In a nutshell, hypnotic trance is very similar to day dreaming. Looking out of the window and not quite focusing, maybe thinking of a holiday you are planning or imaging yourself solving a problem. When you are engrossed in a book or film, you are caught up in what you are seeing but unaware of the lapse of time. Driving familiar routes, where you arrive at the destination, but cannot remember the last few miles of driving. Painting, gardening, cooking, running, the gym, the list can be endless.
What is happening in our brains when this happens?
We are relaxed and comfortable with what we are doing, and without us being aware we are focusing our attention on a point, using our amazing imagination and coming up with solutions and ideas that are right for us.
The conscious part of our mind is relaxed and the sub-conscious part is more receptive and open to what we are thinking. This is where hypnotic trance can help.
Firstly, some myth busting, I cannot put someone in trance who doesn’t want to relax. The stage hypnosis acts appear clever and tries to show that the hypnotist has mind control over the person on the stage. These acts do a lot of research and questioning before the performance. They require people who are suggestive and are VERY eager to go on stage, these people have already convinced themselves that this will work and they want the experience.
If you do not want to relax, someone showing you a pocket watch and clicking their fingers will not take over your brain – by the way I do NOT have a pocket watch, and I don’t even say 3 2 1 and you’re back in the room!!!!
Once I have met a client, I give them a relaxation recording to listen to at home. This allows their brain to listen to my voice whilst feeling relaxed at home drifting off to sleep. During a hypnotherapy session in my therapy room, through questioning I gain an idea of their goals or best hopes, I don’t focus on their current problem. I then ask how their lives will be different when this problem is reduced or even gone.
This questioning gets the client to use their positive part of their brain and their imagination to describe what will be different. I cannot and will not give advice or suggestions, this is their life which is very different to mine. My solutions won’t work for them and vice a versa.
Once they have given me details into what they will be doing differently, they hop onto my couch and I talk to them. This is often another worry for people, that they will say something that they don’t want to or are embarrassed about. You do not talk through trance, just listen and relax 😊
During the trance I talk through the different parts of your body, asking you to relax them in turn. Then I ask you to walk down some steps into deeper relaxation and then take you on a journey, maybe a beach, a mountain, a sail boat, this is to allow your brain to use its imagination. I do not mention “The problem”, when you are not thinking of the problem you will be coming up with different solutions as that is what our positive part of the brain is designed to do. As the client was thinking of their solutions prior to trance this is what they will continue to do when in trance, but to an even deeper level.
When we think about our problems, the negative thinking disrupts healthy brain function. We become frightened, our heart rate increases, we breath fast and shallow and become hot and bothered. We then have brain fog, can’t concentrate and our mind races and cannot settle, we procrastinate and feel we have no motivation.
When we relax, the heart rate slows, our breathing is slow and steady, we feel relaxed and content, then our brain has time to sort out our best solutions and direction in a rational way that is right for us. We now feel we have a plan, a direction that is right for us, we now have motivation.
During trance, if I left the room and didn’t come back, the client would not remain in trance and not “wake up”. Very quickly their sub-conscious would notice the silence or change and make that person aware. It is the same when we are sound asleep, but a quiet sound can rouse us quickly, again this is the sub-conscious making us aware that something isn’t right, it is always scanning.
I can work with most people the majority of people can have a level of trance. If you have a physical symptom, such as regular headaches, breathlessness or stomach complaints I will always ask if you have seen a doctor to rule out medical problems. I cannot work with clients who are currently experiencing psychotic episodes and would also need to communicate with your consultant if you are suffering from schizophrenia.
I hope this has been useful to you, if you ever have any questions about hypnotherapy, or how it could possibly help you please get in touch.