Hypnotherapy works for everybody. Yes that statement is true.
Only if they want it to work! You might know that saying,
‘How many psychiatrists does it take to change a lightbulb’?
The answer is, ‘It doesn’t matter the light bulb has to want to change’.
Hypnosis does not work for everybody, and in my experience with thousands of clients over 14 years there have been a rare few cases that did not work.
In 1995 a review of 18 different studies involving 577 participants showed hypnotherapy to be consistently effective for treating most types of psychological problems. In total there are over 11,000 studies showing positive benefits using hypnotherapy as an intervention. "CBT combined with Hypnotherapy has a synergistic effect and showed even greater benefit" (Kirsch et al). 1999:4). No intervention (treatment) can ever claim to be 100% effective. It would not be ethical for a therapist to say they can cure you.
A study by William J. McGeown. from the Department of Psychology, University of Hull, UK, looked at the brain activity of people with high and low suggestibility while they were resting in the MRI scanner, engaged in specific visual tasks, and when they were in and out of hypnosis.
For the “highs” there was decreased brain activity in the anterior parts of the default mode circuit (DMC).
However, for the “lows” there was no change in these areas, plus, they also showed deactivation in areas associated with alertness.
The study concluded that hypnosis does produce unique brain activity in people who are highly suggestible.
Studies have also shown that people who thought they could not be hypnotised, could with training. All hypnosis is ‘self hypnosis’, but the therapist acts as a guide or coach to help someone go into a state of hypnosis. There is no such feeling as ‘feeling hypnotised’ and it is not the same as ‘Stage Hypnosis’. A professional therapist uses hypnosis as part of clinical therapy.
Recently one unique client came to see me with a long list of negative statements about herself about why she could not lose weight. For many years she had given herself a continuous dialogue for all the reasons she was overweight, and (she thought) she had ‘good’* reasons for being that way, and she believed that nothing would change her belief, and that she would never lose weight.
I asked her why she had come to me, and she said,
‘Well this is something I have not tried yet’.
I suspected that I would just be next in line for one of the many things she had tried and that this would fail again. I could not change her belief I could only point out that it was her belief she owned it and she could choose to keep it or change it.
Perhaps her real problem was deeper down, and she needed recognition for some deep seated hurt from the past. Maybe she was out to prove that nothing would work and thought that she would get some sort of satisfaction from proving yet again that even hypnotherapy would not work for her. I did not really want to work with this client, and spent some time using conscious therapy techniques. Eventually, she informed me that hypnosis had not and would not work for her, I don’t know. I responded by saying that she was an expert at self hypnosis and it was working very well for her! She did not like my response. Sadly until she learns how to change her belief, and negative thinking patterns nothing will change, and she will remain overweight.
I became just another in a long line of her ‘failures’ and somebody else she wanted to vent her inner frustration upon, but I would not accept that and gave her back the ownership of her feelings, which she did not like. My mistake was to agree to her demand to have hypnosis even though I did not think she was ready.
Until a time comes when she wants to change there is nothing I or anybody else can do.
On a positive note I am very glad to say that most of my clients respond very positively and that is the reason I continue. I have spent all my life caring for other people with my nursing background, then the pharmaceutical industry and voluntary work over the years, I find this type of work very rewarding and love hearing back from clients who feel the therapy was very successful for them. This includes deep seated phobias, relationship issues, smoking cessation, weight loss, confidence issues, fear of public speaking, pain management, and many other conditions where clients felt they had received limited help from traditional medical treatments, or other methods. I have won several national awards and recently the local Top Three Hypnotherapists in my region award.
If you are thinking of having hypnotherapy I would not hesitate; it is safe, and with trial evidence showing high levels of effectiveness. As for the fees every therapist charges a different hourly rate, but it is a very small price to pay a professional hypnotherapist for what can be a lifetime benefit.