Hypnotherapy has proved notoriously difficult to define and it has often appeared easier to explain it in terms of what it is not. Please see the FAQs page which aims to debunk some of the myths about hypnotherapy.
Hypnotherapy is a form of relaxation where you enter an altered state. Traditionally the word trance has been used for this state but this type of language just seems to strengthen the myths about hypnosis. A leading authority on the nature of hypnosis, Michael Heap, has defined it as:
” A waking state in which the person’s attention is focused
away from his or her surroundings and absorbed by
inner experiences such as feelings, cognitions and imagery”
Pg. 25 Hartland’s Medical and Dental Hypnosis
by Michael Heap and Kottigattil K Aravind
This state allows your mind to be more open to suggestion – then the hypnotherapist can guide you towards the predefined goals that you have set together.
All your senses are invoked to make it seem as real as possible, as what happens in your imagination can be as powerful as what happens in ‘reality’. After all, who hasn’t used their mind to imagine something negative happening and as a result felt physical symptoms, such as nausea, even though the thing you imagined happening hasn’t actually happened in reality. This is a form of self-hypnosis used in a negative way. Hypnotherapy uses it in a positive way to make your mind believe it has already happened in reality. Sportsmen use it in this way to prepare for a race or event. The more they can ‘see’ themselves winning in their minds, the more likely it is that they will win when they actually run the race.
Everyone can be hypnotised if they want to be. To begin with some people enter this altered state at a deeper level than others but it is a skill like any other and the more you practice the better at it you get and more relaxed you become.
You will also learn other skills such as being able to use your imagination in a more helpful way so that you can become fully absorbed in the experience. The more absorbed you are, the more real the experience will appear. You do not need to worry that you can’t become absorbed in this way – it is just like being absorbed in a good film or a good book or an interesting conversation.