What’s Involved In A Hypnotherapy Session?
When I start work with someone for the first time, I always ask whether they have used hypnotherapy before. If the answer is no, my next best question is whether they have attended a yoga class or use meditation. I want to manage expectations and make people aware of what they may experience. You either have a conscious awareness of hypnosis or you do not! It is unusual for someone to say no to both questions, I work with more people that use some form of hypnosis regularly than do not. It does not matter what you do at home, your hypnotherapy session will follow the same plan.
Free Initial Consultation
I always start with a free initial consultation; this lasts an hour and gives me an opportunity to ask you all the questions to know the best way to work. Questions such as “how does it feel?” and “if you could remove your problem is there anything that will go away with it that you would like to keep?” I also ask general administration questions such as your medical history and your occupation. There is time for you to ask any questions as well.
During the initial consultation there is little active therapeutic work, although the likelihood of me sharing some little tips that I have taken from previous clients with similar concerns is high! However, many people do find that talking in such a way helps them view things from a different perspective. Sometimes the simple act of talking to an external person helps greatly. It is wonderful to see that happen, but it is not my intention. For me, it is important to get all the information you offer so that I know the best way to work. It is also an opportunity for me to confirm I do have the experience to work with you and for you to check you feel happy working with me.
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Digest The Previous Week
When you come back for your first hypnotherapy session, and every subsequent session thereafter we will digest the time in between last seeing each other. I want to know whether the work we did in the previous session changed anything. I also want to know whether anything new has come up. Sometimes changes will occur that you do not notice. Other times things will change that you did not expect. Occasionally things are worse, or different. Sometimes this is to do with the work we have done, other times it is completely unrelated. Take the client who was trying to find a way to manage her weight but turned up one day to tell me that she’d learnt her husband was having an affair. That certainly changed the course of our sessions.
It is important for me to learn what has happened for you in between sessions to know how to work in the current session. This might differ to the way some other therapists work. Some therapists will work to a set plan. Whilst I always have a vague plan, I find it better to be flexible with my approach. If I follow a plan, I need expectations of what will happen between sessions. If the expectations are not met my session plan will fall out of sync.
Sometimes we find that the in between session digest falls into a counselling session. I am primarily a hypnotherapist; however, I will not use hypnosis because I feel like I should. When you need to off load there is space to do so.
In my blog post Why Hypnosis isn’t The Therapy you will learn how hypnotherapists use hypnosis therapeutically and why hypnosis isn’t the therapy. Hypnosis is a state of mind like or the same as a meditative state of mind. This is a powerful mind state that you can use regularly to make positive changes to your life. I do believe it is a therapeutic tool and that if you were to meditate daily your life will improve. However, if you want to make a specific change to your life it will not happen with hypnosis alone and requires some form of therapy whilst you settle in the focused state of mind that is hypnosis.
Talk for Next Time
When we come to the end of the session, we’ll have a brief chat about what you can do in between sessions to help yourself. Sometimes I’ll give you specific exercises – such as writing down your values or goals. Other times I’ll suggest you practise hypnosis every day or use a technique that we used in the session.
We’ll discuss whether you want to come back for another hypnotherapy session and if so when. There is never any pressure from my end. I do recommend most people come weekly and that is usually for around four to six sessions. However, as I always say – just one session will help you feel better than no sessions.