What actually is HYPNOSIS?

I bumped into an old friend recently in the supermarket. He asked me what I was doing these days and I told him I was a hypnotherapist. ‘I don’t believe in hypnosis’, he said.

I didn’t fancy an intellectual debate in the dairy aisle of ASDA so I left clutching my whoopsied chocolate eclairs. Hypnosis is learning. I teach people to be free from emotional pain. I didn’t think of that until I was half way home though. Typical.

When I sat down with a cup of tea I started thinking about how to best explain what hypnotherapy is and what it definitely isn’t. Here are a few thoughts…

A clinical hypnotherapist can’t make you do anything you don’t want to do. You can’t get stuck in hypnosis either, just like you can’t get stuck in a dream. I got stuck in a revolving door in Debenhams once but that’s another story.

When hypnotised you will not be knocked out, unconscious or enter a parallel universe. It’s not so dramatic. You can hear and remember everything that goes on. It feels good to be hypnotised- it’s peaceful and comfortable like a daydream.

You can talk in hypnosis. In fact, it’s encouraged.

Hypnosis is not a truth serum. You won’t tell anyone where the bodies are buried.

Hypnosis is a natural state that we go in and out of all the time like when we are watching a film or driving down the motorway. Our analytical mind moves out of the way and we are more connected with our inner world.

Is hypnotherapy the same as stage hypnosis? Will I make you think you’re naked or run around like a chicken? Definitely not. Stage hypnosis is a comedy show and the volunteers are willing participants. They are hypnotised but they are playing along. It’s showbusiness. My job is to help, not to embarrass anyone.

Hypnosis is not the same as sleep; it’s actually a very active state of absorption. Can anyone be hypnotised? Yes, as long as they want to be. It’s a great way to release negative emotions and beliefs.

A belief is just a thought that gets repeated until it becomes a pattern. It isn't necessarily true but it becomes your truth. The unconscious mind doesn't know the difference between reality and fantasy, so whatever you tell yourself becomes real.

We rehearse bad feelings. We run over scenes in our mind and replay anxious conversations. Hypnosis can help with this. There is no need to get stuck watching sad or scary films over and over again.

I’ll leave you with this. People do the best they can with the choices they have available. Hypnotherapy gives you more control over how you feel.

I’d like to think that the man I bumped into in Asda wasn’t being mean, he just didn’t really know what hypnosis was. Either way, I hope he enjoyed his fray bentos steak and kidney pie