Although it's been used in the mental health profession for decades, Hypnotherapy is still quite misunderstood.

So to help explain what it's all about, we asked someone who's never experienced it before to give Hypnotherapy a try and report back.

Here's what Eleanor Bruce had to say...

Eleanor Bruce

Setting The Scene

I met with Jess, the Hypnotherapist at Meadows Wellbeing, and being completely new to Hypnotherapy she started off by asking me what I knew about it, and whether I had any worries or concerns about the process. Naturally I told her I knew very little, and that I didn’t really have any worries.

It only took a sentence from Jess, though, to make me realise I did have some preconceived ideas about Hypnotherapy – e.g. that it’s normally used to make people do something they don’t want to, or to act silly on stage. And that I did have some worries, for example, it might open a can of emotional worms I’m not ready for.

But the great thing was that Jess made me realise all this by sharing her own experience; she spoke openly about her own introduction to Hypnotherapy, and how she’d come to practice it, and the fact she’d felt all the same things I was feeling (a little unsure what to expect, for instance), really set me at ease, and made me realise it was perfectly OK to be a bit nervous. As it turns out, I had no reason to be, but doing anything for the first time is a little nerve-wracking, and Jess’s relaxed approach made me see it’s totally fine to feel that way, which calmed me a lot.

The Therapy Side of Hypnotherapy

While part of me expected to just jump straight in with the hypnosis, the process actually kicked off with the ‘therapy side’, and I have to confess I wasn’t expecting this, although in hindsight it makes total sense.

As I now know, when you do a Hypnotherapy session, you tend to focus on a specific concern. Jess explained that Hypnotherapy is used for all kinds of mental health topics, including confidence building, dealing with trauma, anxiety, phobias, bad habits. It can also help with physical health worries such as trouble sleeping, unhelpful eating habits, smoking cessation, and pregnancy issues.

In my case we went with confidence building, but before I was ‘put under’ we had a discussion around some of the areas I feel less confident in my life. After giving an example, Jess very quickly honed in on some common themes and emotions I experience around my confidence, and I was again amazed at how at ease she made me feel. These were very emotional topics we were discussing, and it would have been all too easy for me to have been overwhelmed by them, but Jess communicated so calmly and with such a positive approach that I felt really empowered before we’d even done any hypnosis.

The Hypnosis Side of Hypnotherapy

Once we’d discussed the issues I wanted to address, how they made me feel, and what I wanted to get out of the session, Jess invited me to get comfortable and close my eyes. And this is where the hypnosis side of the session really began. 

Firstly I’ll say that there was no dangling watch, and not even any music for my session (though there can be). Instead, Jess talked me through a series of exercises related to my confidence. I won’t go into much detail about the hypnosis ‘script’ that Jess used as she told me that it varies greatly depending on the person. But in brief, she guided me through a relaxation routine, encouraged me to identify a peaceful place and word that I could use in the future to encourage relaxation, and then she talked me through a specific visualisation exercise to address my confidence issues.

How Did It Feel?

I’ve done guided meditations and relaxation exercises before, but Hypnotherapy was a very different experience and much more effective for me. I was more relaxed during the session than I’ve been in a long time, and the confidence building visualisation was really powerful. I came out of it really relaxed, but also feeling incredibly empowered, like I really could take on the world.

On reflection, I think the reason it was so effective was that it was very focused on my unique experience. Jess used names, places, and things I’d told her about my life throughout the Hypnotherapy session so when she spoke to me or gave me an exercise to do, it was all about my life and the challenges I was facing and therefore much more relatable. And because it was all about me and my life, my brain tuned in with a lot more focus.

The best thing about it, though, was that at no point did I feel out of control. Jess told me plainly that I could speak to her, ask questions, or stop the session at any time. I didn’t feel the need to do any of those things, but knowing I could was very important to me.

It was also a lot of fun. Jess has a really great energy about her, and came up with some really enjoyable exercises to do during the session, and I found myself smiling the whole way through, and giggling to myself quite a lot as I imagined different scenarios.

Overall I really enjoyed it, and I did find it effective.

I can definitely see that the more sessions you have, the more effective it will be, but even after one session I could sense a very subtle shift in how I view myself and the world around me.

Personally, I’m very keen to carry on and see what else I can achieve with the help of hypnotherapy.

meadow photo