Before discovering what can hypnotherapy help with, let’s first look at what hypnotherapy is. Hypnotherapy is simply a type of complementary and alternative therapy that uses hypnosis as a way of helping people to make positive changes.
There are many types of different types of hypnotherapy including; cognitive hypnotherapy, hypno-psychotherapy, and rapid transformational therapy. Whilst these will all have different approaches to bringing about desired change, they all use hypnosis in some way to help people find relief from their current condition.
The answer to what can hypnotherapy help with will therefore depend very much on what type of hypnotherapy you use. If you were attending sessions for past life regression and hoping for suggestions on how you could make positive changes to your future, then you are likely to come away very disappointed.
It is probable that you would be much more suited to using solution-focused hypnotherapy. Not only is this very future-focused but it is highly adaptable. It can help people with a whole spectrum of conditions and beliefs to change their way of thinking and achieve a positive shift in their mindset.
What is solution-focused hypnotherapy?
Solution-focused hypnotherapy is a modern type of hypnotherapy that uses a mixture of psychotherapy (talking therapy) and hypnosis. It also uses some practices from cognitive behavioural therapy. It helps clients to come up with solutions to their problems during their hypnotherapy sessions.
It is focused on helping clients to visualize and work towards their preferred future. A time when they are free from the symptoms of the debilitating condition that they sought help for.
It allows people to visualize how they would like to think, feel and act in the future. Solution-focused hypnotherapists believe that their clients have the skills and resources within themselves to solve their own problems. They just need help and support along the way and to be asked the right questions.
During therapy using future-focused questioning allows people to build up a picture in their minds of how they would like their life to be. Hypnosis enables the brain to find the right conditions in order to problem solve and help to make this vision possible.
What happens during hypnosis?
Hypnosis is a perfectly natural state that we all go into many times during the day. It’s often described as a state of altered focus, but it’s probably easier to think of it as a daydream. So when you’re gazing out of a window, apparently thinking about nothing, you’re actually experiencing hypnosis. You’ve entered a trance like state.
The hypnotic state of trance is really a problem-solving state that allows parts of your mind to communicate with each other to help solve your problems. Your brain can only do this when you’re in a state of relaxation.
When you’re awake and especially if you are stressed and anxious the beta waves in your brain will be dominant. In order to visualise and problem solve it’s necessary for your brain to produce fewer beta waves and more alpha and theta waves. When you’re in a trance that’s exactly what happens.
This is why hypnotherapy can be so beneficial as it allows you to spend more time with your brain in its problem-solving state. A trained therapist can help you quickly achieve this wonderful state of relaxation by using clinical hypnosis.
A solution-focused approach.
During the psychotherapy part of solution-focused hypnotherapy, you will start to build up a picture of your preferred future. This is your end destination. It’s how you would like to feel, act and behave when you have found freedom from your condition.
You could think of solution-focused hypnotherapy as the process of completing a jigsaw. The psychotherapy part enables you to get some kind of order to the pieces. You might start to put similar coloured pieces close to each other and start to build the outside edges.
Being in hypnosis enables you to see the complete picture so that you can see what the finished picture should look like. Over a number of weeks, you are able to put the pieces together to complete the puzzle.
One of the ways your brain does this is through a process called neuroplasticity.
Neuroplasticity refers to your brain’s ability to adapt and evolve. Your brain has an amazing ability to change. By using solution-focused hypnotherapy it’s quite possible to change your way of thinking. This can happen in just a few weeks. We’ve all heard of the adage ‘You are what you eat but equally true could be the expression ‘You are what you think’.
If you focus on the more negative aspects of your life and measure them by what might go wrong, you may well tend to have low levels of self-confidence and self-esteem. You’ll probably spend most of your time within your comfort zone. Therefore you’ll try not to push yourself to achieve more. Through repetition, you’ve actually conditioned your brain to think this way.
