Frequently asked questions about Psychotherapy, Hypnotherapy & coaching
This frequently asked questions section refers to the most frequently asked questions about hypnotherapy. Please read down for the questions about coaching and psychotherapy.
How soon can I be seen?
It depends on where you are, some appointments are available within two weeks. If not, I’m happy to put people on a waiting list to give someone priority when space is made available. Some slots like Tuesday and Thursday evening in Abingdon tend to go quickly. Oxford is limited to office hours as it’s based in a GP practice.
How many treatments am I likely to require?
This varies enormously. It can only be estimated after your consultation and following discussion with you about your goals and wishes. I am always happy to offer one-off sessions for coaching, stress management and deep relaxation. With hypnotherapy, it usually takes about 3 weeks for the subconscious to start processing all the new information. Anxiety usually takes between 6 – 12 sessions. Depression 12-16, and Specific phobias between 3 and 5. If clients utilise all the tools they can progress faster. Some problems take much longer if there are a lot of different issues needed to be tackled.
Many find the hypnotherapy very relaxing and will book in a couple of times a year to just “top up”. Others find the talking therapies help when they don’t feel a friend or spouse can help. It just helps to talk to a non judgemental person.
Is Hypnotherapy available on the NHS?
Hypnotherapy may be available in some hospitals. For example, Cardiff Hospital has a hypnotherapy section in the Oncology department. Manchester Hospital Dr Whorwell carried out research into the effectiveness of hypnotherapy on IBS. It was so successful NICE recommended hypnotherapy as the go-to treatment for the condition. However, Hypnotherapists are not employed by the NHS purely because of the lack of empirical research data.
The Natural Complementary Healthcare Council (NCHC) was set up to promote complementary services by NHS doctors, and The College of Medicine promotes the use of hypnosis to GPs as part of their integrated medicine foundation. Although I have worked from GP practices over the last 10 years, none of them refers patients to me as part of the policy of the NHS.
Will I have to see you every week?
For Hypnotherapy it is usual to have a session once a week until such improvements have been made that the gap between sessions usually goes to every two weeks, then three, then months.
Weight loss it is usual to have sessions up to the first stone being lost, then once a month or 6 weeks thereafter.
Coaching usually working up to a deadline. Such as the day of the interview, the driving test, the exam.
In this case please make sure you make the initial consultation a good month to 6 weeks beforehand.
In the case of fear of flying it is best to work a month up to the flight.
What will happen on my first Session?
You will be asked for a more in-depth history of your current condition and symptoms. Also about any other medical problems that you currently have, or have had in the past, as these may be relevant. You will also be asked about your personal goals and expectations of treatment. The things you would like to achieve, where possible. I then go through how the brain works, so that you get a full understanding of why we use the treatments and techniques we do. You will be shown how to induce a trance state and given printed material to help you start the process of change.
Children over 10 years can be accompanied by an adult during the consultation. It’s not preferred during sessions unless the child asks.
I have worked with young people in the past, in schools as well as one to one, helping them with communication skills and to get over performance anxiety. I have a DBS check.
For coaching, we discuss personal goals, resources and look at current tools and processes for change.
Do I need to be referred by a doctor?
No, but I will need a complete medical history of any mental health problems, as some medical conditions cannot be treated by psychotherapy or hypnotherapy. If you have medical insurance and wish to make a claim for your treatment, check with the insurers first, as not all support talking therapies.
What do you do with my personal information?
The various associations, organisations and insurance require records be kept in a securely locked filing cabinet for up to 10 years or if children, up until they are 25. At this point, I shred and burn the records. If you wish for the records to be destroyed sooner then a record of this request needs to be put on record.
At the initial consultation, I require a signature from you to say you are happy for me to contact you by email, phone or text. I may require confirmation that you are happy for me to contact your GP if it’s deemed necessary. None of the information such as email address is shared and all emails and texts are password protected.
>Do I need to bring anything with me?
No, just yourself. If you want to think about your goals for coaching then please feel free to bring anything you’ve written down along.
What happens in each session?
That depends on what activity you are coming for.
