Does Hypnosis Work?

I’m unsure because I want to know does hypnosis work?

Despite bundles of research, there are still many who ask the question, does hypnosis work?

There’s a short answer to that, and the answer is yes, but I will expand a bit more.

As I say to the clients who come to see at my hypnotherapy practice in London, I do this because I know it works. Week after week, I see the results my clients get, the changes they feel, and the things they tell me have changed. I wouldn’t sit there and do what I do, if I didn’t believe that it worked.

Many years ago, I visited a London Hypnotherapist because I wanted to stop smoking. Of course, I had tried to give up by myself, and did quite frequently, for a while, but when my guard was down, such as on a Friday night out with friends who smoked, I would find myself lighting up, without even realising that I had done it.

So does hypnosis work? I’ve never smoked since, nor had the slightest desire to smoke. I believe that the thing that made the difference back then, was the rapport I had with the hypnotherapist and the hypnosis intervention.

Ever since, I’ve had a fascination, with hypnotherapy. Fast forward, and after years of rigorous training, I find myself nowadays working directly with clients on a whole bunch of issues including my Guaranteed Stop Smoking package.

Why does Hypnosis work?

We often talk about right and left brain, which do exist, but we actually have three different brains, that have evolved at different times and fulfil different functions.

The reptilian brain is the old brain, the one that developed first. It makes basic decisions. Yes, no, or don’t know. And makes decisions such as, can I eat it, do I want to fight it, or do I want to mate it?

The middle brain developed next and sits on top of the reptilian brain, it’s where all our feelings and emotions are processed. This brain deals with issues such as, does it make me angry, does it make be scared, does it make me excited?

The new brain, is the one that evolved most recently, it’s involved in planning, analysis, rational thinking, and it shares it’s information with the other two brains. This part of the brain deals with planning, and copes with issues such as, what shall I do next week, what shall I do in my retirement? It’s the largest and heaviest part of the brain.

So the boss brain, is the reptilian brain. For change to take place, it’s important that the boss is on board, along with the support of the middle brain. Now the boss, has a big responsibility for managing all our internal systems, such as heart rate, temperature and hormones. It’s not that easy, to consciously change our temperature, reduce our heart rate, or switch on and off the regulation of our hormones such as adrenaline. The boss does all this for us, to keep us alive.

All of the three brains have clearly defined channels of communication with each other, and much of what goes on, is outside our daily conscious awareness. Within our brain there are filters in place, and it’s thought that we can only consciously think about between 5 and 9 things at one time. That means so much other stuff is going on, that we don’t even realise is happening.

As your reading this now, and I asked you to become aware of your big left toe, that suddenly, becomes one of those things, that you become consciously aware of. If there was something in your enviroment that was dangerous, your unconscious would do what it could to bring it to your attention. Such as a falling object from above, your unconscious will do it’s best to move you, before you have even noticed it.

So why does hypnosis work then? Relaxation, which can be a normal part of any hypnosis induction, promotes the change of an individual to an altered trance state. Once this state is achieved, it opens up full channels of communication between all three different brains. Then you get the opportunity to change things around, by providing more choices to the individual which enables them to think and feel differently.

If change happens in the reptilian and the middle brian, then the new brain will follow, without necessarily fully understanding what change has taken place. From a hypnotherapy perspective, I don’t believe it’s important to know exactly what has changed, in fact, sometimes, that can get in the way of recovery. The convincer is the associated change in the behaviour and the difference in feelings.

How often does Hypnosis work?

If the right conditions are met, then pretty much all the time. It would take another post for me to go into detail about what the right conditions are.

If hypnosis doesn’t work, it doesn’t mean that it won’t work, it more than likely means that the therapist and the client has further work to do. It’s not a precise science, and at the end of the day it’s the client who makes the change, the therapist facilitates the process, by getting in touch with the person’s unconscious.

I should probably add here a bit about expectations. When I work with clients who have phobias, I know they are phobic because they have extreme reactions. I had a client recently who couldn’t stay in their house because of their mouse phobia. That is an extreme reaction. Once our work was done, the client was able to settle back in their home, although they reported that they still didn’t like mice. As I explained, as far as I was concerned, my work was done. The client orginally came to see me, to get rid of the extreme feelings they had, the request was not to get them to that point, that they would be keeping them as pets.

That would require further work, and extra unnecessary investment in my opinion.

From a psychological point of view, we are driven towards things that give us pleasure, and move away from things that give us pain. Without a shadow of a doubt, most people come to therapy, to work on moving away from some form of pain. Wanting to stop smoking, insomnia, losing weight, improve confidence and low self esteem, infertility are all issues that give us pain and we want to move away from them.

If people could solve their own problems they wouldn’t come to therapy, if they could easily give up their addictions, make themselves feel more confident, or get over any phobias they might have such as public speaking ( glossophobia) they would just get on and do it. Some people do manage to overcome their issues, but many don’t, and suffer unnecessarily for years. Not doing things that they don’t want to do, such as visiting family or friends overseas, because they have a flying phobia.

So if you have any comments please add them below, there is just a brief explanation into the subject of does hypnosis work, over time I will add further information.


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