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FAQs About Hypnosis

What is Hypnosis?

To understand the answer to this question, one should first put aside virtually everything you have ever seen, read or heard about hypnosis from movies, television, or other fictional works.  Hypnosis is not a mystical, mysterious state.  In fact quite to the contrary, hypnosis is actually a natural state that we all encounter daily in our lives.  Think about a time that you’ve been daydreaming and perhaps you have caught yourself off “in a stare.”  Even if you were in a class at the time, the teacher may have been talking, but you were intensely focused on the daydream.  That is actually an example of a state of hypnosis.  Another example you may have heard about is something called “Highway Hypnosis.”  You’re driving along, there may be a seam in the roadway every 20 feet or so, and your tires start making that methodical rhythmic sound as it hits the seams. You’ve driven this way home hundreds of times, your thoughts are elsewhere, and you arrive at home without even noticing that you’d made that last few turns.  The truth is that we transition through hypnosis each time we go to sleep at night. 

So how does the state of hypnosis help me?

In your initial session you’ll learn a great deal about The Theory of Mind, but for now it’s simply important to know that you have a conscious mind, and a subconscious or unconscious mind.  The conscious mind which represents the tip of the iceberg so to speak represents about 12% of your mind’s power.  It’s where you exercise logic, reason, willpower, and superior judgment.  The subconscious mind however represents the other 88%, and that is where the deeper part of your mind processes what we refer to as “knowns, and unknowns.”  For now just understand that this is where habits, fears, phobias and other challenges are held.  Dividing the conscious and subconscious is an area we call The Critical Mind and it is both the guardian and the gateway to the subconscious.  When entering a hypnotic state correctly, and in a positive way this critical area of the mind goes into a state of abeyance.  In other words it opens slightly to allow suggestions to be accepted by the subconscious mind.  With this area closed, the subconscious is not readily accessible, which is why reading affirmations only works for a small percentage of the population who are known as hypnotic somnambulists.

Will I lose control?

Absolutely not.  The idea that a person can be secretly controlled in hypnosis is likely the single biggest myth and misconception about its use.  It’s actually disheartening to think about the possible numbers of people that might receive help from a hypnotherapist, but due to their misguided knowledge are scared to schedule the appointment.  In the example above regarding “Highway Hypnosis,” you were driving along, you may have made a few turns, and arrived home safely.  However had the traffic light turned red, you would have immediately “snapped out of it” and came to a stop.  You are keenly aware of everything that goes on in a hypnosis session.  In fact, people will at times say, “It didn’t work.  I heard everything you were saying.”  A fact we often see is that the more they think they weren’t in hypnosis, the more they actually were. 

To go into all the documentation, research studies, and reasons why you will not lose control is beyond what can be covered in this short article, but if this is a concern that is holding you back from hypnotherapy, simply tell us when we talk and we can make sure sufficient time is allotted to go over all your concerns, and make sure all your questions are answered.

Is Hypnosis safe?

Yes.  As has been referenced above, hypnosis is a natural state that we all drift in and out of everyday.  You cannot get stuck in hypnosis as has been portrayed in the movies, although once you become comfortable with the sessions, it’s such a relaxed, pleasant and enjoyable state that many clients are disappointed when the session ends.  In fact many clients who receive homework in the way of recorded hypnosis sessions choose to have the sessions recorded in such a way that they aren’t brought out of hypnosis at the end.  They can then choose to listen to them at bedtime, and at the end of the session they simply transition on into a deep, relaxing, restorative sleep.  They will then simply wake up as they normally would.

What if I don’t think I can be hypnotized?

First, you should make sure that you’re working with a Certified Hypnotherapist who is understands Physical vs. Emotional Suggestibility.  This will be explained to you in your initial session when your suggestibility is determined, but in short it has to do with how you take in information, and if it is more "Left Brain," or "Right Brain."  After that, anyone who is willing can go into hypnosis.  No one can force you to be hypnotized, it is absolutely a consensual state.

