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Online Hypnotherapy: Will it Work for You?

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A few weeks ago now, I wrote an article for Psychology Today on the benefits of online therapy and how studies show that it is as equally effective as psychotherapy delivered face-to-face (click here). Since that article went live, I’ve had a fair few emails asking if that also applied to hypnotherapy. And the short answer to that question is, “yes.’”

During the pandemic, hypnotherapists had to switch their clinics to an entirely online affair whether people liked it or not. Since then, as with other forms of therapy, some therapists have remained entirely online whilst others have offered both face-to-face and web therapy.

And whilst official studies into hypnotherapy delivered over digital platforms are few and far between (at least, as far as I know, so feel free to correct me if I am wrong), one study showed that it was effective in treating migraines (click here), whilst another suggested it was effective on children presenting with nocturnal enuresis, or bed wetting (click here).

On the anecdotal front, one magazine editor happily wrote about her experience with digitally delivered hypnotherapy (click here) whilst another espoused the joys of her FaceTime Hypnotherapy session (click here). Plus, there are a plethora of successful hypnotherapy apps available that simply require you to sit back and enjoy some beneficial suggestions delivered via your smartphone or tablet.

I know from experience that the one form of hypnotherapy is is just as effective as the other as I’ve been delivering it online for years now, since way before Coronavirus forced the first UK lockdown back in March 2020.

Quite early on in my therapy career (some 19 years or so at the time of writing), someone asked if they could continue seeing me whilst work sent them away across Europe to a variety of locations. I mainly saw them in various hotels rooms, but also once by a large and empty pool and another time on a patio with a glorious mountain in the background. Back then it was Skype rather than Zoom but, the wide variety of backdrops, both panoramic and otherwise, did nothing to hamper our work together.

At the end of the day (or beginning, or middle, or whenever you see fit to see your hypnotherapist) it all comes down to a matter of choice and/or preference. Some people prefer digital (or are constrained by other factors) whilst some prefer to see their therapist for real.

Reasons for wanting to see a hypnotherapist online include factors such as convenience, schedules, work/life balance management, the ability to choose a therapist from further afield (not just nationwide but other countries), enjoying the comfort of your own home, mobility issues, and more.

Web delivered hypnotherapy is just as effective as live hypnotherapy in treating a wide range of issues including stress (life stress, work stress, burnout syndrome, and so on), as well as anxiety disorders, reactive depression, anger-management, self-esteem and confidence issues, weight control, pain control and the like.

If you are thinking of digital hypnotherapy, there are a few things to consider in advance:

  • A good connection (this is vital for any form of online psychotherapy) enables every hypnotic suggestion to be delivered clearly and precisely
  • A good screen size (so laptops and tablets are preferable to smartphones)
  • A comfy chair (the comfier the better)
  • A blanket (if you like to be all warm and snuggly)
  • Good quality speakers (good quality headphones are even better)
  • Somewhere safe, private, and secure (it’s a therapy session, after all, and you will want to keep things confidential)

Another thing to consider is the severity of the problem. If you are at high-risk of suicide or self-harm, one-to-one live therapy with a nearby therapist plus a clear care plan discussed and agreed by you both is a better fit for you, no matter what modality of therapy is on offer. But, for anything at the mild-to-moderate end of the spectrum, you should be good to go.

If you would like to see me for online hypnotherapy, or even online rational emotive behaviour therapy (REBT), for that matter, my contact details are at the bottom of this page.

Finally, if you’re wondering, REBT is a rather nifty and elegant form of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) that works well on everything mentioned above (stress management, anxiety issues, confidence issues and so on), either on its own or in conjunction with hypnotherapy.

Hypnotherapy: Icebergs and Hidden Depths

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Quite often in psychology they compare the mind to an iceberg in the ocean. It was Freud who originally came up with the analogy. But why, and what purpose does it serve?

 

Well, very simply put, there is about ten percent of an iceberg above the waterline. You can see it. But, there’s about 90 per cent of that iceberg hidden below the waterline, and you can’t see it. It’s what can make them quite tricky buggers (or bergs) to navigate.

 

And there are two parts to your mind (again, very simply put): the conscious and the unconscious, but it’s not a fifty-fifty split.

 

Which is where that analogy comes in.

 

Your conscious mind is like the ten percent part of the iceberg visible above the waterline. It’s responsible for all your short-term memory ‘stuff.’ It’s responsible for your everyday thoughts. It’s the part of you that remembers that appointment you have at 1.30pm (if you remember that appointment, that is) and that phone number you only need to use once. It’s also the part of you that remembers to pick up a loaf of bread on the way home from work because your other half asked you to (and, because it’s cheeky and not entirely reliable, it sometimes only reminds you of that just as you cross the threshold to your home). And it’s also the logical, rational and analytical part of your mind.

