From Svengali to Scooby-doo the media have portrayed a very inaccurate and misleading picture of hypnosis. Stage-hypnotists have done likewise. Reality is very different. Clinical hypnosis is solution-focused, client-centred, respectful, yet powerfully effective.
1. What is Clinical Hypnosis?
Hypnosis is a process of focused or absorbed attention in which there is reduced awareness of peripheral matters and an openness to new ideas or perspectives. Clinical hypnosis uses this natural process to assist a client or patient to reduce symptoms of medical or emotional problems, to let go of stuck patterns of thoughts or habits, and to access and enhance their own abilities and resources. It often involves relaxation and the use of the imagination.
2. What does hypnosis feel like?
What does hypnosis feel like? There is no one feeling that everyone experiences. Some people feel very relaxed like they are sinking into their seat, others feeling very light as though floating, others feel like they are just sitting listening to someone talking. Clinical hypnosis is often a type of insightful conversation rather than a special state.
3. I am concerned about losing control. Will that happen?
Clinical hypnosis is a collaborative process based on mutual trust and consent. You always retain control while in hypnosis. A part of your mind is always looking out for your safety and wellbeing. You cannot be made to do something against your values. Clinical hypnosis is about helping you tap into the power of your own mind to achieve the changes you want to make.
4. What is meant by natural everyday hypnosis?
Hypnosis is a natural process we all experience to some extent on a regular basis. Examples include day-dreaming, being lost in thought and losing track of a conversation, an athlete being “in the zone” or a “flow state”, becoming so engrossed in a task, movie, or story that one doesn’t hear being called to dinner, driving a familiar route on ”automatic pilot” and not being able to recall the landmarks one must have passed en route.
5. Can everyone experience hypnosis?
Yes, to varying degrees. Like all natural talents the ability to easily experience hypnosis varies from person to person. Some people are more naturally gifted and the ability also improves with practice. It is easier when you are relaxed, comfortable, and know you are safe. Fear and over-analysis inhibit effective clinical hypnosis. Very intelligent people with good imaginations do well.
6. Will I blurt out any secrets?
No. You can’t be made to reveal your bank PIN number or embarrassing secrets. You always have a choice in what you share.
7. How many sessions will I need?
Most people gain benefit from the first session and should have made significant progress by the third or fourth session if not sooner. Some benefit from a series of visits, for example, the Irritable Bowel Syndrome protocol spread over seven sessions.
8. Who might benefit from clinical hypnosis?
People find it useful for relieving chronic pain, anxiety, phobias, emotional trauma, letting go of habits such as smoking or nail-biting, and for improving confidence and performance.
9. Can hypnosis help me to remember things I have forgotten?
While people often gain insights and make connections they hadn’t thought of before, and hypnosis can enhance natural memory (for example recalling where one left the car keys), trying to recover repressed memories with hypnosis risks installing false memories of things that never happened.
10. Will I remember what happens or is said in hypnosis?
Most people remember as much as they would in any normal conversation. You always have a part of your mind that is observing. Even if you don’t consciously remember what is said your unconscious mind is always aware at some level.
11. Can hypnosis be combined with other therapies?
Yes. It can be combined with other forms of treatment. Published evidence indicates, for instance, that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is 70% more effective when combined with hypnosis than CBT alone.
12. Is hypnosis covered by provincial insurance (MSP in BC) or extended medical plans?
It is not covered by MSP in BC. We are not aware of any extended medical plans that cover hypnosis by a physician. Some private insurance may include coverage for hypnosis when provided by a registered clinical counsellor or psychologist when included in psychotherapy. Fees for uninsured services such as hypnosis are due at the time of service or before.