If you are interested in hypnotherapy these questions can help you to make a decision to visit a hypnotherapist.
Questions are good because they ensure informed consent.
Here are 15 great questions that potential clients may ask.
What is hypnotherapy?
This sounds like an easy question yet researchers and hypnotherapists have struggled to explain exactly what is because it is complex.
Its roots begin with mesmerism but it was first used as we know of it today by James Braid who named it hypnosis after the Greek word for sleep, Hypno.
It involves focused attention, expectation, motivation, imagination and suggestions.
There are different models of hypnotherapy from classical, to hypnoanalysis, Ericksonian and cognitive-behavioural hypnotherapy.
Modern hypnosis considers hypnosis as the normal functioning of the brain. Hypnotherapy uses therapy and hypnosis so hypnotherapy is an adjunct to psychotherapy.
Some psychotherapists use hypnosis as an adjunct to their treatments, while others use it as a standalone treatment.
The American Psychological Association defines hypnotherapy as
the procedure, or the state induced by that procedure, in which suggestion is used to evoke changes in sensation, perception, cognition, emotion, or control over motor behavior. Subjects appear to be receptive, to varying degrees, to suggestions to act, feel, and behave differently than in an ordinary waking state. The exact nature of hypnotic suggestibility, and its possible therapeutic uses, are still being studied and debated. As a specifically psychotherapeutic intervention, hypnosis is referred to as hypnotherapy.
What is the difference between hypnosis and hypnotherapy?
Hypnosis is the tool. Hypnotherapy uses hypnosis with psychotherapy to help people to change and understand their emotions.
Does hypnotherapy work on everyone?
No. Clients need to want to change so it needs to be the right time to change for them.
If a potential client is fearful of hypnosis or believes some of the myths then they may not feel that they want to go into hypnosis, however, hypnotherapists are trained to provide information and help the person feel relaxed and in control. Furthermore, they need to have a good rapport and trust in the hypnotherapist.
In order to help the client, the hypnotherapist needs to understand the things that the client wants to change and they need to have the knowledge and skills to assist the client.
What is clinical hypnosis?
This is a good question as some hypnotherapists give themselves different titles.
Clinical hypnosis is a title that some hypnotherapists use to show that they deal with clinical or medical problems. For example, that could be irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), pain management or skin conditions.
How does hypnotherapy work?
It is not fully understood what is happening to help people change. However since the development of neurocognitive research and the use of PET scans and fMRI scans, there is lots of evidence to show that hypnosis isn’t just a placebo, rather it does make changes happen in the brain.
There are also lots of scientific studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of hypnosis.
In a session, following an assessment. the hypnotherapist uses different techniques to help you get into a trance-like state. Most people choose to close their eyes and relax.
The hypnotherapist tells stories or uses direct talking to deliver positive suggestions while you focus your attention. Some people while in hypnosis use their imagination to help them imagine the change that they want while others just listen. You are in control and can reject the suggestions or open your eyes if you want to, however, most people feel comfortable and just want to listen. At the end of the session, the hypnotherapist may ask you to open your eyes when you are ready or they can count up and then ask you to open your eyes.
What is hypnotherapy used for?
There is a long list of things hypnotherapy can help.
- Habits, for example nail-biting, hair pulling
- Performance enhancement, for example, sports performance
- Medical conditions, for example, skin conditions, IBS, high blood pressure, back pain
- Emotional problems, for example, anxiety, lack of confidence, relationship difficulties
Can hypnosis get rid of anxiety?
Yes, there is a lot of evidence that hypnosis can help many anxiety disorders. For example, fears and phobias, habits that relate to anxiety, driving nerves, sports performance and General Anxiety Disorder and panic etc.
A study by Saadat et al (2006), showed that hypnosis can reduce preoperative anxiety.
A study by Hammond (2010) also found that self-hypnosis helped to reduce anxiety.
In 2019, Valentine et al. produced a meta-analysis and found that hypnosis was effective in reducing anxiety for an average of 79% compared to a control group.
Is hypnosis better than Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that is supported by research as a useful method of helping people to change, especially beliefs, anxiety and depression.
Its often provided through the National Health Service however treatment is usually brief and some people are directed to self help CBT treatments such as online courses. CBT is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for helping people with a variety of psychiatric problems including Generalised Anxiety Disorder and Panic, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and depression.
CBT doesn’t suit everyone because people have different needs.
Nevertheless, there is good evidence that adding CBT to hypnosis does improve outcomes.
A study (a meta-analysis) by Kirsch et al (1995) showed that there was a substantial improvement in outcomes when CBT and hypnosis are used together.
How much does hypnotherapy cost?
This is a question many people want to be answered before contacting a hypnotherapist. Some websites will display their charges and some won’t.
Your investment will depend on several things including the place that the hypnotherapist is based, the experience, knowledge and skills of the practitioner, if they have any other qualifications that will complement the service and if they have a niche. A hypnotherapist based in a city often will charge more as they have additional accommodation costs. But ultimately a hypnotherapist can charge what they feel is right.
In the UK an average starting price is £60 per session however £95 per session would not be unusual and some hypnotherapists charge much more. However, it is not easy to compare all hypnotherapists as some also develop programmes that vary in price. Also, some hypnotherapists might suggest three sessions to help someone while another hypnotherapist might recommend five sessions. Therefore, it’s not about comparing the hypnotherapists as they have different charges that are presented in different ways.
Remember, most hypnotherapists in the UK have private practices. There are also many hidden costs that they need to pay out including professional membership, insurance, continuing professional development and supervision on top of the usual business expenses.
Is hypnotherapy available on the National Health Service?
Most hypnotherapists work privately.
However, in some special cases, hypnotherapists do work on the National Health Service. For example, hypnotherapists work in cancer care, stop smoking clinics and clinics for IBS.
Can hypnosis go wrong?
Hypnosis is considered safe if the hypnotherapist is well trained and meets the needs of the client. This is why professional hypnotherapists assess their clients first to check that there are no contraindications.
Clients don’t get stuck in hypnosis and they don’t do things against their will.
What is the success rate of hypnotherapy?
Another good question but difficult to answer directly!
It depends on the treatment and how it is measured. Plus it depends on when it is measured.
With any other treatment besides hypnotherapy, success rates will depend on many factors. For example, if you stop smoking with nicotine replacement patches the success rate will be different if you ask people a few days after treatment compared to asking them again a few months after treatment. Furthermore, if your doctor gives you sleeping tablets, they will have a good success rate for some people and won’t help other people.
Success rates can only be advertised if there are several large, quality studies that can state the success levels at that time.
Do people talk during hypnosis?
People can talk in hypnosis in some kinds of treatments however most people do not talk because they feel too relaxed.
Before a session, a hypnotherapist will tell you if they are using analytical therapy where you will be asked to speak.
What happens in a hypnotherapy session?
The first part is an assessment and getting to know you. You and the therapist ask questions before you give consent to hypnotherapy. You will be asked to complete a registration/ initial consultation form to include your health history. You will have all your questions answered.
Next, some hypnotherapists may include some tests or CBT or they go straight into doing hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy will include positive suggestions to help you change.
At the end, you will be wide awake and there may be further discussions.
Depending on the problem and how the therapist works you may be asked to listen to an audio recording between sessions and you may be asked to book another appointment.
Final question, how can I find a hypnotherapist?
There are several ways you can find a hypnotherapist.
- Ask for recommendations from your doctor, or other professionals and trusted friends
- Use online directories advertising for hypnotherapists
- Go to professional membership sites that list hypnotherapists and their credentials
- Search on the internet
For a professional and friendly service contact Linda at Awaken the Change. Free initial consultation.