 

But, what about the hidden bit?

 

What is actually going on with the 90 percent of the iceberg below the waterline? What is your unconscious mind responsible for?

 

Well, the short answer is, “everything else.”

 

Right now, as you read this article, you are blinking and breathing and regulating your body temperature, together with a thousand other process that you don’t consciously think about: your unconscious mind simply takes care of the for you. But, it’s also the database of everything you are. Everything you’ve ever learned and experienced, all of your skills and habits and all that you have seen and done.

 

To put it into a context, a 2017 study by tech giant Huawei found that whilst the brain actually makes around 35000 decisions every single day, we’re only ever conscious about a hundred of them. Most of our daily decisions then are made by the unconscious. We are not consciously aware of them. That means there’s a hell of a lot going on with that hidden beneath the surface part of you.

 

Now, a very nice thing happens in hypnotherapy and it happens to your mind. Hypnosis itself is a trance-like state, very similar to nodding off, daydreaming or losing yourself in a really good book. In this nice-and-dreamy, trance-like state, your conscious mind becomes more passive. It kind of takes a back seat for a while. When that happens, the unconscious part of your mind (that big old database of everything you are) becomes more alert and receptive to positive suggestions.

 

Especially when those suggestions are tied to goals you already know you want to achieve.

 

So, in a hypnotherapy session, the hypnotherapist can communicate directly with your unconscious mind and suggest new thoughts, feelings, behaviours and ideas. And these suggestions take hold because you are motivated for change; they take hold because those suggestions are totally in line with what you want to happen and how you want to be.

 

Pretty cool, huh?

October Mental Health

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It’s cold, it’s wet, winter is on its way and it’s getting darker for longer. Seasonally Adjusted Disorder aside, there’s a lot to feel down about this month but there is also a lot you can do about it as, mental health and wellbeing-wise, there’s quite a bit going on this October. Not only do we have World Mental Health Day, but we also have that perennial NHS stop smoking initiative, Stoptober. Stopping smoking will do wonders, not only for your physical health but also for your mental health. But, what exactly is the link between smoking and mental health?

Most people who smoke say smoking relaxes them but it can’t. It just can’t. Nicotine is a stimulant you see, not a relaxant. Smoke too much and you become over stimulated and more prone, therefore, to stress and anxiety. Studies have also shown that, over time, smokers are more likely to become depressed than non-smokers. 

When you quit the fags, however, you’re more likely to feel more calm and positive. There’s a strong correlation between quitting and improved life satisfaction levels.  You’ll feel more in control for a start. Some studies have suggested that the beneficial effects of stopping smoking on anxiety and depression can equal that of medications often prescribed for the two conditions.

By the by hypnotherapy (of which I am both a proponent and a practitioner) is one of the more successful methods for stopping smoking.

World Mental Health Day, meanwhile, is an opportunity for us all, at both a professional (i.e., at work) and personal level (i.e. in our day-to-day lives), to increase awareness of and decrease the stigma attached to mental health issues.

I personally would like to get to the point where going for a mental health check up is seen as just as important and just as routine as going to the doctors or the dentists.

Held every year on 10 October, the theme for this year’s World Mental Health Day is suicide (and more importantly) suicide prevention.

Every year 80,000 people around the world take their own life and many more attempt it. Here in the UK, it is the leading cause of death among young people aged 20-34 years.

Do you have a mental health advocate where you work? If so, ask them what they have planned for the day.

Or perhaps, think about what you can do to help.

For more information on World Mental Health Day click here and for more information on Stoptober click here.

Hypnotherapy: Here to Help you Shed those Pounds

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Hypnotherapy is an altered state of consciousness, very similar to daydreaming, or losing yourself in a really good book. In this trance-like state, your unconscious mind becomes very susceptible to positive suggestion, especially when those suggestions are tied to a goal you already know you want to achieve. When it comes to weight loss, whether you goal is to shed a few pounds or a few stone, you’ll be amazed at what a good hypnotherapist can help you with. Read more

Brand New Bristol Based Therapist

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Well, fairly new; well, sort of new. New-ish; okay, I moved here from London in January 2016 but, due to other work commitments, it’s taken me this long to sort a private practice out. However, I am a psychotherapist and I’ve been working as one since 2004. Read more