Is hypnotherapy ever a one-session "quick fix" for a problem? Surprisingly, yes, although not everyone is always this fortunate.
Having conducted thousands of hypnotherapy sessions now, I have to admit that watching rapid change occur for my clients never gets old. I’m often astounded at how fast people can change using hypnotherapy if they’re ready for change. I’m also amazed that some people can have their problem sorted out in a single session while others can take quite a few sessions. Some clients never achieve their goals.
The difference between a single session “quick fix” client and a client that requires many sessions is usually just a matter of their readiness for change. One of the harder (by harder I actually mean lengthier) things to help a client with is an addiction to alcohol. The reason for this is that the alcohol is usually used as a crutch to the client. Most people using alcohol as a crutch are reluctant to part with it. For this reason, the first part of the hypnotherapy is dedicated to helping the client get to the point where the crutch isn’t needed or wanted anymore. Once this is achieved the magic really starts. I have had a number of clients that reversed this trend.
I have treated a number of businessmen that considered themselves to be alcoholics and had a different attitude to most people needing the help. These men displayed a fierce determination to stop drinking. I have the members of this group will always say something along the lines of “I don’t care what it takes, I don’t care how many sessions it takes, but I’m telling you now that I’m going to stop drinking at any cost”. Well, this shows a readiness for change that can’t be faked and these people almost always stop drinking, permanently, within a session or two of hypnotherapy!
It’s the same with clients wanting to stop smoking. Those that can look at a cigarette and honestly say to the cigarette “I hate you and I want you out of my life” almost always stop smoking in a single session. They were ready for change and because they were ready for change, change came quickly! This rule of thumb can be applied to most conditions treated using hypnotherapy.
I've also come across a number of clients that want their whole lives fixed in a single session. I call these clients “chancers”. They put themselves under tremendous pressure to achieve everything in a single session. Some of them do this because they’re struggling with finances and some don’t believe they’re worth the investment. They’re taking a chance. Regardless of their situation, this attitude generally isn't helpful to the achievement of their goals. They often end up “trying” too hard and that unfortunately just doesn't work with hypnotherapy most of the time.
Some people are in two minds about change. Some people will want to have a lovely slim, trim, healthy body, but at the same time want to continue eating a dozen chocolate eclairs a day washed down with their favourite soft drink. Hypnotherapy is a truly wonderful and powerful change agent, but you can’t normally change the rules of the physical universe with it! It would take a few sessions more of hypnotherapy to get the client to the point that a slim body is a greater priority than wolfing down pastries! Once this is achieved I have found that work progresses swiftly. Of course, the opposite is also true. Those that are ready to lose the weight do so very quickly with hypnotherapy.
Some people just aren't ready for change and never will be. There is no helping them. We each really do have free will and there isn't enough hypnosis on this planet to change this. Clients sent by their spouse or parent often fall into this category if they don’t want the change for themselves.
In a nutshell, commitment to change and readiness for change seem to be the catalysts that drive rapid change. Having the attitude ends up saving my clients time and money. It can’t be faked. The subconscious mind knows. Some clients need the change that they’re not ready for. This takes more work.
I often fall asleep while using hypnosis CD's. Am I wasting my time?
It depends. If you really are falling asleep you’re probably wasting your time. There is a chance that you aren't actually falling asleep but are instead experiencing a very deep state of relaxation and just aren't recalling the session.
Sometimes, especially if you've listened to the hypnotherapy recording a number of times and nothing eventful happens during the session, the session just isn't recalled. This is sometimes incorrectly interpreted as sleep when in fact it’s an effective hypnotherapy session that just not worth being recalled by the bored conscious mind. If something was worthy of being recalled it would be.
There is a “law of the mind” that recognises that repetition is very valuable to learning. This is why advertisers spend so much to have their adverts repeated so frequently on TV. It’s a good idea to keep listening to the recording with repetition if you’re not falling asleep.
If indeed you are falling asleep, you’re probably not getting much value from the recording. It might be a good idea to listen to the recording first thing in the morning when it’s more difficult to fall asleep.
Do I have to be “feeble minded” to be hypnotised? No. The exact opposite is true. You need to be intelligent enough to follow the hypnotherapist’s directions in order to go into hypnosis.
