Kate Hickmore

Cognitive Hypnotherapy

What actually is hypnotherapy?

When I say the word hypnotherapy, what comes to mind? A ticking clock? 1,2,3 you’re back in the room? Or cluck, cluck, cluck? I wouldn’t blame you if it was, we’ve been used to hypnosis being used on the stage as entertainment. Seeing those ‘volunteers’ up there, essentially being made fun of, for our viewing pleasure is enough to put people off. How can this possibly be used in a serious, therapeutic way?

The idea of being out of control is what puts many people off, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Being in trance is something that we slip in and out of many times during the day. All of us do it, in fact it’s pretty impossible not to!

Have you ever been so engrossed in something you haven’t heard your name being called? Have you driven a stretch of road that is so familiar, you do it on autopilot and barely remember the journey? How about sitting in a meeting thinking about what you’re going to have for dinner that evening? Sound familiar? This is trance, and we spend most of our time in it. In fact, the only time we’re not in trance is when we are truly present in the here and now. So, if you’re reading this but in the back of your mind you’re going over a conversation you had with someone earlier, guess what? 3,2,1, you’re back in the room.

This trance state is what is used during therapy sessions, you are always aware of what’s going on and at any point we can stop. It just feels like a nicely relaxed state. No surprise chicken noises here! And those people that are selected to go up on stage? The key is they are all selected because they are highly susceptible to suggestion, and the fact that they volunteer themselves, shows an eagerness to ‘have it work on them’.

But how can it work as a form of therapy?

While in a state of trance, we can access the sub conscious. The basic job for the sub conscious is to keep us safe, it doesn’t care if we’re happy, or how we behave or respond in certain circumstances, it just wants us to be safe. It is constantly scanning our environment, in all five senses for any signs of danger. If it matches a situation, smell, colour, feeling, sound, to something from our past, it will make us respond to it in a way that it considers the best way to get you away for the perceived danger. It has the best intentions for us, but it doesn’t always get it right.

It could be hearing a phone ringing spikes a feeling of anxiety in your tummy. Or you could be walking along, spot a dog coming towards you and sends you into panic. You know rationally these situations are normal and not a risk, you know your reactions are extreme, but you can’t control them.  Your subconscious has scanned through your past experiences, matched to a memory and flooded your body with adrenaline and cortisol making you behave a certain way. 

Through hypnosis, we can take your subconscious back to that first event and change it, changing the meaning so it no longer has that reference to form a response from anymore. It really is as simple as that.

That is just one example. We have many tools to be able to use, we work with you, in your model of the world. So, whatever it is that may be holding you back, or limiting you, we can tailor our treatment totally to you. No one else has lived your life after all, so all sessions will reflect that.

Essentially, hypnotherapy is a conversation between you, the therapist, and your sub conscious.

How do you choose the right hypnotherapist for you?

Unfortunately, hypnotherapy is not as regulated as it should be so it’s important you check out their credentials. Where did they train? Are their qualifications externally verified? Supervision, insurance, members of regulating bodies? But the most important thing? Is that you like them. The most important thing for successful therapy of any form, is that you actually get on with the person sitting in front of you. So, check them out, read reviews, do your research.

Then go out and change your world.