Once hypnotized, will I reveal / expose all my secrets?
Your secrets are safe under hypnosis since we will be working with the part of yourself that has your best interests deeply at heart. Your deepest sense of yourself and what is truly good for you is the destination for our trance work together, unfettered by the bad habits you may have become conditioned to repeat. It is precisely that well-intentioned feeling coming from deep within yourself that is motivating you to get help for something you do not wish to continue doing. When you are focusing with me on your core values and inner resources, you are not inclined to do or say anything that would go against those values.
You will not reveal anything to me that you do not wish to. Much of the work that can we do together does not require you to talk at all. Through the safe and simple process of trance you can learn to free yourself of the constraints that peers, family and societal expectation has imposed on you. In our work, we will be focused only on improving your life, in fact you may find it a liberating experience to get in touch with who you really are deep down. You can feel quite safe to allow yourself to express who you are in the safe space that therapy offers and remember, what is said in therapy stays in therapy.
Is hypnosis sleep?
Hypnosis is not the same as sleep, however some brain activity that is used in sleep to consolidate learning and process emotions are very similar to that used during sleep. When asleep (unless naturally a sleep-talker) most people would not be able to respond verbally to questions asked of them. Having said that, hypnosis has been shown to work even when the subject does fall asleep in some cases, as information can still seep into the unconscious mind in much the same way as subliminal learning resources work. In sleep our minds are focused almost entirely on our inner world of dreams, yet there is always a part of us paying attention to external stimulus (like alarm clocks).
You will not lose consciousness. There is always a part of your conscious mind involved in hypnosis, so you may find yourself incredibly aware of everything we talk about. That is just a natural bi-product of narrowing your field of consciousness. Hypnosis is a trance state, meaning a state of focused awareness on your inner mind, with a lessening of attention placed upon the outer world that allows you to filter out all the non-essential stimuli and concentrate only on what is important at the time. Hypnosis does not actually require deep relaxation to be effective, just a high degree of focus on your part, something a well-trained hypnotist understands how to elicit from you. Given the degree of rapport required between hypnotist and subject in order facilitate insights or change, you are better off being somewhat awake and very aware.
The word “sleep” has been used by hypnotists historically, especially stage hypnotists, as it is a simple way of instructing someone to soften their mind and “zone-out”. It is a somewhat misleading but well intended and quite descriptive word that approximates the day-dreamy sensation inherent in a state of trance. Some people are able to function extremely well whilst asleep, either sleep-walking or sleep talking, they are called natural somnambulists. For most people, achieving any altered state between conscious alertness and a somnambulistic depth of unconscious processing is sufficient in therapy.
Is hypnosis “real”?
Over the years this very question has caused much heated debate. The truth is, the trance state of hypnosis is a subtle engagement of the mind that permits a great focus of concentration on a given subject or topic. Technology has permitted the medical field to conclusively prove the existence of the hypnotic state through functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) which allows the activity of the human brain to be visually observed.
It has been scientifically demonstrated that the brain's heightened attentional state acheived by trance is almost identical to the state that our brains enter during the task and memory consolodation state of deep sleep, a state vital to all learning and task mastery. This wonderful trance state is something that almost everyone can learn to access and benefit from, but something that can be elusive if the conscious mind is in questioning mode during trance, since a questioning state can have a detrimental impact on the relaxed attentional engagement required to remain in trance.
Hypnosis was discovered by doctors, developed by doctors and is still utilized today by doctors and dentists however the field of hypnosis requires specialized training, experience and dedication to interpersonal aspects that demands a great deal from its practitioners. The degree of dedication, specialization and interpersonal specifics required for the successful use of hypnosis contributes both to its misunderstanding and to the decline of its use by many in the medical field, but in the right hands, the modality of hypnosis is a proven, powerful tool that can help you accelerate healing, habit changes and the integration of new learnings.
What does hypnosis help?
Using hypnosis, I can help you with insomnia, pain reduction, negative thought patterns, stopping smoking, reducing weight, gaining weight, relaxing, self-esteem, trauma, PTSD, public speaking, confidence, creativity, understanding, self-empathy, motivation and too many other things to list. Basically, anything that involves a thought process and has an emotional impact.
All possible, all practical. No hocus, no pocus, and no nonsense.
