Scared of Hypnotherapy?

Hypnotists watch
The clichéd Hypnotists Watch – Not used in Hypnotherapy – EVER

We fear what we don’t understand!

Lots of people are  scared or apprehensive about hypnotherapy.   They have seen stage hypnosis on stage or on TV and think that it is some form of mind control and that they will be made to do things against their wishes.  Stage hypnosis is covered in more depth here

People’s expectation of Hypnotherapy is  often that they are going to go into a strange trance.   There is nothing strange about Trance – we all expereince trance when daydreaming, when falling alsleep at night before we actually sleep and if you have been doing something then can’t remember what you were doing – eg driving but you forget part of the journey – these are all examples of Trance.  Hypnosis is slightly different but for many people not different enough that they perceive anything has really happened and yet the results can be magical.

Firstly some facts and then an explanation of these facts:-

  • Fact 1 – You will only be hypnotised if you want to be.
  • Fact 2 – It isn’t mind control
  • Fact 3 – You will probably remember everything from your session
  • Fact 4 – Hypnosis will not take away memories
  • Fact 5 – You will only change behaviour if you want to change
  • Fact 6 – You do all the work – the hypnotist just guides you.
  • Fact 7 – It is Therapy – It is usually gentle, relaxing, de-stressing and liberating.
  • Fact 8 – No dangling watches!  Most of the techniques used use talking and guiding

Explanation of these facts

Fact 1 – Most of us experience the trance state before we fall asleep at night.  If you do not feel comfortable with the Hypnotherapist it will be difficult for you to achieve this state.  An experienced Hypnotherapist should be good at helping you feel relaxed and calm.  However nobody can be hypnotised if they really don’t want to be.   This applies in Stage Hypnosis and in Therapy.   If you really don’t want to be hypnotised or if you can’t relax enough to let hypnosis occur then you won’t be hypnotised – its as simple as that.

Fact 2 – When in trance you are less vocal and do not appear to object to being asked to try things.  In stage acts the Hypnotist makes this look like mind control – Very simply it isn’t.  The people that eat onions as if they were apples know that this bit of fun won’t do them any harm yet in trance we can appear to do things that we wouldn’t normally do.  It is the conscious mind that rationalises that eating and onion won’t be pleasant but the Subconscious mind is a protector – it knows that eating an onion is relatively harmless.  Its job is to protect you from harm.  Let’s be really clear on this the person’s subconscious mind will let them eat and onion because they know that it won’t do them any harm.   When in trance they will not be vocal and may even play along with the joke pretending that it’s a really nice apple.  They can imagine it is an apple – they are playing along using the power of their imagination.  They know what they are doing.  Just as the subconscious mind wouldn’t let you  put your hand in a fire.

In hypnotherapy, a very useful and positive way to make use of this subconscious phenomenon is  hypnotic anaesthesia.   The subconscious mind has the power to alter how you feel about pain and can reduce what we would normally perceive as painful to a slight tingle.   This is very useful in brain surgery and Dentistry.   The person having such brain surgery is aware of the operation.

Note when hypnotised you are free and able to get up and leave whenever you choose.  You will normally stay because you choose to.   The magical element of the interaction with a Hypnotherapist is that he can help guide you to you look at things that you would not normally think about whilst fully conscious.    But being guided is not mind control.  You are driving the car and the Hypnotherapist is the Navigator.

A few people have quoted some of the fantastic stories from the Press at me.   Some of the press don’t care about rubbishing Hypnotherapy and hypnosis- they are in the business of selling newspapers.  I have read some articles where the contents of the article had little to do with the headline.   In such circumstances there is nearly always a logical explanation – but that doesn’t sell newspapers.   And people in Liverpool are only too aware how some of the press have misrepresented facts.

Fact 3  You will probably remember everything.  The Hypnotherapist guides you through your memories and perceptions.  Some of this uses metaphor.   If you want we can record the whole session (Sound or Video) .  As a hypnotherapist I have no control over your day to day memory – that is down to you.   What your mind chooses to remember is totally down to you.   There is a phenomena called hypnotic amnesia but this occurs whilst hypnotised and may be used to help someone in a stage act forget their name or forget the number 7.  When they are counted up out of hypnosis their normal memory returns.

Fact 4 Whilst it is possible (Normally in a stage show) to induce temporary amnesia this wears off out of hypnosis.  You should not worry that you are going to forget things after hypnotherapy – I do not have the power to alter your memories – I can help you look at them differently so that you find them less painful.

Fact 5  You will only change if you want to change.   For this reason if you really still  like smoking do not expect to visit a hypnotherapist to give up.  If however you want to give up smoking and have tried to stop, have possibly tried nicotine gum or patches, E-Cigs etc but just haven’t been able to stop.  A hypnotherapist will help you have a huge shift in perspective and lots of mental images.   It isn’t magic but the results can be magical.  If you stop smoking you could add back between 6 and 12 years to your life expectancy.

Hypnotherapy can be very useful to help you calm and relax – many of the issues in  the mind are caused by stress, anxiety and depression.

People often say that they can’t relax.  Hypnotherapy helps them achieve an incredible level of relaxation.  When you are that relaxed sometimes you will get a different perspective on your problems.

Fact 6 You do all the work.   Think of any Therapy as helping.   If you visit a physiotherapist you will probably be expected to do exercises at home.  Hypnotherapy is not much different really.     The clients that get the most out of hypnotherapy are generally self-aware.  They are usually motivated people.  They know that some of their behaviour is irrational.  They simply don’t know how to stop doing what they keep doing.  At a benign level this might be something like nail biting or nose picking.  At the other end of the scale, it could be Bulimia or PTSD.

If you visit me to learn to cope better with Tinnitus or Chronic pain you will be expected to practice the techniques that I teach you.  In the case of weight loss,  I would expect you to go away and put serious effort into using the hypnosis to help you lose weight.   That means thinking about eating healthily.

Note:  I want clients that are going to benefit from Hypnotherapy.  I only want satisfied clients.  There is very little point in paying for 3 sessions and coming into the process thinking that it probably wont work.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.” – Henry Ford.

Fact 7  Once you have had your first session you will realise that Hypnotherapy is a gentle relaxing process.  Clients generally sleep well the night following their session.  Most importantly people realise that the whole process is very gentle.   If we are working on something quite difficult the client will generally feel relief and liberation after their session.   Most clients will benefit from more than one session because before the first session they don’t really “get it”.  A week later having felt less stressed all week they do “get it”.  at the second and subsequent session it becomes possible to get big changes in perspective.

  • Change limiting beliefs and overcome their limitations
  • Become calmer, gentler – less stressed, less anxious, less angry, less bitter or resentful
  • Find how to be truly confident
  • overcome fears, phobias and step out of their comfort zone.

Fact 8

Most hypnotherapists don’t use dangling watches, hypnotic spirals etc.  Occasionally you may be asked to look into my eyes but something doesn’t magically transfer from my eyes to yours.  Its just a way of increasing your focus on fewer things to induce hypnosis.  If you practice self hypnosis or meditation,  you will be aware of how you alter your focus to concentrating on your body and  your breathing.  A hypnotherapist does something similar.  We could use dangling watches but there are methods that are less likely to make you burst out laughing.


There is nothing to fear in hypnotherapy.  You do remain in control throughout.  You will likely emerge from the session feeling calm and relaxed.  The after effects of the session can last days and can help you to achieve lasting change.   Ask anyone that has had hypnotherapy if there is anything to be scared of.  They will always tell you no there isn’t.

If Hypnotherapy was some magical form of mind control – it would probably be illegal?

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