Hypnotherapy is not a magic wand. The hypnotherapist is a guide, using knowledge of what works, sound principles and neuroscience.
When attending a hypnotherapy session, you become an active participant in the process and to ensure the best outcome, you will also be asked to conduct activities after sessions.
Select a hypnotherapist that’s right for you
Hypnotherapists differ in their approaches to hypnotherapy and how they work with their clients. This is because there are different theoretical and practical approaches to hypnosis, which influence how the therapist works with you.
For example, some hypnotherapists view hypnosis as very much a one-way process where they hypnotise a client and see the client’s role as passive.
Other hypnotherapists, however, may view hypnosis as a collaborative process that involves more involvement, active participation and other therapies.
Examples of out of session activities you may be asked to complete include
- listening to hypnosis recordings
- researching information
- involving and speaking to others who may be affected in plans for the changes you wish to make, and get their support
- completing personal development activities
- making plans to support the changes you want to make
Hypnotherapists commonly offer a free consultation where you can ask about their
- approach to hypnotherapy and your participation
- qualifications, specialisations and experience
- ethics and policies
- pricing and programme details
- delivery methods and appointment availability
Speaking with a prospective hypnotherapist before you commit to a course of treatment is important to get information and a sense of their overall manner and approach.
Preparing for your first session
Once you have selected a hypnotherapist, the following preparations will help you make the most of your hypnotherapy sessions
- ensure you are well rested so you don’t fall asleep during the hypnosis
- avoid stimulants and depressants such as caffeinated drinks, cigarettes, alcohol, mind-altering substances and activities which overexcite, in the hours leading up to your consultation
- ensure you are neither hungry nor overfull before your session – where possible, avoid eating one hour prior to your appointment
- wear comfortable clothing and be prepared to take off your shoes
- use the bathroom prior to your session
- be prepared to silence sources of distraction during your sessions such as ringtones and other noises created by electronic devices
- if your session is online, ensure that your environment is appropriate. Make sure your seating or bed is comfortable for the hypnosis and that your space is free from distractions such as other people, animals, and disturbing external noises
- ensure that your device is working properly and your internet connection is reliable
- note down the questions you want to ask at the session
Participation during your session
It’s important to have an open mind and commit to the process. This is why it’s helpful if you
- remain relaxed
- are open and honest about your challenges, thoughts and goals
Advise your hypnotherapist if you need help to relax. The hypnotherapist can give you techniques to help with this.
An example is using a breathing technique where you take 5–7 long and slow in and out breaths, holding your breath for four seconds between each, while at the same time imagining you are in your favourite place of relaxation.
Your hypnotherapist should also give you a “pre-talk” at the beginning of the session, at least for the first time you visit.
The goal of the “pre-talk” is to reassure you, clarify any misconceptions, and put you in a relaxed frame of mind.
If you have not previously experienced hypnosis and are unsure of how you may experience it, feel free to ask so that you can be reassured and relaxed.
You can view an example of hypnosis here.
When the induction into hypnosis begins, focus your attention on the therapist’s words as much as possible. You may have other thoughts, but keep bringing yourself back to the hypnotherapist’s words.
At the same time, allow your thoughts to come and go without focusing on them or judging them and you will soon slip into a hypnotic state.
Committing to post-session activities
Committing to completing the tasks suggested by the hypnotherapist will help you to get the most out of your sessions and facilitate your success.
1. What are 5 common myths about hypnotherapy?
Myth 1 – You must be weak willed to be hypnotised.
This is incorrect. To be hypnotised you must be able to concentrate.
Myth 2 – You surrender control during hypnotherapy.
A client’s mind is fully aware during a hypnotherapy session and they can pull themselves out of the hypnotic state at any point.
Myth 3 – Clients can be manipulated to reveal facts about themselves they ordinarily wouldn’t.
Clients will only reveal what they wish to disclose about themselves during a hypnotherapy session because the mind is conscious.
Myth 4 – Hypnotherapy is a mystical practice and hypnotherapists have mystical powers.
Hypnotherapy is a clinical tool which is utilised by a hypnotherapist trained in the skill and practiced in the art and science of hypnosis.
Myth 5 – There is no proof that hypnotherapy works.
Respected psychoanalysts, both historical and present-day, have successfully used the practice of hypnotherapy in their work.
Its effectiveness has been proven and endorsed by a variety of medical and scientific organizations such as
- American Medical Association
- American Psychological Association
- British Medical Association
- British Psychological Society
Have you tried hypnotherapy? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
If you wish to learn more about the hypnotherapy process or how to get treatment yourself, you can read the following articles.
Annemieke Van Dam is the founder of Livewell Hypnotherapy, and is a hypnotherapist and life and wellness coach operating onsite and online, New Zealand wide and internationally.
Prior to becoming a hypnotherapist, Annemieke was a manager, advisor and consultant working in the corporate, education and local government sectors in the areas of health, safety and wellbeing.
After experiencing personal challenges, Annemieke was determined to establish her practice and help others in a more direct and meaningful way. Now, she is looking to reach and help more people on their journey to wellbeing.
(1) Hypnotherapy Directory (2017). Choosing The Right Hypnotherapist – 5 key things to Consider. Retrieved from Choosing the right hypnotherapist – 5 key things to consider – Hypnotherapy Directory (hypnotherapy-directory.org.uk)
(2) Shrivastava, R. (2021). A Guide to Preparing for Your First Hypnosis Session. Retrieved from https://www.cognitivehealing.com/stress-management/a-guide-to-preparing-for-your-first-hypnosis-session/
(3) Riseley, S. (2021). How to Prepare Yourself for Hypnosis. Retrieved from https://www.wikihow.life/Prepare-Yourself-for-Hypnosis