What is hypnosis & hypnotherapy?

There are various stages that you go through during sleep as your brain waves speed up and slow down. One of the most significant stages, as far as learning and accessing emotional states is concerned, is known as rapid eye movement sleep (REM sleep). Dreaming occurs during this phase of sleep. If you are a healthy person you can expect to be in REM sleep for approximately 25% of your time in sleep. If you are depressed you may spend more of your time in this state of sleep.

However sleep is not the only time that you will activate REM. It also occurs when you go into a trance and that trance state can be as light as daydreaming and as deep as being in REM sleep (known as a deep state of hypnosis). The trance state occurs whenever your attention is focussed and locked in to whatever activity you are doing whilst ignoring everything else that is going on around you which restricts you to a very limited view of reality and makes you highly suggestible.

A natural state

It is a perfectly natural state that can be induced in many differen ways; for example, taking part in your favourite pastime or sport. In sport the term ‘being in the zone’ is often used or being in a ‘state of flow’ or being locked in. It can happen when you are absorbed in a good book or when watching a film. It can be induced by rhythmic movement or sounds like chanting. It can be induced by someone else focussing your attention on swinging watches or the sound of their voice and the words they use which is what therapists do and is often called ‘Hypnotherapy’.

Hypnosis is accessing the REM state artificially by focussing attention until it can be guided and in therapy this means guiding it towards a positive solution.

How can hypnosis help you?

In a therapeutic situation it tends to be deeply relaxing and opens up the solution-focussed part of your brain which can then be stimulated by techniques such as guided imagery, visual rehearsal, story-telling and the use of language to influence your thoughts, behaviours and emotions.

Are there any downsides to hypnotherapy?

Potentially there are if used by a poorly trained practitioner or in the hands of someone evil like Hitler or various cults and extremist organisations attempting to influence you to do bad things and it may not be appropriate to use hypnosis with a person suffering from a psychotic disorder. In this case, and If in any doubt, medical advice should be sought before undertaking a course of hypnotherapy.

The Benefits of Hypnosis

It is a great ‘tool’ to relieve stress and anxiety to lift mood, boost confidence and self esteem and treat phobias. It can be used to help change behaviours like smoking and over-eating and release negative emotions like fear, anger, guilt, hurt and sadness. It is also a natural way to mask pain and can be used as an anaesthetic. For a list of problems/conditions that can be helped by hypnosis in a therapeutic situation see this A-Z.

The 'tools' of the trade

Andrew utilises various different therapy and coaching techniques under the umbrella of Solution focussed therapy to help you to achieve your goals. These 'tools' include CBT, hypnotherapy, life coaching and Neuro Linguistic programming. If you have a question about his approach please submit your details in the box below.      


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