Perhaps the most frequently asked question for a hypnotherapist is ‘what does hypnosis involve?’ If I was to judge what the second most asked question is I would say it is: ‘what does a typical hypnotherapy session involve?’
Well first of all there is no such thing as a typical hypnotherapy session. Because you are you and do not come with the same life experiences as the next client, the sessions cannot be the same. That’s good news isn’t it: that sessions are tailored to you; that therapy addresses the specific issues you bring and not any old generic problem.
That said, the way I work is often to spend at least the first half of therapy talking through with you about what you want to achieve. Often clients will say what they want to not happen (‘I want to stop feeling…stop doing…’) and I will steer them towards what they do want; what they would like to feel or think or how they would like to behave.
In fact it may be that the whole session is taken up doing just that and we don’t get around to any hypnosis – and that’s ok. Hypnotherapy, like hypnosis itself, puts you in the driving seat. The therapist is really acting as the satnav to lead you to where you want to be. I will ask if you are happy to go into hypnosis beforehand and you may decide that on this occasion you would rather just talk it through.
Of course there are benefits to using hypnosis rather than just talking therapy alone. One of those is quietening the conscious mind for a while as the subconscious starts to listen and respond to new ways of dealing with things. It is direct and effective but is not required. I would encourage you to take charge of your therapy by telling your therapist what you want to achieve and how you would like to achieve it.
Some people expect that change is something that happens to them rather than something that is worked at and achieved. For this reason one of the important aspects of the session is agreeing homework with you. The homework is agreed between us. It has to be realistically achievable and completed to realise the benefits from the therapy because the change work doesn’t stop the moment you leave the consulting room: it is just beginning.