Right now, my head feels like it might explode. I’m working from home with my two small boys (aged-five and two), and my husband is a teacher so is planning out how the heck he will deliver and teach his students from a distance. We also need to start home-schooling next week. We moved to our in-laws to get some more space – but it’s all a bit crazy to be honest. But I’m alive, I have a job, we are healthy and that is enough. People have been asking me about how I’m coping at the moment and the truth is that I’m using the hypnotherapy app I created – Clementine – on overdrive. I built Clementine so that it helps people who are feeling stressed, tired, worried, anxious and overwhelmed – to feel calm and confident. And I’m pretty sure that is exactly how most of us need to feel right now.
So how does hypnotherapy work? I know that so many people are still sceptical about what can be achieved with it. I’m going to debunk some of those myths about hypnotherapy because I believe that for women who have busy, frazzled and tired minds – this practise allows you to not only rest and relax, but also to re-train your brain into a more positive mindset.
Don’t worry you won’t lose control
The most common fear people have about hypnotherapy is that they will lose control. Part of this fear stems from seeing ‘hypnotists’ on TV where people from the audience are asked to perform tasks that they wouldn’t normally do and that this ‘lack of control’ will carry on without them being conscious of this.
This fear is misplaced because the objective or goal of hypnotherapy is “to empower the client with self-awareness and put them back in charge of their own behaviour, rather than to perform some kind of miracle.”
I don’t want to go into some deep trance state
No doubt when you think of hypnosis you think of someone being in a deep trance. Being in a ‘trance’ is not a special, otherworldly state into which we must be ‘put’ by someone else. Rather, it is a natural, everyday occurrence and a standard function of the human mind.
Interestingly, we’re moving between different levels of trance all the time. In fact, 100% consciousness is the rarity (if, indeed, it is possible at all). Any 'auto-drive' moment can be considered a hypnotic state. It’s when the subconscious rather than conscious mind is calling the shots.
An example of an effective trance would be the state of mind an experienced chef goes into while making a beautiful dinner. They can keep multiple pots boiling at once, they stir, add salt, and stick effortlessly to the correct timings because these behaviours are automated and handled by the subconscious mind, which has a far greater capacity than the conscious. If they were to try and control the process consciously, something would almost certainly get burned.
Other forms of the hypnotic state, however, will be undesirable. Imagine someone with a terrible habit of procrastination. Every time they try to sit down at their desk to do some work, they find themselves mindlessly tidying up, turning on the TV or playing Solitaire on the computer. These avoidant behaviours are not conscious choices. They’re in a 'procrastination trance.’
There is no scientific evidence that hypnotherapy works for treating anxiety
This is somewhat true because there are lots of different types of hypnotherapy. However, Quest Cognitive Hypnotherapy (QCH) - which is significantly different from the traditional schools of Hypnotherapy – draws on ideas from Evolutionary Psychology, Positive Psychology, Cognitive theory and NLP & incorporates them into a modern idea of hypnosis. They don’t advocate one single approach. The therapist will draw from many different approaches and create a framework that suits the client’s individual needs.
CBT is the current leading NHS treatment for these problems in the UK, with a success rate of 42% over the course of about 12 sessions. However, using the QCH approach a recent study showed Cognitive Hypnotherapy to have a success rate of 71% over 6 sessions, so very promising.
But aren’t meditation and hypnotherapy the same?
There are some similarities but also major differences in how these two practices work. The real purpose of mindfulness is to train the skills of noticing and letting go. This is achieved by turning one’s awareness inwards, giving the mind a simple task like counting breaths, and then practicing the ability to notice the thoughts that distract from that task before returning to it by letting those thoughts go.
Hypnotherapy has a much broader consideration than mindfulness meditation – it’s a form of talking therapy involving two people, rather than an individual practice, and it can be used in many different ways in order to achieve a desired result – feeling more calm, more confident, less stressed, sleeping better, losing weight, doing a presentation at work. Hypnotherapy accesses the subconscious mind and therefore allows you to more readily respond to imagery, metaphors, and emotion.
So how do you get the most out of using a hypnotherapy app?
The majority of my app, Clementine, is completely free and you don’t need to worry about finding a gap in your schedule to listen. We have built these sessions so that they can be used in everyday scenarios because we know you don’t have the time. So, for example – we just launched a new session called ‘Loo-Break Breather’ – this short 5 minute and 18 second session is so that you can hide in the loo and take a moment to relax on your own. We also launched another new really popular session called ‘Letting Go During Tricky Times’ that is great for when you wake up feeling a little anxious about the day ahead. It will help to set you up for worrying less about what you can’t control.
If you have had a particularly bad day at home with the kids – you can listen to the ‘Tough Day With The Kids’ session.
Most of the sessions can be listened to whilst doing some other activity like walking, cooking etc. The only sessions that require you to be lying down are our sleep sessions – for obvious reasons.
Can I get my kids involved in these sessions too?
Yes of course. In fact, my son and I have been listening to the ‘Power Nap’ session together for the past year. The sessions aren’t designed for them specifically, so some of the messaging won’t resonate as much as it does for the women using it. But getting into a habit of listening together would be a great family activity to do.
To find out more about Clementine, click here.