What is Hypnotherapy?

What is hypnotherapy? I have a whole new appreciation for hypnotism. Before, I thought it was kind of hokey to be honest, and admittedly dismissed the concept as a kind of gimmick. However, after a few different clients inquired about whether I provided these services, I kept it in the back of my mind. Then several weeks later, I was literally walking down the street and saw a sign out of the corner of my eye, "Hypnotherapy Training Here". So one thing lead to another, and I learned from award winning Master Hypnotherapist, Debbie Papadakis. This summer, I spent nine intensive days learning, studying and practising hypnosis. It was a hugely enlightening both personally and professionally. Before my hypnotherapy training, I had a fear of zip lining. My husband and I just went to Las Vegas for his 40th birthday, and he would have liked to go zip lining. However, I had no interest due to a fear that stemmed from watching two different tv shows that depicted zip lining excursions gone awry. It was a completely irrational fear of course, as there are thousands of zip lining excursions that happen daily that are perfectly professional, safe and fun. Also irrational because statistically one probably runs even more of a risk of accidents just walking down the street. Well, I am pleased to report that during my hypnotherapy training, I was able to work past my zip lining phobia. Debbie used me to demonstrate how to work with a client who has a fear/ phobia. It was quite fascinating. Within 45 minutes of hypnosis working on creating an association between zip lining and something I enjoyed (figure skating), I was free of this fear. In fact, I was feeling so enthused about it that I plan on doing my first zip lining excursion in August of this year! So, what exactly is hypnotherapy? Let me start off by explaining what hypnotherapy is NOT. It is not mind control. It is not brainwashing. It is not a manipulative way to get you to divulge all your secrets. It is not getting you to cluck like a chicken while hopping on one foot. With hypnotherapy, you still have full control over yourself. You still make your own choices. You can choose to say or not say whatever you need to. And clucking like a chicken is kept for stage hypnosis, which is a different purpose and usage entirely. What hypnotherapy involves is relaxing the logical, analytical and over-thinking conscious mind and then accessing the feelings, emotions and beliefs of the subconscious mind. Beliefs could act as road blocks in the mind, or alternatively they can help provide freedom to achieve. The mind is an amazing, powerful tool that is often not used to it's full potential. Through hypnotherapy, you can focus your attention more on what it is that you want to achieve or resolve. You can visualize and thusly actualize your ideal version of yourself. Core issues can be addressed readily and effectively, which facilitates the path of learning, growing and healing. Undesirable habits can be eradicated, such as biting nails, smoking or over eating. You can readily address past hurts and traumas, and come to a place of acceptance and forgiveness. This is all done in traditional psychotherapy as well, absolutely. However, with hypnotherapy, it is done more efficiently and effectively. It is the ultimate short-term therapy, that has long-lasting results. I was so excited by what I was learning in the class that I was eager to try it right away on family, friends and existing clients. I wasn't sure how people would react. Some made the jokes about clucking like a chicken. However, I was actually surprised how open and willing most were. I was also surprised at how effective it was to those who were receptive to it. Their whole demeanour changed after the treatment. They were smiling, they were relaxed, they were feeling positive. To me, this felt like a hidden secret that I had discovered. Why did I not catch onto this earlier? I continue to feel excited to use this technique with my individuals and couples. I realize now that hypnotherapy is actually a beautiful combination of many theoretical approaches, including strengths-based technique, mindfulness, psychoanalytic, cognitive behavioural therapy, emotionally focussed therapy, solution focussed, and internal systems theory. I am fascinated to continue to learn more about hypnosis and continue to hone this new skill in my practise.