All hypnosis is self-hypnosis. As such, as professional hypnotherapist, the only person I’ve ever hypnotised is myself. To guide myself into hypnosis all I need to do is give myself the instructions into hypnosis and follow the directions into hypnosis. By doing this, the only place I can arrive is in hypnosis. I certainly wouldn't arrive in Beirut by following the directions into hypnosis.
It’s no different for anyone else wanting to go into hypnosis. All a person has to do to go into hypnosis is to follow the direction into hypnosis. Most people don’t have the directions needed to go into hypnosis and for this reason most people need to get these directions from an experienced hypnotherapist. Being able to following the directions into hypnosis takes a certain amount of intelligence which may disqualify the so called “feeble minded”.
Fortunately hypnosis is far easier done than said. It’s not rocket science and so most people are intelligent enough to follow the directions into hypnosis. What is becoming more evident to me is that it's the people with higher intelligence that are increasingly making use of hypnotherapy. There are several reasons for this:
I have encountered a very small number of clients that are too feeble minded to follow the simple instructions necessary to go into hypnosis. I have had the privilege of working with many people considered to be mentally disabled and most were able to patiently follow the directions into hypnosis. Most of them found benefit in hypnotherapy and returned many times. Very few, in my experience, have failed. I find this very encouraging.
Is hypnotherapy different to hypnosis? Hypnotherapy is a branch of clinical hypnosis. Before the word “hypnotherapy” was coined there was only “hypnotism”. Hypnotism is a huge subject and covers all forms and methods of hypnosis.
Basically there were two types of hypnotism practiced to begin with. There was the hypnotism used for entertainment purposes, called “stage hypnosis”, and there was the hypnotism used to help people to achieve their personal goals.
Because the general public in those days didn't understand how hypnosis worked, hypnosis, when used in the world of entertainment, tended to scare people. We have a natural fear of the unknown which we at last seem to be outgrowing as a species. For this reason, those people that practiced hypnotism to help others wanted to distance their art from that of stage hypnosis, even though some of the best hypnotists started out entertaining the public with hypnosis. They came up with the term “clinical hypnosis”.
Once clinical hypnosis had been differentiated from stage hypnosis, people started to specialise in the therapeutic branch of hypnotism. The word “therapy” literally means "curing” or “healing”. The objective of therapy is to correct health problems and so the word “hypnotherapy” was born to promote the use of hypnosis to help people to correct their heath problems.
Many people today would be surprised at the number of health problems hypnotherapy is able to help with. Hospitals in the UK are starting to employ hypnotherapists to help their patients that suffer with IBS and to help with painless childbirth. A number of years ago the Queen of Belgium had thyroid surgery and opted for “hypnosedation” instead of chemical anaesthesia. Hypnotherapy is also used to control pain as demonstrated in class below by one of the true masters of hypnotherapy, Gerald F Kein.
As the world continues to learn more about what consciousness is and how it works, more people are turning to hypnotherapy for answers including the doctors and the scientists. Hypnotherapy is non-invasive; there is no cutting, stitching, injecting or swallowing of chemicals in hypnotherapy. It’s also much faster, and thus cheaper and more effective than other forms of therapy.
How is hypnosis different from using affirmations? Hypnosis is different to using affirmations due to “critical factor bypass”. The “critical factor” is a filter in the conscious mind that decides whether you’re comfortable or not with incoming information. If I say “the sky is green and the grass is blue”, unless you’re an alien, you’d probably feel uncomfortable with that information.
That uncomfortable feeling is your critical factor rejecting that information. If I say “the sky is blue and the grass is green” you’re probably comfortable with that statement and means your critical factor didn't reject it.
If a morbidly obese person says to himself, “I'm slim, trim health and happy”, he’d probably feel a little uncomfortable with that affirmation. In this case, because the critical factor knows it’s not true, the information is rejected. It doesn't matter how many times he says it to himself, it’s not going to stick any-time soon. How many times would you have to tell yourself that the sky is green before it you’d believe it?
It would take a lot of work and a lot of time for that affirmation to get through the critical factor to become a subconscious fact. Of course, the subconscious is like an organic computer and so once it is a subconscious fact, it’s just a matter of time before the subconscious mind turns that information into reality. It’s just a matter of time before the person is slim, trim, healthy and happy.