The next thing to understand is that there are various levels or depths.  In general when doing behavioral work in hypnotherapy such as working on habits, smoking, or issues at home, only a light to medium depth is required.  In fact it’s all that is desired.  If you were going in for a bone scraping procedure on the other hand and your physician had requested hypno-anesthesia, or perhaps for childbirth a much deeper state of hypnosis would be required.

Fortunately you can think of your hypnotic talent, or ability to go into hypnosis to be like a muscle.  Remember you are always in control.  Therefore in the first few sessions clients may still be a little anxious and not be willing to relax or let go, but as they get more comfortable, they begin to go a little deeper each session.  In fact often the hypnotherapist will have to bring them back up a little as they try to go deeper than is preferred for some type sessions.

Is hypnotherapy an option for children?

Children as a general rule are excellent candidates for hypnotherapy, provided that the hypnotherapist knows how to work with children, as they often respond very differently than an adult.  Some common reasons we will see children are for Nocturnal Enuresis (bedwetting), self esteem problems, family issues, academic issues such as test taking anxiety, and certainly for athletic improvement.  

What should I expect in my first session?

You should arrive to your first session 20-30 minutes early to give yourself plenty of time to fill out the general new client paperwork.  This is for the most part the general questionnaire type paperwork you’ve seen in the past, as well as a an authorization for a medical referral request from your physician if we are going to be working with you on anything with a possible underlying medical etiology. 

Afterward you will meet with the hypnotherapist at which time you will discuss the goals for your sessions and what you hope to achieve through them.  The hypnosis process will be explained to you, and your suggestibility type will be determined.  You will then go in to your initial hypnosis session where the groundwork will be laid for working on your goals.

How long are hypnotherapy sessions?

An average session is a “therapeutic hour” which will normally last approximately fifty minutes, plus charting, scheduling, etc.  The first session is often an hour and a half to two hours.  Certain types of sessions may run longer.

Is there anything I should know before arriving for my first session?

Dress comfortably.  This isn’t a job interview.  You will be asked to get very comfortable, and relax, so use your appointment as an excuse to dress the way you would if you were going to relax and have a day to yourself.

Arrive about 20-30 minutes early for your first session to allow yourself plenty of time to fill out the questionnaires.  A desk is provided in our reception area for your convenience. 

Do I need a referral from my doctor?

For general vocational/avocational self improvement, no referral is reqired.

For visits involving medical issues, not necessarily for the initial session, but…

If you are coming in for help with an issue such as Fibromyalgia, chronic pain, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, etc. then yes, we would need to submit a request for a referral before the second session.  Pain is a warning sign, and it could be potentially dangerous to turn it off without knowing what is truly causing it.  Only a physician is qualified to evaluate such a medical situation.  Afterward we can request a referral which essentially is statement from your doctor saying her or she has no objection to you seeking hypnotherapy, and doesn’t feel that it would interfere in any way with their course of treatment.  Likewise if we are seeing you or your child for an issue such as ADD, ADHD, PTSD, etc., then a referral would be requested from your licensed psychotherapist. 

As referenced above, in most cases the referral will not be needed for the initial session, as that session is normally laying the groundwork and solid foundation for the overall goals.  The referral will be needed however before any specific work can be done for anything with a possible underlying medical or psychological etiology.

Will the suggestions take place right away?

This will often vary depending on the type of suggestion, as well as your own suggestibility.  With one suggestibility type of person, the suggestions will often not begin to kick in for 2-3 days.  Three other very important points are:

    1. Hypnotic suggestions build on a Law of Repetition, which means the same suggestion gets stronger each time it is given.
    2. When working with behavioral modifications, the suggestions will be the strongest over the course of the next seven days.
    3. It takes 21 times (or days) to create a habit. 

More will be explained to you about Neural Pathaways when your goals are addressed, but for now just understand that the above pillars build a very strong foundation.  This is why for many types of cases it is very important to schedule the first three sessions, on the same day, seven days apart.

How many sessions will I need?

Of course this depends on numerous factors, but as is referenced above in, “Will the suggestions take place right away?” except for a few exceptions, a minimum of three sessions is normally suggested.

If you have other questions or would like to find out if hypnosis sessions may be of benefit to you or someone you know, contact us online, or call the office at 469-225-9040.