If you are looking to become a concert pianist over night with no effort on your part, grow an inch taller, or contact a deceased family member, I would encourage you to seriously think about what you are trying to spend your hard earned money on. If you still want to waste your time trying, then please contact one of the less scrupulous hypnotists out there who will be glad to take your money and string you along for as long as you wish to keep paying them. But please don’t.
How safe is hypnotherapy?
Hypnosis is a safe use of a natural human ability to focus awareness on a chosen object or subject. If you do not suffer from a heart condition, epilepsy or another medical condition that deep relaxation and the use of your imagination would prove risky to engage in, then hypnosis will be an entirely safe endeavour (and probably safer than some medications or anesthetic procedures).
No-one in hypnosis can be made to do anything against their will. Unlike the image painted by popular culture in Svengalian horror films, hypnosis is not a means to exert power over unwilling participants. At every step, you will be in control, since successful hypnotic trances require your cooperation and the exertion of your will to achieve the results that you desire.
Another popular myth worth dashing is that no-one loses consciousness when hypnotized. It doesn’t happen, it’s never happened and it won’t happen to you. Since hypnosis is a focusing of awareness on the inner mind, there will be a lessening of attention from the outer world, however, you will continue to be aware of some elements from “outside”, like my voice for example.
The hypnotic state is a state of mind that you alone choose to remain in. You cannot be made to stay there, and you cannot get stuck there. While you are having a pleasant experience, you’ll be quite happy to stay relaxed and we can do our work together. When you achieve a deep level of attention on your inner mind, you will naturally have less attention directed to superfluous elements, like the sound of the air conditioner, but I promise you, if a fire alarm were to go off, you’d hear it and you’d react.
Even when we sleep we don’t lose touch with the outside world completely. If we did, alarm clocks would be useless!
Can everyone be hypnotized?
The saying goes that “anyone with at least reasonable intelligence can be hypnotized”, which is a bit of a set up, since it’s unlikely you’ll wish to be deemed of less than average intelligence. A more honest way of answering the question is to explain that, in order to be hypnotized you have to: want to be hypnotized first and foremost; be willing to be hypnotized; and also be able to be hypnotized, by which I mean, be able to understand and follow some fairly simple instructions related to focusing your attention. Young children have wonderful imaginations, but can find it very difficult to hold their attention on something for any length of time.
If you have been diagnosed with an attention deficit disorder or are on mind fogging medication, you may find it a challenge to focus your attention effectively enough to reach a deep level of trance, however, if motivated enough, it may be possible for you to achieve a level of trance adequate to increase your awareness sufficiently enough. Even in the case of young children, with a skilled hypnotist guiding them using language they understand and imagery that holds their attention, many children can benefit from hypnosis, but until they try, it is very difficult to determine.
You might even have tried to be hypnotized before with little success. This would still not provide you with an accurate indication of how you would respond with a different therapist, having a different understanding of your needs, with a different level of rapport, under different circumstances using a different induction. Your inability to participate in a stage demonstration of hypnosis on holiday in Vegas certainly does not count as a real attempt, since the presence of an audience and the potentially dubious intent of the comedy hypnotist are a specific set of special conditions all to themselves, requiring a very specific type of cooperation.
When it comes down to it, your relationship with your hypnotherapist will be unique since no two therapeutic relationships are the same, no two hypnotists are the same and past experience is not a perfect predictor of future outcomes. You’ll need to decide for yourself if I am the right therapist for you to explore your hypnotic abilities with.
Can hypnosis be used to change my body?
If you are looking to change your weight within the healthy range for your age as advised by Health Canada, then almost certainly hypnosis can help you. If you are in the midst of puberty and your body has yet to reach it’s genetic potential, then hypnosis may possibly help you maximize your genetic potential. If you are a 40 year old 5’2” male who would like to be a 25 year old 6’ male, then hypnosis absolutely cannot help you!
We are not lizards, we cannot grow new limbs, so it stands to reason that, once fully developed into adulthood we also cannot alter our matured bodies or fix age related baldness, simply by sending desires out to the universe and believing their fulfillment to be true. Sorry.
Your brain is certainly in control of everything about you including your ongoing cellular regeneration (healing, repairing cuts and bruises, fighting cancerous tumours etc) your biochemistry (creating and circulating seretonin, stress hormones, immune system functioning etc), and to some extent, your genetic potential, however, we are limited by the restrictions of reality.
