The day I discovered hypnotherapy, was the day I decided that a lot more people needed to know about it.
Most importantly, I wanted people to know that ‘all hypnosis is self-hypnosis‘ in the wise words of my hypnotherapy teacher. That meant that every single one of us has the potential to use our minds for positive change, to control our responses for the better, and as a way to radically evolve into our full potential.
The more I told people about it the more I realised most people were scared of it. I realised then that it wasn’t just me who was initially terrified of the idea of it, thanks in most part to the negative media and stage portrayals. Despite it now being more widely accepted as a great method of therapy, the fears around it are still numerous, and I’ve come across all of the below:
- I’ll say stuff I don’t want to.
- I’ll discover something awful about my past.
- You’ll make me dance around like a chicken.
- You’ll take my wallet and run (I tried not to be offended by this one!)
- I’m scared of not being in control.
That last one was stammered tearfully from my own mouth as I sat trembling on a treatment couch during my first ever session. After a whole eight years of panic attacks it was randomly mentioned to me by a work colleague that hypnotherapy was a thing, and a great thing at that.
Some months I was OK, but some months I could hardly leave the house. Large indoor or outdoor spaces triggered them, too many people, heights, vastly tall ceilings…the list seemed to grow the more they went on, but they all seemed linked by agoraphobia and vertigo.
On the day hypnotherapy was mentioned I was at my wits end and feeling I had nothing to lose, so I booked an appointment. During that very first session all of the above fears were dispelled and I discovered that:
- You only say what you feel like saying.
- You may well discover something awful if we are working with regression, but you will be given the tools and support to deal with it, and the discovery itself may be what helps you.
- You will only dance like a chicken if that’s what floats your boat!
- A hypnotherapist is only a thief as much as any other person walking down the street or offering you a service; if that’s really a concern then the best thing to do is check where your therapist studied and that they are insured, but I’ve never heard of this happening in a hypnotherapy setting.
- You are in TOTAL control for once, and it feels amazing! If there was a thief around, your alertness to them would in fact be heightened because in hypnosis you use very focused subconscious parts of your mind.
Fast forward twelve years and I’m now a qualified hypnotherapist; there was no way I was keeping this little gem of a discovery to myself without helping others to use it. Although it’s not a cure-all, and it doesn’t turn you into a magical, perfect superhuman with no issues, it most certainly lifts you up to a place where you learn how to use your own mind and manage yourself in a better way.
On that note, I’ll leave you with simple instructions for a short but sweet technique as an intro into the world of using your own mind with self-hypnosis. It’s my favourite relaxation self-hypnosis technique, and it can be done in just 10 mins. It’s absolutely lovely right before bed to help you switch off, unwind and even fall asleep. This can be lengthened to suit your needs and is great for deep, rejuvenating rest, particularly if you’re feeling rushed or stressed.
Find a quiet and comfortable place to sit or lie back where you won’t be disturbed for a good 10 minutes. You can use relaxing background music; soft music with no vocals, or gentle classical music works really well will this.
Begin to focus on each breath, taking your time to visualise it flowing in andfilling up your lungs, and notice your stomach rising as you do this, then flowing out and your stomach falling, for at least 5 breaths. This may induce some sighing or yawning which is perfectly fine; your body and mind is slowing down and recalibrating.
Now let your breathing work by itself as you begin to scan your muscles mentally, working from your feet up to your head in muscle groups. So imagine a warm, loosening sensation in your feet, like a warm blanket over them or stepping into a warm bath. Then move mentally through the lower legs, upper legs, hips, stomach and chest, back, arms and shoulders, neck and your whole head including the scalp, until everything is enveloped in the warmth. With each muscle group let them know with your mind, that it’s fine to let go now. Let them flop heavily, like you’re sinking into the bed, chair or whatever you’re resting on. Then have one last scan over your body, checking if there are any residues of tension anywhere, and if there are, imagine those areas releasing and resting.
Silently and slowly count down from five to zero. Make sure to say the numbers in your head very slowly, and with each number imagine your body is hovering further down, like you’re floating down gently through space, surrounded by sparkly stars all around. As you get closer to zero you will feel more and more peaceful. When you get to zero, see yourself in your mind’s eye landing gently on your back onto a fluffy, cushiony bed, your whole body supported and rested, with a velvety starry sky above you.
Luxuriate for as long as you like in this deliciously dreamy state!
If you do want to lengthen the experience, you can focus on your breathing for longer, scan your body for longer, and increase the countdown from 10 – 0 instead. The longer it lasts the more deeply relaxed you will be.
As you can imagine, there are tons more things you can do for all manner of issues or needs. The only difference with hypnotherapy is that someone is teaching and guiding you through how you can help yourself.
Welcome to the fascinating power of your own mind!
By Ema Borges
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You can also visit my website: www.dynamiccalm.co.uk