Author – Emmy Gilmour
When I began my hypnotherapy training I really knew very little about what hypnosis actually was. Like many people my experiences of hypnosis had been restricted to stage hypnosis and hypnotists seemed to be powerful and mystical beings. What I came to learn was that hypnosis is not something that ‘happens’ to a person but a process within which they take part.
In the context of a clinical hypnosis, a skilled practitioner guides their subject into a very relaxed and suggestible state in order to achieve a specific therapeutic outcome. The hypnotist is entirely dependent upon their subject to be not only a willing participant but also someone who has some degree of faith or belief in the process. People who don’t want to be hypnotized will not benefit from the process because it is essentially a collaboration between two parties.
I was most interested in developing my skills as a hypnotherapist because I wanted to see if hypnosis would be a useful tool when working with patients here at The Recover Clinic: sufferers of eating disorders and trauma. What became clear is that hypnosis could be an excellent tool in aiding our patients particularly with regards to reducing anxiety. If we were able to create a hyper-relaxed state for our patients and then make positive ‘suggestions’ then we could lower their anxiety and help them to feel physically better. We run a meditation group several times a week at the clinic and much of this not only includes mindfulness meditation but also the introduction and practice of self-hypnosis techniques.
It is essential that sufferers are able to take themselves into a place of peace and contentment, especially when they are dealing with many of the challenges of early recovery. When we introduce this concept our patients find it difficult to imagine being able to guide themselves into a quieter and more peaceful state and often state that they ‘won’t be able to do it’. What they haven’t realized is that they are already practicing self-hypnosis.
They are repeating a lot of negative and critical statements to themselves on a daily basis, these statements are being absorbed into their consciousness and have become part of their self-belief systems. Once they realize that they are already using the techniques and that all they need to do is to direct the focus of their attention toward a more positive outcome, they start to become more inspired and motivated. Their ability to take themselves into a productive state of inner absorption allows them to reduce their anxiety, control their emotions and gives them time to form responses that they feel more confident in.