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People can sometimes develop ways of responding to situations which turn out to be unhelpful or unhealthy. These responses may have short-term benefits but are not useful in the long term. For example someone may deal with a difficult issue by eating a lot of chocolate because it makes him or her feel better, but then develop weight and health issues. They may find it hard to stop, feeling that they ‘need’ chocolate to cope.

Alternatively some people become distressed or anxious in a threatening situation but then find they are afraid of those feelings re-occurring and start to avoid similar ones. A person who experienced severe turbulence during a flight may not be able to face another flight even though years have passed and the original incident is long forgotten.

If someone experiences a great deal of pressure at work or at home they may feel overwhelmed and unable to see a way forward. This may fix upon a particular challenge, like exams or presentations, which become a huge problem, creating a knock on effect to other parts of their lives. Alternatively increased anxiety over a period of time may lead to physical symptoms like headaches, I.B.S, psoriasis etc. or unusual tiredness.

Hypnotherapy is a way of directly modifying seemingly ‘habitual’ responses where maybe the individual feels powerless to change, but Hypnotherapy can restore control and confidence.It is a method of achieving a feeling of deep relaxation. Contrary to popular myth this comfortable, pleasant state does not imply any loss of control. Not only does the client have to co-operate to some degree with the therapist, they also can reject any suggestions that are not acceptable. There is part of the mind which stays ‘on guard’ in hypnosis and can chose not to respond.

The Hypnotherapist establishes with the client at the beginning of treatment exactly what they want to change. The suggestions that are made to clients follow these wishes, directing the subconscious mind (the bit that deals with ‘habits’) to make the appropriate changes. The person is then encouraged to relax, achieving a state similar to being absorbed in a good book or film, where the mind is very narrowly focussed and other things are ‘in the background’.

The depth of the relaxation may vary from person to person but in the majority of cases whatever is said during hypnosis is remembered clearly afterwards.

The number of sessions needed varies according to the issue to be treated and its complexity. However this can be discussed with the therapist before treatment begins as can any other queries or concerns. Stopping smoking is usually one longer treatment. Self-hypnosis can also be very powerful as a tool for change. A ‘personalised’ programme works best and the individual will need to be motivated to persevere!

If you have further questions or would like to contact a Hypnotherapist it is useful to go via a body such as the British Society for Clinical Hypnosis who list approved practitioners by area. I would be very happy to talk to anyone from the Bristol area and my contact details are below.

Information supplied by:
Jane Lawrence

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