Hypnosis is a gentle and safe psychological technique that’s been used by clinicians for centuries. Physically, it’s a natural, dreamlike state of mind that we all occasionally dip into – for example, when we’re engrossed in a book or totally absorbed in an activity. Although we’re detached from the world around us, we can instantly ‘wake up’ and refocus.
“The best thing about it was the way that I felt awful before the session and then so calm, confident and happy after it”RG
What is hypnosis like?
When you go into a hypnotic trance you slip into a relaxed, peaceful state of mind. Your attention is directed inwards and you become much less aware of what’s happening around you. Crucially for therapeutic hypnosis, your habitual patterns of thought are subdued, freeing you up to think more freely and creatively. Most people describe it as a relaxing and liberating experience.
Will I lose control?
Thanks to flamboyant stage shows, hypnosis is often misunderstood. Many people have the misconception that being hypnotised puts you under the control of the hypnotist. In fact, YOU choose how to react, and whether or not to engage with their instructions or suggestions. Put simply, you are always in control of your actions, and can’t be made to do anything against your will.
Why is it helpful to go into a trance?
Perhaps you want to overcome a difficult problem – something that’s held you back for years – but you can’t see a way forward. Hypnosis puts you into a relaxed, elastic state of mind where change is both more easily imagined, and more readily accepted. By changing your perspective, you can often discover your own way past your problem.
But IBS is a physical problem. How can hypnosis help?
The idea that mere thoughts have the power to create physical changes in your body might seem strange. But close your eyes and recall a past trauma and your heart starts to race, your muscles tense up, and your skin goes clammy. What happens inside your head can have an instant and powerful influence on multiple body systems.
Trance is a relaxed state of mind that allows you to reach a state of controlled imagination so vivid and convincing that your body responds physically, as if what you’re imagining is real. This is why hypnosis can be used to control pain during operations, and why – when it’s used repeatedly – it can help you achieve lasting improvements with conditions like IBS.
Is hypnosis a magic bullet?
No. The mere experience of being hypnotised does not guarantee success. A clinical hypnotherapist will guide you into a state of mind in which you are better able and more likely to make the changes that you want. Ultimately, though, it’s you who decides whether to change, and what form the changes take.
Can anyone be hypnotised?
It’s true that some people fall into a trance more readily than others, but with practice most people are able get better at it.
The idea that the brain can change itself, can change its structure and function through thought and activity is the most important alteration in our view of the brain.”Dr Norman Doidge, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst
Hypnosis for IBS – How can it help?
In Gut-Directed Hypnotherapy you learn how to control your particular IBS symptoms and retrain your gut to function better.
It typically takes around six sessions to sideline your symptoms, to the point where you can start to enjoy a more normal life.