hypnotherapy using focused attention

How can hypnotherapy help me?

1 January 2024

If you’re reading this, you’re probably curious about hypnotherapy. You may have heard of it and even seen it on films or tv.  As you start the new year, like many people, you may be thinking about making changes to your habits or the way you approach life and you’ve heard hypnotherapy can help.
And yet, you still may not be sure what hypnotherapy is.  Read on and all will become clear.  Hypnotherapy in real life is very different to what you see on the screen. It’s simply a way of harnessing the power of your imagination to make lasting and powerful changes in your life.

keeping calm in uncertain times

What is hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy is psychotherapy combined with hypnosis. It’s a way of using the power of your mind so that it works for you and takes you forward in life, in the way you choose.

This means you no longer have to feel stuck in your life, making the same mistakes. With hypnosis you get to experience what it would be like if things were different. It gives you the chance to imagine your life without the need to struggle. Instead, you get to focus your attention on a positive future for yourself. Hypnotherapy is a potent tool to help you to be your best version of you.

It’s a therapy based on empowering you to discover new ways of thinking and acting. Hypnotherapy equips you with a different, better view of yourself and the world. It’s a way to supports you to take action to solve your problems.

hypnotherapy - using the power of your mind

What is hypnosis?

Hypnosis enables you to access the power of your own mind. So, as you go into hypnosis you access a helpful, deep form of attention you can use whenever you want. Once you’ve learnt how to do hypnosis for yourself, it’s something you can harness again and again.

Each time you go into hypnosis, you find it easier and you get better results, similar to how muscles become stronger the more you exercise. You may notice you’re getting better at coping with life’s challenges and start to feel more confident. As you practice hypnosis, you start to realise you are making more and more changes. You may even notice each time it’s becoming easier. You no longer feel as if you’re getting in your own way, but as if you’re the one driving positive change in your life.

Can I be hypnotised?

Almost everyone can be hypnotised. Hypnosis is about developing the tools to empower yourself. It’s a safe treatment without side effects. Hypnosis isn’t something that’s done to you. Rather, it’s a skill which you learn in your hypnotherapy sessions. You’re then able to take control and use it whenever you need it.

hypnotherapy helps us to be our best selves

Where’s the evidence?

There have been thousands of research studies published on hypnosis over many years. To summarise, they show hypnosis is effective for reducing anxiety, managing pain, improving sleep, for managing weight, and treating stress related illnesses such as migraine and irritable bowel syndromei.

Hypnotherapy for weight and eating

Many people associate hypnotherapy with weight and eating. Research shows greatly improved outcomes for weight loss, when CBT was combined with hypnosis rather than CBT alone. And in 78% of people studied, the weight loss had been sustained and improved months latervi. And, another study, of diabetics, found that those who had hypnosis lost the most weightvii

You can find out more about how hypnotherapy helps with binge eating, disordered eating and other weight and eating issues, including anxiety about your weight and shape.

weight anxiety affects choices and leads to bingeing

Hypnotherapy for pain

Hypnosis is often used to help people cope better with pain. For instance, a recent study shows patients who had hypnosis found it easier to cope with the pain and distress of surgery and took 40% less medicationii. Another study shows hypnosis helped women with breast cancer reduce their pain and to have a better quality of lifeiii.  For more on how hypnotherapy can help with pain, check out https://www.blossomhypnotherapy.com/coping-with-chronic-pain/

Hypnotherapy for irritable bowel syndrome

Hypnotherapy for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is recommended by the NHS’ National Institute for Health Care and Excellence (NICE). For instance, research shows, showing those with IBS how to use self-hypnosis has proved an effective tool in helping them to regain control over their symptoms and improve their quality of lifeiv.

hypnotherapy recommended for IBS

Hypnotherapy for stress and anxiety

Research into hypnotherapy for stress and anxiety shows those using hypnosis found it easier change in how they thought and acted, reduced what made them anxious and experienced general all round improvement. Furthermore, when treating both anxiety and depression, there is good evidence that self-hypnosis is effectivev.

For more see https://www.blossomhypnotherapy.com/worry-what-to-do-when-you-cant-stop-worrying/and https://www.blossomhypnotherapy.com/fight-flight-understanding-body-responds-stress/

Client story

Once you know how to use hypnosis, you can use it in many ways.

John’s problem

John came to see me because he had given up his job to become an online trader. It had been his dream for a long time. He wanted to be able to support his family this way, and dreaded failing and having to go back into the workplace.

As he was sitting at his desk every morning, he’d start telling himself “I must succeed at this” and then his doubts set in. He’d start a conversation in his head about if he could really do it.

As a result, John was struggling to concentrate at crucial moments as his worry took over. The more he tried to succeed, the more difficult it was for him. He’d be gripped by fear and he was making the same mistakes over and over again.

After a while, it was all he could think about and he was becoming more distant from his family.

assertive communication improves confidence

John’s results

Using hypnotherapy, John discovered how to manage his thoughts. He discovered how to be calm, aware and in control as he went about trading.

