People often wonder what happens during a hypnotherapy session and how it can be better than other types of therapy, so here I have detailed the regular process of a typical 6 sessions package and further down I have created a few case samples of some of the most common issues I work with on a daily bases to help you understand the process and typical outcomes.
- The client is relaxed through progressive body relaxation which will enable him/her to enter a hypnotic trance state.
- A Safe Place is set up in his/her mind by means of imagery and the place and feelings of relaxation and wellbeing are anchored in his/her mind with the help of a cue.
- This technique is to be practised following the session to take control of the anxiety or unwanted feelings.
- The client is to identify his/her desired goals and outcomes and is future paced to his/her ideal day.
- Positive suggestions will be given throughout the sessions to help the person see themselves in a new light, without the issue they are having.
Sessions Three & Four
- During these sessions memories that have contributed to the forming of the current issue are pin pointed with an aim to release the emotions attached, that are still being triggered.
- Those memories are also re-worked so the unconscious mind can process them correctly.
- These sessions bring about the most evident change to the client.
Sessions Five and Six
- Any additional work required, based on the memories revealed during the previous sessions.
- Most common work carried out during these sessions is the rewind technique, parts therapy or Gestalt empty chair technique.
Some Clinical Case Examples
Process and Outcome:
Extrovert, artistic, very likeable, loves to socialise, spends free time jogging, playing golf and going to cinema with family and friends.
Long Term: Retirement
Short Term: Going back to enjoying life again
Margaret became abruptly widowed 9 months ago and has since been struggling with depression and panic attacks when travelling.
In order to avoid further panic attacks Margaret has become increasingly isolated, however she only missed work for two weeks because her company couldn’t afford to have her on long term leave and she has been travelling to work either by taxi or asking her family members for a lift.
She does not feel this has had any impact on her depression spiralling down however she wishes she didn’t have to deal with all the work responsibilities.
She finds herself exhausted all the time because she cannot switch off her mind and as a result sleeps poorly.
6 sessions of anxiety and bereavement work
During therapy Margaret will have the chance to figuratively say goodbye to her husband, let him know how much she loves him and finish up any unresolved business.
This will allow Margaret to accept his death as a passage into a different life dimension thus speeding up the natural grieving cycle.
A technique will be taught to her in order to feel close to him in her heart and mind whenever she feels the need to, ie. whenever she’s travelling so she does not feel alone in crowds. This will disable the panic attack trigger.
Techniques of self-relaxation will also be taught to help her fall asleep and feel restored upon awakening.
Process and Outcome
Introvert, very analytical, dislikes dealing with people even over the phone, does not socialise, spends free time reading about business and economics and playing video-games with friends.
Starting his own business
Paul loves his job, however doesn’t believe he’s rewarded enough for his hard work.
His on his 4th company role as an accountant and he’s never been happy with the lack of opportunities for his advancement of career in every company he worked for.
He’s been thinking of becoming a free-lancer for the last three years and has done some research but lacks the confidence to leave his job.
Lack of confidence in dealing with people, as well as low self-esteem and overthinking everything before taking a decision.
4 sessions self-confidence building
Paul will explore past experiences that caused his dislike of dealing with people, releasing any bad emotions associated with them.
He will also learn to take control of his bad emotions by letting them flow instead of blocking them out through his highly analytical skills that he uses profusely on himself especially when in social situations.
By becoming present to his bad emotions he can take control of them and then turn them into good ones as fuel to achieve his goals.
A relaxation technique will be taught to him to use in situations where he feels the need to be calm and clear-minded as opposed to charged with adrenaline.
The new skills will enable him to see every situation he finds himself in as an opportunity to promote himself and his skills with an aim to create business.
Paul will also be guided to explore the opportunities he has to start a business on the side, so he can transition into self-employment gradually.
Process and Outcome
Generally extrovert but loves to spend time alone to re-charge.
Loves her job that is fast-paced and challenging, loves to organise things to do with her family however wishes she could get away from it all sometimes
Long Term: Start her own company
Short Term: Going back to normal life
Niamh was involved in a car crash over a year ago and has been suffering with flashbacks and nightmares of the accident since.
She is irritable and finds she does not feel present; she has difficulties concentrating and is unable to retain new information for long and finds it difficult to carry out her daily tasks at home and in work.
Her children are as a result suffering from an absent and aggressive mother and things are becoming increasingly difficult with the children missing school and not doing well at all.
She has been in medical and psychological treatment since the car crash but the medicines are making her lethargic and the psychological support only seems to help so much.
All necessary medical tests have been carried out on Niamh and the results have shown that her brain has suffered no damage at all. There is physically nothing wrong with it.
Psychological tests have revealed that Niamh suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder for which she has been prescribed a course of medicines that will gradually diminish in dosage as she re-gains her normal faculties.
Her doctor reduced the dosage after six months however she experienced an increased number of flashbacks and started getting panic attacks that she didn’t get before so she reverted to the higher dosage.
After over a year things haven’t really changed and Niamh is wondering will she ever go back to be the person she used to be. She feels helpless and hopeless and doesn’t know where to turn for a glimpse of hope.
6-8 sessions Trauma/PTSD package
Within the first few sessions Niamh will be brought to dis-identify with the car crash until her Subjective Units of Distress will reach as close to zero as possible.
Techniques will be taught to her to identify again with the kind of person she used to be (capable, efficient and resilient) and work will be done to build up hope and her self-confidence again.
Then Niamh will be brought to re-experience the day of the car crash in order to recreate the emotions and release them. Because the therapy is carried out in a hypnotic trance the emotions are discharged effectively from the nervous system, something that does not happen in normal talk therapy.
In this way the natural process of integration of the experience – that was interrupted because of the trauma – is restored and Niamh gradually but steadily starts re-acquiring her normal faculties and can gradually reduce and eventually come off the medicines as her doctor deems suitable.