On occasion, people tell me that they are sceptical about hypnotherapy. They don’t believe in it, as if it were some kind of mysticism. They tell me how it’s helped their mum or their friend, but hypnotherapy doesn’t work on them. So why does this therapy work on some people and not others?
The truth is no-one really knows. On experiments done at Yale University, Professor Speigal found that about 10% of the population is highly suggestible. If hypnotherapy relied purely on suggestion then it wouldn’t be quite as effective as it is.
Personally, I think it’s the person not allowing themselves to go into trance. Other things can affect it too. Several clients I’ve seen for severe anxiety and panic attacks had severe breathing difficulties because of their smoking habit. Research has found that panic disorder is much more likely if the persons smokes.
Letting go is the key
When we go into the trance state, our brain waves move from the fast Beta waves to slower Alpha – the same brainwaves as day dreaming, then they slow more and go into Theta. Theta also happens in REM sleep and there are many similarities between trance work and dreaming. Often my clients report that their eyes twitch as they move into that very relaxed state. They are experiencing REM whilst awake.
Sometimes the person will drift down further into Delta waves where they lose sense of time and don’t remember what’s been said. It doesn’t matter, as the subconscious mind hears and processes it all.
At the Theta stage, the Limbic system starts to quieten down and the area around it begins to be more active. This area has been shown that if suggestions are made at this time, we are much more willing to accept them.
So letting go, not being so uptight and fully relaxing will get us there. For those it doesn’t work on, I suggest that it’s because they haven’t fully relaxed and allowed themselves to enter that state. That comes down to trust and I guess a belief that they can change a habit or lower their general anxiety. If they truly believe they can’t, it won’t be until that belief changes will they be able to change their mind and benefit from hypnosis.
So therapeutic alliance between therapist and client means that one person can have hypnotherapy with one hypnotherapist and it won’t work – I’ve had women come to me saying they saw a male therapist but they couldn’t relax – but they see another one and it works beautifully. So next time you think a therapy won’t work for you, check out the therapist, not just the therapy.
Also see: hypnotherapy