If, however you focus on the more positive aspects of your life you can start to think about your future quite differently. Instead of thinking of glass as being half empty, you start to build up positive pathways in your brain. This enables you to think more optimistically about the future. In a matter of weeks, you may start to think of the glass as being half full. As a result your levels of self-confidence and self-esteem rise.
Our primitive past
Our primitive brain is the oldest, an original part of our brain. We developed the more intellectual parts of our brain much later.
Our primitive brain looks out for our survival. As such it’s a very negative threat-based brain. The centre of this brain is the amygdala. One of its main jobs is to start our stress response. So if we feel threatened it will signal to other parts of our brain to produce stress hormones. This will increase our heart and breathing rate which will help us to either fight or run from the perceived threat.
Stress and its effect on our thinking
When you are stressed or anxious your thinking comes from your primitive brain. It doesn’t have to be one major event to cause you to think from your primitive mind. In fact, it’s more common for stress and anxiety to build up gradually over a period of time. The more anxious you are then the more your thinking comes from the primitive mind. The less then you are able to think from the intellectual part of your brain.
One of the major problems with this is that the primitive brain can’t be innovative. It has to look out for previous patterns of behaviour for its cues. So if for example you felt stressed and ate chocolate, then the next time you are stressed you will likely repeat that action. Over a period of time, through repetition, this becomes a habit.
Without even thinking, your go-to response for dealing with stress becomes reaching for chocolate. If you were to think from your intellectual brain you might choose to try an alternative such as; going for a walk or reading a book.
The obsessional mind
It’s also obsessional. Once your primitive brain has latched onto a belief it will remind you of it regularly. Your primitive brain is trying to keep you safe. As it is said to have the rationale and intelligence of a 4-5-year-old child it very often gets things wrong.
On top of this, it’s always on red alert scanning for the next thing to try and protect you from. Or more accurately worry about. This can quite quickly lead to feelings of overwhelm as it’s very easy to start the process of catastrophizing. Very often a small negative thought can lead to a snowballing effect. Before long the little thought has turned into a giant hurdle that seems almost impossible to overcome.
So what can hypnotherapy help with?
Solution-focused hypnotherapy is based on neuroscience. Its’ practices and techniques enable a person’s thinking to be moved from their primitive mind to their intellectual mind. There is no anxiety in your intellectual mind. It’s a very rational, logical mind that is great at problem-solving. It usually comes up with the right answers to your problems in life.
So the answer to what can hypnotherapy help with is actually whatever thoughts and beliefs have currently made themselves at home in a person’s primitive mind.
You will probably be familiar with some of the more well-known conditions that hypnotherapy can help with such as lowering stress and anxiety levels. It can also help people to stop smoking, and help them to manage their weight. But there are many more areas that solution-focused hypnotherapy can help with. It’s really so diverse.
Here are a few examples of the areas in which I have successfully used hypnotherapy to help people make positive changes.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
OCD is a mental illness. When a person is suffering from OCD they live with intrusive ruminating thoughts in their mind. These cause an increase in anxiety. Most people recognize that their behaviour is irrational and therefore a conflict occurs between the emotional and ration parts of the brain. Suffers, however, feel bound to carry them out to help keep themselves or others from harm.
The suffers ruminating thoughts are located within their primitive mind. It’s essentially trying to keep them safe by regularly reminding them to carry out their compulsion. OCD doesn’t exist in the intellectual mind. By lowering the anxiety surrounding the condition it is possible to quite quickly stop the ruminating thoughts. This is done by changing the area of the brain that controls thinking.
You can watch a client interview here where you can see how the online method I used transformed the life of Matt’s daughter who had previously been suffering from OCD for nearly a year.
You can find out more about hypnotherapy for OCD here.
It is easy to form both good and unwanted habits. Our brains are quite lazy in some respects and so encourage us to form habits. Our conscious mind represents a small part of our thinking with most of it coming from our unconscious mind. This is why it can be so difficult to break a habit as they lie in our unconscious primitive mind.