Psychotherapy – Usually we talk about the good things happening, how close to your goals you are, how you are going to achieve them etc.
Coaching and Mentoring – Usually looking at techniques to help attain certain goals and skills.
Hypnotherapy – A mix of the above plus a 20 minute deep relaxation session which addresses the subconscious into making changes.
Is Hypnosis mind control?
No, only that it helps you to control your own mind more effectively. Research has shown that a person will only do what they really want under hypnotic suggestion. Stage performances generally are acting out what is expected of them.
This is why (as well as ethical reasons) I cannot see a child, where a parent wants the child to change behaviour for example.
Do I need someone to drive me home after Hypnotherapy?
No, Hypnotherapy is not sleep. It’s focused attention. You will be able to function as well after a session as you did before.
Is hypnosis real?
Hypnosis is a normal state of aroused, attentive and highly focused concentration. It is comparable to being so absorbed in a movie or novel that one loses awareness of his or her surroundings.
Dr David Spiegel, from Stanford University, scanned the brains of volunteers who were told they were looking at coloured objects when they were in fact, black and white. Increased blood flow, shown up in a brain scan indicated that they were actually seeing colour, as they had been told they would (created expectation in trance). In people who were asked to imagine colours showed they were remembering colours not experiencing them in reality.
Further trials at Oxford University by Devin Terhune on colour synesthesia shows areas of the brain can change under hypnosis to either experience colour synesthesia or change how they experience it.
What if I change my mind and decide not to complete therapy – would anything happen?
Well, hypnotherapy isn’t for everyone. All I ask is that you give enough notice to cancel the session otherwise I will have to charge the cost of the room. Unfortunately, some people are impatient for change. The brain takes 3 weeks to upload new memories and takes 8 weeks to change the way the brain lays down new pathways. Anyone promising change in one session are not likely to fully understand how the brain works.
What kind of problems can you treat?
Hypnotherapy can help any anxiety-related problem, from stress to mild depression, from phobias to IBS. It also enhances performance such as in sports or interview techniques. It can break bad habits such as helping stop smoking and losing weight. This works by addressing the part of the brain which can take control of the habit. There is a whole list of conditions it can help on this website.
On average how many sessions are required?
It depends on the problem, how long the person has had it and what else is going on in that person’s life.
For example, I saw 3 teenagers with needle phobia at the same time. One took the usually 4 sessions as he didn’t have any additional stress. Another took 5 sessions as we had to lower her anxiety about an exam coming up. The last one took 8 sessions because she was very shy and had a lot of other issues. (she’s had a life-threatening illness and we had to deal with before concentrating on her phobia)
Do you have to have a suggestive personality for it to work?
It helps but is not totally essential. It needs someone to be open and wants to change. Judgmental people are unlikely to allow themselves to relax enough to go into trance.
Do you record the sessions so it can be played again by the patient?
No, as the quality is too poor. I provide CDs or MP3s of a number of sessions which although generalised help with sleep, confidence, stop smoking and being controlled over food choices.
How much is each session?
The answer is in fees and sessions
Are you registered with a professional organisation and insured?
Yes, CNHC, NCH, AfSFH and I am insured with Begans insurance.
Does it work for everyone?
No therapy works for everyone, even therapies like CBT, and medicines also do not have 100% compatibility with every person. For a person to get the most out of hypnotherapy they need to want to make changes and to carry out the homework. It’s a collaboration. If someone thinks it’s all about waving a magic wand and it’s gone in one session are not being realistic.
Can you hypnotise me to stop me remembering bad times?
No, but I can help you come to terms with the bad times, or we can scramble past events so they do not carry so much emotional charge anymore.
Can hypnosis get rid of red cheeks?
If you mean blushing then yes. If you have a skin complaint, then reducing stress can lower your chances of it getting out of hand. See Eczema
Can hypnosis help with confidence?
It sure can. Confidence building is at the heart of hypnotherapy. See my confidence building page.
Does hypnotherapy work for anxiety?
It’s excellent for anxiety. I teach mindfulness too and BWRT can help with traumatic experiences.
What sort of things does it help / why would you do it?
See above and click on this website.