational, it doesn’t make sense”. Very often, this is because anxiety and fear are generated by subconscious, out-of-awareness processes. Especially if that anxiety or fear has been used as a response many times before.
So, how might hypnotherapy help? There are many ways of using the tools that exist within hypnotherapy. Here are some of the ways hypnotherapy could be used:
- To engage your mind-processes in such a way that you maximise your motivation to overcome your challenges
- To guide you to explore and understand the subconscious patterns and behaviours that may result in the feelings of anxiety or fear
- To help you to resolve any conflicting mind-processes that may be driving anxiety or fear
- To help you to make mental adjustments that can assist you in achieving your goal
- To boost your confidence and empower you with the tools to continue to make progress day after day
Notice that at no point is hypnotherapy used to make the change for you. Nor is it the hypnotherapists job to control the outcome. The role of the hypnotherapist is to understand fully what it is that you would like to achieve and to then guide and assist you to make the necessary changes – often at that subconscious level.
And when those challenges are resolved and you have the tools in place to make any necessary changes, you may become consciously aware of responding to those old triggers in new, healthier and more empowered ways.
And that has to be a good thing, right?
Matt Addie is a fully qualified clinical hypnotherapist and mindfulness facilitator based in Macclesfield, Cheshire. Matt specialises in helping people with panic attacks, phobias, social anxiety, generalised anxiety, lack of confidence and other anxiety related issues using a range of techniques that may include hypnotherapy, mindfulness, neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), coaching and various psychotherapy approaches.
This article contains the personal views and opinions of the author, which may change over time. It is intended to be for information only and does not constitute medical advice. For medical and health advice, always consult a qualified medical professional.