Now there are some short cuts. It’s useful to know that the conscious mind is a very focussed mind and as such can only be in one place at a time. You can only focus on one thing at a time. If you give yourself affirmations and at the same time distract your conscious mind, the chances of these suggestions going through to the subconscious are greatly improved.
For example, if you repeated the affirmation “I'm slim, trim, healthy and happy” to yourself while tapping away at different parts of your face and forehead, your conscious mind would probably be too busy with the tapping to reject all of the affirmations (critical factor bypass). Of course this method would be far faster than just using affirmation alone, but becomes far more powerful with repetition.
This method may also sound a lot like “Emotional Freedom Technique” and having studied hypnosis since childhood, I'm sure it’s no different. There are other methods one can employ to bypass the critical factor too, but by far the most effective I know of is hypnosis. You can achieve a far superior degree of critical factor bypass with hypnosis and this allows information that you consider “reasonable and pleasing” to flow easily into the subconscious mind at a greatly increased rate.
To demonstrate how well hypnosis can work for you, enjoy the Ormond McGill clip below. It’s shorter than ten minutes and very informative. Bear in mind while watching, the client will only accept suggestions deemed “reasonable and pleasing”.
Is it normal to feel nervous the first time I’m Hypnotised? Almost all of my clients feel a little nervous about going into hypnosis for the first time. The reason most people feel a little nervous about hypnosis the first time is because they’re concerned, at some level, about losing control or blurting out their secrets. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. You are always in control while in hypnosis.
Most of these erroneous perceptions come from the world of entertainment. Cartoons, stage hypnosis and novels create the false impression that the hypnotist has some power over the person going into hypnosis.
This is obviously wrong. If you think about it rationally for a moment, hypnosis would be outlawed if it could make people lose control of themselves. Hypnosis would be illegal if it could get people to do things they didn’t want to do. Do you honestly think politicians would allow me, or any other hypnotist, to practice hypnotherapy if it meant I could get you to vote for me instead of them?
The facts are very simple. People will only do what they consider both reasonable and pleasing while in hypnosis. A suggestion that is reasonable but not pleasing will not be accepted and nor will a suggestion that’s pleasing but not reasonable. Stage hypnotists will only use volunteers and the volunteers must all think that it’s reasonable and pleasing to act the fool for the audience or the show will fail. Watch the last scene in the short video below to see what I mean.
I realise of course that just because I told that you’re in control probably won’t prevent you from feeling a little nervous about your first session. It’s normal to have a measure of fear for the unknown. That’s perfectly okay. A good hypnotherapist will be aware of this and will help you to understand what hypnosis is and how it works during the preliminary consultation. A good hypnotherapist will work with you at your pace until you’re feeling comfortable with the process. Only then, and with your permission, will your hypnotherapist guide you into hypnosis so you can experience it. A preliminary consultation isn't a brief meeting with the practitioner so you can meet. It’s a very important session designed to help you to become comfortable with the process so you don’t have to spend a lot of time and money learning through trial and error.
Most people are surprised to discover that hypnosis feels very much like sitting in a comfortable chair with your eyes closed while you listen to someone else giving you directions. Which reminds me; with hypnosis there is no injecting. There is no cutting, stitching or diagnosing. You don’t have to swallow chemicals or breathe in any gasses either. Registered hypnotherapists are required to abide by strict codes of conduct and ethics. All the hypnotherapist ever does is talk to you and so there’s no need to be nervous at all, but it’s okay if you are.
What is Hypnosis? Hypnosis is a tool that allows you to move your awareness from where it is now, to where it needs to be, in order to achieve your goals more easily. It's a naturally occurring focussed state of enhanced suggestibility that creates a communication tool between the conscious and subconscious portions of the mind.
The technical definition for hypnosis is “the bypassing of the critical factor of the conscious mind and the establishment of acceptable selective thinking”.
What this means is that two things need to happen at the same time for hypnosis to occur in a person’s consciousness:
First, the analytical part of the mind that normally rejects new information is bypassed.
Secondly, information that’s acceptable to the person in hypnosis is accepted into the subconscious mind, replacing the old information. Once the old information is replaced it can no longer be acted on. This is very similar to resetting the date and time on your mobile phone. The mobile phone will only use the new information once it's been accepted and this principle is equally true with your mind.