By lowering anxiety levels and by rebalancing the chemicals in the brain it is possible to start to think with the more intelligent parts of your brain. This allows you to take executive control over your habit, giving you the ability to stop it in its tracks.
Anger is one of our 3 primitive emotions alongside anxiety and depression. Our ancestors would have used it to help protect themselves from other tribes or wild animals.
The more anxiety that is present in a person’s life then, then the more they are likely to react with anger. If for example this month you have been made redundant and have bills coming in that you can’t pay, then that can lead to your anxiety levels rising. Someone cutting you up on the motorway can now be the straw that broke the camel’s back leading you to react with anger.
High anxiety levels will mean that your thinking will come from your emotional, irrational primitive mind which is more likely to react with anger than your intellectual mind. By lowering your anxiety levels, hypnotherapy can allow you to think and react with intelligence rather than anger.
You can find out more about hypnotherapy for anger here.
It is estimated that between 1.25 and 3.4 million people are affected by some form of disordered eating. A person’s anxiety around food can build up for a variety of reasons. They may have been the subject of bullying around their weight or they may have been influenced by unhelpful images in the media.
If the negative thoughts around food consumption and body weight are not successfully addressed it may with time lead to a person suffering from disordered eating.
The anxiety around disordered eating lies within the primitive brain. By using methods and practices from the neuroscience of how the brain works, solution-focused hypnotherapy can help to change the area of the brain that governs thinking. Within a relatively short period of time, it is possible to enable thinking to come from the intellectual mind which is logical and rational and takes a different view on body image and food consumption.
Confidence, procrastination and motivation
It’s very easy to find yourself lacking in both confidence and motivation, which in turn can lead to procrastination. Even when you know that your life would be so much easier if you completed tasks straight away, you always find a reason not to. If you have negative thoughts surrounding your abilities this can increase anxiety levels. Instead of thinking from your intellectual mind which is very driven and logical, your thinking comes from the emotional part of your brain.
This part of your brain will always try and take the easy way out in its misguided attempt to keep you safe. Why would you want to risk failure when you can stay within your comfort zone? By helping you to focus on the more positive aspects of your life and lower your anxiety, hypnotherapy can help you to be more confident, motivated, and driven.
You can find out more about hypnotherapy for confidence here.
For decades sporting professionals have been using hypnotherapy to mentally prepare themselves before a major sporting event. When the difference between placing first and second can be so minuscule, having the correct mindset before, during and after the event becomes increasingly important. Winners have realised that to repeatedly perform at their peak it’s necessary to be both physically and mentally prepared.
Sports hypnotherapy can help to give you the edge over your competition, helping you to perform to the best of your capability each time you compete.
There are so many variables when it comes to sporting performance, that it’s not possible to control them all. Amongst other things, using hypnotherapy can help sports performers; control their stress, remove mental blocks, positively reframe their thoughts and improve their levels of focus and self-belief.
You can find out more about hypnotherapy for sporting performance here
One of the major benefits of Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is that it can be carried out via Zoom. The therapy can actually be more beneficial when you are in your own familiar surroundings as you may find it easier to relax and enter a trance state.
If you would like to find out more about the benefits of online hypnotherapy, please use this link.
I’ve provided you with just a few examples that answer the question; what can hypnotherapy help with. The reality is that solution-focused hypnotherapy is so diverse that it can help with absolutely anything that you are anxious about and want to change.
If you would like to find out more ways in which hypnotherapy can help you to make positive change, then you can like to read an earlier blog; on the amazing benefits of hypnotherapy. Here you will find conditions including irritable bowel syndrome, pain management and weight loss discussed.
Author: Ian Murton HPD DSFH AfSFH Reg NCH Reg CNHC Reg is an award-winning Solution Focused Hypnotherapist running sessions via Zoom from his home on the Bedfordshire/ Hertfordshire border.
Perhaps you might be interested in reading some of my other blogs;
Zoom hypnotherapy online – It really works a treat
Anxiety and Insomnia: How hypnotherapy helps
Hypnosis for fear of flying – Achieve incredible results