Hypnotherapy: Sorting fact from fiction

If you’ve seen a hypnosis show, the first thing that may come to mind when you think of hypnotherapy is being forced to cluck like a chicken. Well, think again.

Hypnotherapy is increasingly being turned to for a wide number of reasons – chook imitation not one of them.

Help with weight loss, quitting smoking, conquering phobias and recovering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are just some of the reasons people embark on hypnotherapy.

“It is also becoming more broadly accepted as a treatment to assist people with depression and anxiety,” explains clinical hypnotherapist Justine Williams from The Feel Good Studio.

Here’s what to expect if you try hypnotherapy:

Will you be in control during hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy itself can cause anxiety due to the common misconception that you’ll relinquish all self-control.

“It’s important to know that you have free will, and that no seeds can be planted into your mind that go against your values,” says Justine.

Frequency of hypnotherapy treatments

How often you’ll need a hypnotherapy session depends on what issue you’re wanting to address and its complexity.

“Some clients come in once per week over a period of four to six weeks to help treat a phobia, whereas someone with anxiety may choose to see their hypnotherapist on a regular basis,” says Justine.

What happens during hypnotherapy treatment

Initially the therapist will go through your history and ask what you’re hoping to get from the session.

“If clients are unsure of their goals, we will work with the feelings that the client will prefer to feel moving forward,” says Justine.

You’ll then either sit or lie down and be guided into a deeply relaxing hypnotic trance.


What it feels like to be in a trance state

Even if you’ve never had hypnotherapy before, it’s likely you have been in a trance.

“If you have ever driven from A to B on autopilot and wondered how you got there, you were effectively in a trance,” says Justine.

“One part of your mind is deeply relaxed and unfocused, whereas another part of your mind was in control – you stopped at traffic lights, you didn’t hit another car, you were able to park.”

What you’ll remember after hypnotherapy

“Many clients feel like they are in trance for only five minutes, when they are actually in trance for 30 to 50 minutes,” says Justine.

You’ll be brought back from your trance at the end of the session, and you may find you can recall everything, or only certain parts.

“It depends on whether something compelling comes up or a memory you haven’t thought about for decades,” she says.

Hypnotherapy after-care

“Before you jump in the car and zoom off to the next thing on your to-do list, it’s important to take a few minutes, have a glass of water and enjoy the sense of wellbeing and peace you are feeling,” says Justine.

You may feel floaty and drowsy, or energised and clear-headed.

Regardless of your energy levels, the goal of all sessions is for you to feel deeply relaxed and inspired afterwards.

Written by Samantha Allemann