A Guide to Hypnotherapy
Hypnosis is a state of altered awareness, usually somewhere between the awake state and sleep. In this state, the mind appears to be very open to suggestion and, consequently hypnosis is a powerful tool for developing positive thinking, confidence and reducing stress.
With cancer sufferers the main aim is to develop positive thinking and establish a state of calm, relaxed confidence. It can also be used with counselling to assist other changes like giving up smoking, relaxing before treatments or learning to cope with specific stress situations.
Hypnotherapy is not magic; it is a two-way process involving client and therapist deciding together on changes to be made and the methods to be used. Under hypnosis the client remains aware and in control but in a deeply relaxed state. Contrary to some mistaken ideas, the client could get up and walk out at any time.
Hypnotherapy is very similar to many other sessions offered at the Gentle Approach to Cancer including: relaxation, meditation and visualisation. The control of breathing is also important. The only significant difference between these processes is that in hypnotherapy, the relaxed state is used to effect therapy.
A session of hypnotherapy involves:
a) Consultation - where the issues are discussed and a therapy route negotiated between client and therapist.
b) Relaxing the body physically in as comfortable position as possible.
c) Relaxing the mind usually by calming visualisation.
d) Therapy takes place
e) The client is left in a calm, relaxed and confident state of mind.
If you have a hypnotherapy session, you can make it more effective by doing ‘homework’. This might involve becoming more aware of positive changes, even small ones, and jotting them down. You may be surprised to see the list grow throughout the days. It may also involve practising the calming techniques of self-hypnosis, a skill that the hypnotherapist can teach you, like any skill it becomes easier with practise.
Vicky Brown - June 2001 Newsletter