It’s important to note that only information that’s reasonable and pleasing will be accepted by the subconscious mind. The subconscious minds primary task is to keep you safe. To do this it stores all the information you've accumulated in your life and uses this as a reference. The subconscious mind does not need to “think”. It already knows what’s good for you, and what isn't, based on your past experience. For this reason you can’t get people to do what they don’t want to do in hypnosis.
Even stage hypnotists can’t get people to do what they don’t want to do. Stage hypnotists have to use volunteers on stage to present a successful show. All the people on stage during a stage hypnosis show will only do what they consider to be reasonable and pleasing. The stage hypnotist has to fill his stage with people that consider it reasonable and pleasing to play the fool on stage to entertain the audience, or the show will fail. For this reason volunteers are taken from the audience.
I tried hypnosis before and it didn't work. Why Not? There could be several possible reasons for hypnosis to have not worked. It’s possible you were not hypnotised. It’s possible you weren't in deep enough hypnosis. You may be treating the symptom before treating the cause. Also, secondary gain issues may have prevented you from achieving your goal in hypnosis.
It’s possible you weren't Hypnotised.
It’s possible that you didn't go into hypnosis. There could be many reasons for this. Some people don’t know what to expect while going into hypnosis and are overly cautious. As a result, they don’t follow the hypnotherapist’s instructions and don't go into hypnosis. Some people do the opposite and try too hard which can also get in the way.
The solution to this is to know exactly what to expect before going into hypnosis. All good clinical hypnotherapists will conduct a thorough preliminary consultation with all new clients. This is a very important session that will explain what hypnosis is, how it works and what to expect before you attempt hypnosis. If you neglect this session you will have to learn what hypnosis is and how to do it through trial and error which is time consuming and expensive. Always check that your hypnotherapist conducts a thorough preliminary consultation with you. I consider the preliminary consultation to be the most important session and it should most definitely not be a ten minute meeting to acquaint yourself with the person you’ll be working with.
Who can’t be Hypnotised? This is a common concern expressed by those on tight budgets. People on tight budgets are concerned that’ll have to pay for many hypnotherapy sessions only to discover that they can’t be hypnotised.
The good news is that very few people can’t be hypnotised. Hypnosis is an enjoyable natural state of awareness. As such, hypnosis is a state most people experience often without ever noticing. Unfortunately there isn’t an alarm that goes off in your mind every time you enter hypnosis.
The only people that can’t be hypnotised are those that don’t want to be, those that aren’t intelligent enough and those that have trouble communicating with the hypnotist.
People that don’t want to go into Hypnosis.
You can’t hypnotise people that don’t want to go into hypnosis. It’s just not going to happen. If I ask someone to close their eyes and they refuse, the session has just ended. Hypnosis is a process and if you can’t get past the first step the process is over. Hypnosis is a one-hundred-percent consent state. If there’s no consent, there’s no hypnosis.
There are many reasons for not wanting to go into hypnosis, most of which have something to do with fear.
The biggest fear most people have to do with hypnosis is that they’ll lose control of themselves and embarrass themselves. This idea usually comes from watching stage hypnosis. What these people don’t realise is that stage hypnotists only ever use volunteers. Stage hypnotist dare not use anyone that isn’t happy to be silly on stage or the person on stage will refuse to carry out the suggestion and the show will fail. People will only do what they consider reasonable and pleasing while in hypnosis.
Those that aren't intelligent Enough.
This isn’t a strategy to manipulate people into hypnosis as has been suggested to me by some of my more sceptical clients. Some people can’t follow directions. They don’t have the intellect. It’s unfortunate and frustrating, but those that can’t follow directions won’t go into hypnosis because they won’t know how to. If you’re able to read and understand this article, you’re probably intelligent enough to go into hypnosis.
Those that have trouble Communicating.
Deaf people have a really tough time following the hypnotist’s directions. Those that lip-read stop reading lips the moment their eyes close. Generally speaking, deaf people won’t be able to use a hypnotist to go into hypnosis, but this doesn’t mean that deaf people can’t be hypnotised. Deaf people will be able to learn from a text how to hypnotise themselves.
