What is hypnotherapy?

Many people will have seen the wonders of stage hypnosis. Hypnotherapy is a completely different experience. Clinical hypnotherapy is designed to heal, therefore it is a very positive experience. It involves the induction of a trance-like state. This means you are in an enhanced state of awareness. All of us pass through the state known as "hypnosis" when we go to sleep and wake up. This is why hypnosis is a completely natural state to be in.

What does hypnosis feel like?

Hypnosis, when used in a therapeutic format, is very pleasant. You feel extremely relaxed and at peace. Typical symptoms of hypnosis include:

  • Feeling heavy or light
  • Feeling warm
  • Twitching
  • Feeling you could open your eyes at any time, but don't want to
  • Feeling extremely relaxed
  • Feeling calm

This is not an exhaustive list. None of these symptoms are unpleasant. They are just side effects of being extremely relaxed whilst your brain is still very much active.

How am I hypnotised?

Typically the hypnotherapist will start with a PMR. This stands for Progressive Muscle Relaxation. In effect the hypnotherapist will ask you to imagine each part of your body relaxing. They might use imagery such as a colour, a light or a cord. For example:

"Imagine a relaxing colour. Now imagine this relaxing colour is at the top of your head. As your relaxing colour moves down through your body you will feel more and more relaxed. Imagine your relaxing colour is now moving down your face to your nose, feeling more and more relaxed....."

The PMR will continue like this until you feel completely physically relaxed. Next the therapist will likely move on to a Deepener. This is where you relax your mind. Again usually imagery is used. A very popular deepener is the use of stairs. The hypnotherapist might count down from ten to one until you reach the bottom of the stairs. You are encouraged to feel more and more relaxed with each number. At the bottom of the stairs the therapist might encourage you to see something pleasant and relaxing such as a beach.

Each hypnotherapist has their own style In my therapy practice I personalise each of my hypnosis sessions. Hate beaches? Not a problem at all, you choose what imagery you want me to use. Remember, the point here is that the therapist relaxes you as much as possible.

But why? What does hypnosis actually do?

We have three parts of our mind:

  • The Sub-Conscious or Unconscious mind
  • The Conscious Mind
  • The CCF or Conscious Critical Faculty

The CCF is the filter that lies between our conscious and unconscious mind. It helps us to interpret how the world works by using all we have learned throughout life. We know that water is wet, tigers are dangerous, and flames would be hot. For example, read the following statement and take note of what happens:

The sky is green

You immediately disagreed, yes? That's because in a split second the information I just gave your conscious mind (the sky is green) was filtered by your CCF. Your CCF knows from the information in your unconscious mind that the sky is in fact not green. Therefore your response was to disagree with my statement.

In this case the CCF did a great job. Unfortunately the CCF does not know the difference between a positive, nurturing belief, and a damaging or limiting belief. It just knows the belief is something you've learned. Your CCF will then filter these beliefs into your conscious mind. Let's take another example:

Age 6 - you encounter a traumatic event. At the time you look away and focus on your mother's coat with big, shiny buttons. Your brain age 6 doesn't understand the traumatic event, but it does understand you felt very afraid when looking at buttons. Your unconscious mind now links buttons to trauma.

Buttons = Danger

Many years into the future you might issues with buttons. Your CCF knows from your unconscious mind that buttons = danger. In hypnotherapy we bypass the CCF so we can re-program your unconscious mind.

Hypnotherapy can be used to treat a wide range of issues from weight loss to phobias and has been gaining in popularity over the years mainly due to the number of people it has helped and the fact we now have enhanced access to information on hypnotherapy - making the perception of it less "weird". Many a hypnotherapist will have heard the comment: "OMG you can HYPNOTISE people???" like we have magical powers. We don't, hypnosis is a completely natural state - technically you are in a state of hypnosis every night before you drop off to sleep. Which answers the next question we get asked..."So...can ANYONE be hypnotised??" - YES. But the person has to want to be hypnotised.

Hypnotherapy is not a one stop shop cure all for everything. It is a therapeutic process just like any other form of therapy and there are many different schools and styles. At Chelmsford Therapy Rooms all of our hypnotherapists are vetted, provide proof of qualification, membership of a professional body and insurance. They also have Supervision just like all therapists. Just like with other psychological therapies like Counselling you will have an Initial Consultation / Assessment with your hypnotherapist which is where they look at the issues you wish to address and work on the style of hypnotherapy and how this is delivered to get an understanding of how you can gain the best possible results, and look at how long therapy is likely to take.

If you would like to have a further chat with someone see our Therapists page and call one of our hypnotherapists!

4 thoughts on “What is hypnotherapy?

  • March 15, 2018 at 12:07 am

    I have been recommended to you by Rob Fairhead Who suggested I approach you with a view to training in hypnotherapy and NLP.
    I would be very interested in engaging in this,as I currently work for a mental health trust,and would like to progress from clerical to clinical, psychotherapy and counselling.
    Kind regards

    • March 15, 2018 at 4:06 pm

      Dear Francesca,

      Thanks for your comment, I’m afraid we are not a training organisation. we are a therapy room rental service and networking organisation for trained therapists as well as providing a private therapy service for individuals. If you wish to train as a therapist it might help to contact the member organisations, such as the Association for Neuro Linguistic Programming, The Hypnotherapy Society, the BACP or National Counselling Society for example who will be able to point you in the right direction.

      Good luck!

      Kindest regards,

      Chelmsford Therapy Rooms

  • October 31, 2019 at 5:49 pm

    I suffer from an over-reaction to noise from neighbours. My reaction is causing me to tend towards depression and anxiety, sometimes worse. I wondered whether hypnosis would help temper my response to the noise intrusion and hopefully help me be more positive about life and home.

    • November 1, 2019 at 9:52 am

      Hi Jackie,

      Yes Hypnotherapy could be very helpful! Because it’s so relaxing anyway it would help to calm you. I’ve seen clients with this type of issue have hypnotherapy to help them with great success. A therapist would also help you to explore your mindset so that you can improve your outlook on life and be more positive. If you would like a therapist to contact you please email info@chelmsfordtherapyrooms.co.uk or call 0330 100 5162. Thanks, I hope we can help you soon! Jenny.


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