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1. Change in thinking
Over the years I have noticed a shift in attitude to how both the
general public and the medical profession view Hypnotherapy to
help with certain psychological and psychosomatic problems. It
used to be that most people thought of hypnosis was
only for stage performance, or a form of mind control as
portrayed in illusion/magic act programmes.
This has not been helped by the 'celebrity
hypnotherapist', appearing on TV chat shows, showing the
wonderful uses of hypnosis and helping people live on TV with their
Phobias, or build confidence after a life time of emotional abuse.
Unfortunately they then end the segment with an unashamedly
plug about their new book, and how it could help you change in some way. Diverting the audience’s attention away from the wonderful power of hypnosis and a chance for them to sell more copies of this new book, leaving us feeling that all this was not really about helping people in the first place.
Many hypnotherapists have tried hard to distance themselves from these celebrity therapists, and behind the showmanship hypnotherapy is a valuable and useful tool to help people make vital changes within their lives.
The shift in thinking has led more of the public and medical profession to make enquiries into using hypnosis to help improve a physical or emotional situation. Medical professions are starting to suggest to their patients about alternative forms of help, if the pharmaceutical approach isn’t desired or in conjunction with current medicine.
2. Looking for a bargain
The new problem seems to be that the general public don’t understand that not all hypnotherapy is the same. It is obvious from just watching the news channels, that money is a big issue within the economy. Therefore people are looking for a bargain when it comes to consuming daily shopping or any bigger purchases. But when it comes to your own health and well-being, is cheap better? Is the cost of hypnotherapy or any other type of therapy, a factor that needs to be considered when choosing to get help?
When it comes to choosing a therapist, most people have three big concerns:
(a) Is the therapy (in this case hypnotherapy) right for me and does it work?
(b) Will this therapist / hypnotherapist be able to help me?
(c) What should I be looking for?
I hope to answer all of these questions within this article.
3. What are the differences within hypnotherapy?
Both within my practice and other hypnotherapist I'm in contact with, have heard these words uttered so many times from new clients. “I have tried hypnotherapy before, but I don’t feel like it worked”. It is amazing that they have looked into hypnotherapy again to help them. It is normally because a part of them feels it will work for them, but just don’t know why it didn’t the first or even the second time. Throughout the hypnotherapy profession there is a vast difference in the standard of training. This can be because some therapists have been trained via a distant learning course, or they went to a course consisting of a small variety of techniques held over a couple of weekends, or the extreme of having to spend years studying a ‘Clinical Hypnotherapy Diploma’ which consists of mostly academic theories.
In the world of hypnotherapy, ‘highly qualified’ does not necessarily mean ‘highly effective’. That is not to say you should ignore professional qualifications, but what you need is effectiveness. No one’s psychological problem is intellectual in nature; it is
emotional – it sits in the subconscious mind. You need a therapist who is skilled in using tools which enable you
to get to the cause of the problem and fix it, without dragging up or making you constantly re-living your past like
in certain ‘talking therapist’.
It’s a bit like having your portrait painted. Would you choose an artist with a PhD in Art, who may know all there is to
know about art, its history, different art techniques, and methods or would you choose an accomplished artist who
can actually paint the picture and who does this day in, day out, not just for a living but for the love of it?
One problem is: all hypnotherapists are NOT the same. There are many schools of hypnotherapy, many teaching
Ericksonian style hypnotherapy. Often, this results in practitioners engaging in suggestion therapy - wordy sessions that either seem to ramble, or are based on scripts which are read to the client.
Other hypnotherapists are trained in Elman-based hypnotherapy, employing effective tools, specifically for the client, based upon what the client needs at any given point in the process.