I’ve worked with a number of people that are severely hearing impaired. I found it very hard going and so did my poor clients, but it did work. It took more sessions because I to talk (shout) slower and watch carefully for understanding, but the persistent hearing impaired clients definitely won.
Those that don’t speak the language that the hypnotist speaks will also obviously not be able the directions into hypnosis. The remedy is simple; find a hypnotist that does.
Those that can’t communicate at all can’t be hypnotised as they just can’t follow the directions or learn the directions for themselves.
Other than these three types of people, everyone else can be hypnotised, usually very quickly and very easily.
The cure for Alcoholism? A French cardiologist by the name of Olivier Ameisen is claimed to have discovered the cure for alcoholism. While running his successful practice he was severely stricken by an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy. He felt like imposter waiting to be unmasked and found relief in large quantities of whisky and gin.
Having spent years in clinics without success, he heard of an American man that used Baclofen for muscle spasms and found that it helped ease his addiction for cocaine. Baclofen is a powerful muscle relaxant. On further researching Baclofen, Dr Ameisen discovered this medicine had cut addiction to alcohol or cocaine in rats.
The curious Dr Ameisen began treating himself with daily doses of five milligrams of Baclofen and he found that "the first effects were a magical muscular relaxation and baby-like sleep". Almost immediately he also detected a lessening in his desire for drink. He increased his daily dosage gradually to a maximum of 270mg of Baclofen, and found that he was "cured". He continued to take 30 to 50mg a day. Dr Ameisen died in 2013 aged sixty.
A hypnotherapists Opinion
As a Clinical Hypnotherapist I haven’t studied medicine and I’m not giving any medical advice here. But I have made some observations as a hypnotherapist and here’s my opinion: Baclofen is not a cure for alcoholism, Dr Ameisen was not cured from alcoholism and it’s doubtful that any medicine can cure alcoholism. Let me explain:
Baclofen is not a cure for Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a form of self-medication. Alcoholics are just people that use alcohol to relax themselves. Swopping alcohol for Baclofen as such is not a cure; it’s just employing a different muscle relaxant. At best it’s a treatment for alcoholism and comes with side effects.
Dr Ameisen was not cured from Alcoholism
While I am pleased that Dr Ameisen found some relief from alcohol, he was still not free from it. Instead of being dependant on alcohol, Dr Ameisen became dependent on Baclofen as he continued to take 30 to 50mg a day. If he stopped taking Baclofen would he not still need alcohol? Would he have reverted back to alcohol or would he have found another substance in its place?
It’s doubtful that any medicine can cure Alcoholism
Dr Ameisen was treating the symptoms of alcoholism and not the cause of alcoholism. It’s clear that in his case at least that the cause was emotional and not physical. He felt inadequate. He felt like an imposter. These feelings caused him distress which in turn made him tense. He used alcohol or Baclofen to suppress the tension in his body. He merely suppressed the symptoms (effects) of the emotions and did not treat the emotional cause.
Dr Ameisen was a physician, and physicians are trained to treat the physical. I am sure that as long as he felt inadequate about himself he would need something to suppress the tension in his body. I don't know of any medicine that can deal with a person’s feelings of inadequacy.
Why is Analytical Hypnotherapy Different?
To outright cure alcoholism I propose two things need to be done. First, the cause of the alcoholism needs to be removed and second the habit of using alcohol has to be removed. Instead of treating the symptoms it would be far better to find the emotional cause and fix it. The emotional cause in this case was a feeling of inadequacy as described by Dr Ameisen himself. As Jung said “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” Emotions are generated in the subconscious mind.
As a hypnotherapist I would have helped Dr Ameisen find the reason for this feeling. I would have helped him to become conscious of whatever made him feel inadequate at an unconscious level. I would then have helped this doctor to change this incorrect opinion of himself permanently. I would help him to feel worthy. This can only be done at a subconscious level and would lead to a more relaxed mind and body. He would have been more at peace with himself.
With his self-confidence restored I would then have spend several sessions with him helping him to remove the habit portion of drinking problem. Habits are subconscious too.
I think this method of treating alcoholism is a more permanent and satisfactory method than using medication.
Troy Robins - Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist based in Oxford & Witney, Oxfordshire in the UK.