Most psychosomatic conditions are triggered by stress, even blindness, deafness and physical immobility “caused” by the brain as a result of psychological trauma. Many somataform and psychosomatic conditions, can be resolved by accessing and engaging the sub-conscious mind (hysterical blindness for example), so stress related bald patches are open to treatment, the reversal of age related baldness, not so much.
Reality is where I do my therapeutic work. At times, that may involve working within a subjective inner reality, but, unless believing you have grown 10” or that you are not really bald, is sufficient success, then by all means you do not have to settle for my subjective truth, I’m sure you will find someone willing to take your money to strive for unrealistic physical enhancements, but please do not be offended that I would rather decline your business. Sorry.
How does the mind influence the body?
It’s been scientifically proven and known for over a century, that how you think affects how you feel, and how you feel affects how you think. Thoughts and feelings are impossible to permanently change with a pill and not open to be operated on or fixed with a scalpel (unlike the 3rd component of spirit, mind and body), yet these two components have an enormous impact on what you consider your quality of life in addition to greatly influencing your brain, which in turn has ultimate control over your autonomic nervous system, parasympathetic nervous system, immune system and every single perception and sensation that you experience.
Pain and tension are always intertwined. Your beliefs and how you feel about things (spirit) is going to impact how relaxed you are. Pain for example, is perceived (mind), therefore your perception can be worked on to change the pain signals whose neural firings can become habitual and chronic.
Pain expectation impacts tension (body), whereas a relaxed or distracted state (both cognitive and physical) will reduce the amount of neurological pain signals because, whatever you focus on has the power to hyper-sensitize you to it and magnify the impact.
This is true, not only for chronic pain, but also, birthing discomfort, tinnitus, obsessive compulsive disorders, sexual dysfunction, anxiety, headaches, back pain, stress, stuttering, asthma, the list is endless - all self-perpetuating and often unknowingly self-imposed afflictions that plague modern society.
I’m pretty sure I have the power to make your body react in some ways, even against your will. I might be able to make you laugh, possibly scratch your nose (do you feel it itching right now? Pay attention to that sensitive itchy part around the nostrils or at the sides and you will find I’m right?), maybe, maybe not? I am certain that with a bit of effort I could make you yawn, if only by modelling the yawn a few times myself to plant the idea firmly in your brain, and then patiently watch you struggle not to follow with your own big healthy yawn. It’s not magic, it’s just human nature, something I understand and utilize.
I only work with thoughts and feelings. I say only, however, as you can see, thoughts and feelings are pretty much everything when it comes to experiencing ourselves, our bodies, our lives, our relationships and the world around us.
Can you combine psychotherapy and hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is a form of psychodynamic psychotherapy, practiced by a select few therapists and once practiced by Sigmund Freud. There are still some medical doctors that offer hypnosis as a psychotherapeutic service to their patients, but typically most hypnosis practitioners today are either fully qualified psychotherapists or certified hypnotists.
Over the years I have often found it incredibly useful to integrate some level of insight therapy as a compliment to the hypnosis work that I have accomplished a masters level education in. This complimentary approach is something that may differ considerably from non-therapist hypnosis, but something value added that can provide you with even greater levels of understanding of the origins of your presenting issue and can be extremely helpful in effecting profound, lasting change.
Is it possible to get stuck in hypnosis?
Absolutely not! You are safe to enter a hypnotic trance, knowing that even if you were somehow left in trance, you would either bring yourself back out of trance or you would naturally fall asleep and eventually wake up feeling wonderful. It is your unconscious mind that knows how to go into a trance and it also knows how to bring you back.
Ever seen someone space out a little in the car in front of you and not notice that the light went green? That was a trance (someone paying more attention to their inside world of thoughts, feelings, self-tak and internal images than their outside world of motor vehicle and traffic signs). They eventually got the meassge that the lights were green, and whether you alerted them to it with your horn, or they suddenly realized that they'd spaced away - they did not get stuck in a trance in their car in a trance.
Hypnosis is an incredibly safe and practical tool to effect great changes and implement wonderful new ways of being in your life. You can learn all you like about it and read all the current literature, however, ultimately, the only way to make an informed decision is to experience it for yourself!