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.
It’s possible you weren't deep Enough.
Light hypnosis is only good for two things; creative visualisation and passing through on your way to deep hypnosis!
Creative visualisation has its uses but you won’t achieve rapid change using creative visualisation. Deep hypnosis is where rapid changes occur. Having spoken to many hypnotherapists for many years, most do not check for depth of trance (level of suggestibility). This is a bad idea. Would you consult with a blind optometrist?
Make sure that your hypnotherapist normally works using deep hypnosis and actually tests for depth of trance (or level of suggestibility).
You may be treating the symptom and not the Cause.
Some traditions of hypnotherapy only treat symptoms. This is called symptom reduction hypnotherapy or direct suggestion hypnotherapy. It is a wonderful way to help people change if they are ready for change.
If someone genuinely wants to stop smoking, a single session of direct suggestion hypnotherapy with a competent hypnotherapist will usually do the trick. The trouble comes in when the client does not want to stop, but rather has to stop for some reason. This is a totally different kettle of fish and can take a lot more direct suggestion hypnotherapy before it’s successful.
What a competent hypnotherapist should rather do for a client that doesn't want to stop smoking is to help the client to see and understand the real reason for not wanting to stop. This is usually an unconscious reason. Rationally, smoking makes no sense at all. It costs money, it stinks, it makes your teeth yellow and it’ll kill you! Once the client understands the unconscious reason for wanting to continue sucking deadly smoke into their lungs, things start to change at a subconscious level. A client will now begin to want to stop smoking. Once the client genuinely wants to stop smoking, symptom reduction hypnotherapy becomes far more powerful and far quicker and it’s only a matter of time before the client stops smoking using this form of hypnotherapy.
Secondary gain issues could be preventing you from achieving your goal in Hypnosis.
Some people cling to their old behaviour for a reason. This reason is called "secondary gain". Secondary gain occurs when there is more than one issue motivating the subconscious mind to not allow change to occur.
Mesmer famously cured a blind pianist. When her father discovered she was cured he was furious as she'd no longer be able to claim her pension. On realizing her father’s anger over the loss of income she instantly became blind again. Pleasing her father and maintaining the income stream were perceived as a higher priority to her subconscious mind than her ability to see.
A competent analytical hypnotherapist would help the client uncover the hidden unconscious motivation and understand and change the erroneous perception. In so doing the secondary gain issue would no longer be a factor and the client would respond to symptom reduction hypnotherapy very quickly.
Final thoughts on getting the most out of Hypnotherapy.
To get the most out hypnosis, choose a competent hypnotherapist that will explain how everything works and what you can expect. Make sure your practitioner is certified, registered and insured. It’s a good idea to make sure your hypnotherapist is an analytical hypnotherapist. Do your homework before you commit to a practitioner. Once you’re feeling confident about your practitioner and the process, the work is much easier.
Once you’ve chosen a competent hypnotherapist, don’t give up too easily. Hypnosis is not magic, it just works like magic. Consciousness is invisible and intangible. You can’t see it and you can’t touch it. Getting to grips with consciousness is sometimes more difficult than getting to grips with a physical object.
While hypnotherapy is seen as a short term intervention it does take work to get results. There’s a lot to be said for persistence and commitment. I have seen clients lose their health by giving up one or two sessions too soon. They also wasted the all the money they’d already spent on hypnotherapy. I have seen many more clients liberate themselves by sticking to the work and completing the process.
Troy Robins - Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist based in Oxford & Witney, Oxfordshire in the UK.