We worked together to develop tools to help him to relax and focus on what he was doing, so he could make decisions calmly and rationally. He discovered how to be in control whatever happened with his trading. Finally, as he let go of the thoughts that were holding him back, he was enjoying what he was doing. In his words “I didn’t believe it could be like this.

John is now supporting his family through trading which he loves.  This is what he says about his therapy.

Initially I was quite uncertain of hypnotherapy, but I am so pleased I took the plunge. Hypnotherapy is not entirely what you think it is. Yes there are “hypnotherapy sessions” but just as important is how aware you become of your habits and compulsions. Whatever it is you want to overcome, you must really want to achieve it and hypnotherapy is a great help in doing so. Celia thoroughly got to the root of the habits which were causing my problems and set out a course in trying to correct it. It’s something I’m still working on and listening to the recorded sessions since, really does help. Many thanks for your help.

You can find more client stories here

How to hypnotise yourself

Self hypnosis is a powerful skill once you’ve mastered it. Try these ways to hypnotise yourself and you can use self hypnosis to enhance your life.

1. Use an anchor word

  • Find somewhere comfortable to sit where you know you won’t be disturbed.
  • Place your feet flat on the floor and breath slowly, deeply and evenly.
  • Next, choose a word that represents how you’d like to feel, For instance, you could try calm, peace or relax.
  • Every time you breathe out say your word to yourself.
  • After that, think of a place where you felt happy. Vividly re-experience it, remembering the sights, sounds and smells around you. Notice if it’s warm or cold? If there’s intense colours, or perhaps a scent in the air?
  • Use your imagination to add your own elements to it, to make it even more comforting. Above all, be aware whatever appears will be right for you.
  • Next, focus on making it as comforting as possible for you.
  • To come out, simply count to 3 in your mind and open your eyes

Try practising for 3-5 minutes a day and start to see the difference.

2. Use breathing and sensations

  • Find a comfortable place to sit where you won’t be disturbed.
  • Place your feet flat on the floor and breath slowly, deeply and evenly.
  • You can lie down if you want even more relaxation.
  • Focus on your breathing to deepen your relaxation.
  • Breathe in through the nose and slowly exhale.
  • Try and make your out breath last longer than the in breath.
  • As you breathe out allow yourself to just let go of all the tension in your body. Maybe you can notice that each breath is becoming deeper and easier for you.

breathe to keep calm in uncertainty

  • Now imagine that you’re floating somewhere safe and comfortable like a warm bath, a lake, a warm sea or just floating in space. Allow yourself to feel safe and comfortable just floating wherever you have chosen.
  • Now imagine something you would like to change in your life.
  • While still feeling that sense of floating and comfort allow your imagination to focus on how it could be different – maybe you could be more confident or have more focus.
  • Allow your imagination to focus on what it would be like to be the person you want to be in that situation.
  • Imagine the best possible scenario, in which things go even better than you’d hoped. Try in your mind to experience this with all of your senses—feeling it, seeing it, hearing it.
  • Imagine making it stronger, brighter, and more intense.
  • Anchor this feeling into your body. Bring your hand to where you feel it strongest in your body, and breathe into it.
  • To come out, simply count to 3 in your mind and open your eyes.

The more you practice the easier it will become.

iAMA (1958) ‘Council on Mental Health: Medical use os hypnosis’, JAMA, Sep 2013, 1958: 186-189.

iiKirjanen S. The brain activity of pain relief during hypnosis and placebo treatment. J Eur Psychol Stud 2012;3(1):78–87. https://doi.org/ 10.5334/jeps.at.Tefikow S, Barth J, Maichrowitz S, Beelmann A, Strauss B, Rosendahl J. Efficacy of hypnosis in adults undergoing surgery or medical proce- dures: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Clin Psychol Rev 2013;33(5):623–36. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2013.03.005.

iiiEason, A; Parris B, Clinical Applications of Self-Hypnosis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials, Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice, 018/10/29: 10.1037/cns0000173

ivPalsson OS. Hypnosis treatment of gastrointestinal disorders: a compre hensive review of the empirical evidence. Am J Clin Hypn 2015;58 (2):134–58. https://doi.org/10.1080/00029157.2015.1039114.

vValentine KE, Milling LS, Clark LJ, Moriarty CL. The efficacy of hyp-nosis as a treatment for anxiety: a meta-analysis. Int J Clin Exp Hypn 2019;67(3):336–63. https://doi.org/10.1080/00207144.2019.1613863.

viKirsch I. Hypnotic enhancement of cognitive-behavioral weight loss treatments–another meta-reanalysis. J Consult Clin Psychol. 1996 Jun;64(3):517-9. doi: 10.1037//0022-006x.64.3.517. PMID: 8698945.

vii@inproceedings{Levenson2018EfficacyOS, title={Efficacy of Self-hypnosis in Overweight and Obese Type 2 Diabetics : A Randomized Clinical Trial}, author={M. Levenson and M. Wachtel and R. Harte and D. Levenson}, year={2018} }

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