• Suggestion Therapy-
Is the original style of hypnotherapy and is now regarded by most modern and well trained hypnotherapists
as being rather old-fashioned. However it is the style of hypnotherapy that the general public relates to the
most. Most people going to see a hypnotherapist for the first time expect to sit in a chair, be put into a
‘trance like state’ and be told what to do, or not to do, as the case may be. Suggestion therapy can be
usefully employed by a hypnotherapist as an adjunct to more dynamic therapy. Suggestion therapy can be
taught to a member of the public within 1 or 2 sessions of self-hypnosis, by a professional hypnotherapist.
This style of therapy can then be practiced quite easily by yourself, so this is why I suggest you stay clear
of paying good money to a hypnotherapist that just employs this method only.
• Regression Therapy (Hypno-Analysis)-
This works on the basis that every single thing that has ever happened to us is stored in our memory, in
our subconscious mind. But for our own sanity many of these memories have been locked away and buried deep within our subconscious.
One school of thought is that one must establish the root cause to find the cure. It is however often more interesting, enlightening and satisfying both for the client and therapist to find out the cause of the problem and to realise how it all started.
Regression therapy is also known as Hypno-Analysis and Dave Elman states “Hypno-Analysis in many cases will reveal the cause of a client’s particular reaction to a given set of circumstances. It is the difference between a broad plateau (psychoanalysis) and a pin-point analysis. A complete psychoanalysis takes time, years in many cases. Hypno-analysis takes hours.
To explain the difference between the two therapies I have taken an example from Dave Elman “Hypnotherapy”. A young boy in a school stands up to recite a poem. He has practiced it a thousand times and knows every word exactly, suddenly his mind goes blank, and he can’t remember the lines. He sits down in confusion. Thought psychoanalysis, you could find out why the boy forgets; with hypno-analysis you probably would not get such a complete answer. You would only find out why he forgot on that particular occasion. The pattern of forgetting would be revealed with the first therapy and the why of the particular occasion would quickly be revealed through the second therapy.
I would be inclined to apply regression therapy for the follow areas: addiction, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and lack of confidence/self-worth, panic attacks and phobias.
How to find a good hypnotherapist-
Do your research- Once you have decided you would like hypnotherapy, and think it could help; ask
for recommendation form a friend who has had successful results from a hypnotherapist.
If you don’t know anyone that has been, then you need to do your own search on the internet or local
directories to find a hypnotherapists in your area.
Once you have found one in your area, ask yourself; do they have a photo of themselves on their
website, do they look friendly and professional, do they have testimonials on their website, if so, what
do other people say about them. Do they work in a comfortable, professional and friendly environment?
Make contact- Next make contact with the hypnotherapist ideally over the phone, as this gives you a good chance to hear them in person and ask questions (write some down before hand). Ask how long have they been a hypnotherapist, have they helped anyone with your problem before, if so what was the results? Ask for an initial consultation, (this should be free, or a small charge to cover room hire) most ethical therapists offer this service. This first consultation gives you the chance to find out about each other and enables you to determine how comfortable you feel with the therapist. It is vital that you have a good rapport with anyone who is proposing to help you make important life changes.
How many sessions- Find out how much the therapy costs and how many sessions they think will be required. If the therapist suggests that you pay a large sum upfront, then I would recommend choosing a pay per session option. Normal professional hypnotherapists in the Cheshire area range from £55 to £75 per session. If you are paying more, for a so called ‘specialised services’ then the hypnotherapist is ripping you off. Also if you choose to go below these guided prices, then again you could be getting a below standard service, it could even take more sessions in the long run.
Cost- A good professional hypnotherapist should normally average 3 to 6 sessions of hypnotherapy, depending on what problem you are working with. If the client has a phobia, then this is normally done within 3 sessions. On the other hand weight loss is normally 4 to 5 sessions and other complex cases are around 4 to 6 sessions.
The role of the hypnotherapist is crucial for resolving long-standing and firmly entrenched problems and for helping to remove subconscious blockages.
If a hypnotherapist tells you that he or she can ‘cure you’ then find another therapist. But, if you are told that the hypnotherapist can help you to help yourself, then you can probably work well together.
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