A few years ago, upon hearing the word, hypnotherapy, we’d have made assumptions of a world of dangling pendulums and mystifying mind-control. Today, however, we live in a society that’s becoming more and more accepting of the power of therapy and the importance of managing our mental health with most people now putting the health of their mind ahead of their body. Keeping in line with this sentiment, hypnotherapy is now accepted by most as a well-established alternative to traditional therapy and yet so many remain in the dark about what hypnotherapy actually is, what it can do for your mental health and how a hypnotherapy session actually works.
As it turns out hypnotherapy isn’t about existing in a strange, dazed state, under the mind-control of someone other than yourself. Instead, it’s a form of meditation used to examine the rationale of your thoughts and change your default thinking that’s causing you to feel anxious. Despite images conjured up by the media, hypnosis is simply a focus of attention and quieting of the conscious, analytical mind.
According to statistics, hypnotherapy is the most effective form of therapy in the shortest time. In the 1970s a study showed that hypnotherapy had a 93% success rate after just six sessions compared to behavioural therapy which had a success of 72% after 22 sessions and psychoanalysis which had 33% success rate after 200 sessions. Furthermore, it’s the only form of therapy that has a 90% success rate for treating smoking. Suddenly, it’s a little harder to explain why people turn to hypnotherapy as a last resort in the therapy sphere…
For Fiona Lamb, hypnotherapy not only helped her deal with her anxiety but it dealt with issues that led to her completely changing her life. During her adolescent years, Fiona struggled with anxiety and low confidence. Assuming this was part of life, she tried to brush it off but eventually, her mental health struggles became so crippling that they left her suffering from severe insomnia and reliant on medication. She tried the usual solutions, cognitive behavioural therapy and expensive sessions with psychologists and felt nothing was working. Upon the recommendation of a friend, Fiona decided to give hypnotherapy a try. Despite initial scepticism, Fiona was amazed to find that hypnotherapy serves as a method of therapy that actually helped her to deal with her anxiety issues. Not only did it allow her to progress in her life at the time, scoring a job in Canary Wharf but it also changed her life in the long term as she eventually decided to take a complete leap of faith and pursue a career as a hypnotherapist.
Fiona attended conferences, received cutting edge training from Paul McKenna and studied religiously, determined to become someone who could help others in the same way that she had been helped. Today she’s based in the iconic Harley Street and throughout her success and all of her learning in the field, her goal has remained the same, pushing for a culture where people aren’t afraid to reach out and get the help they need.
Here, Harley Street Hypnotherapist, Fiona Lamb sheds light on the power of hypnotherapy in helping anxiety and confidence related issues.
What is hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is using a deep form of trance to make changes on an unconscious level. This can change unwanted beliefs, habits and thoughts on a conscious level to bring about lasting change.
How does hypnotherapy work?
It’s a very similar state to meditation but we engage more of the imagination – the right side of the brain. It is only ever the emotional part of our minds that can cause us unwanted feelings and emotions. We start to get your imagination to work in your favour rather than against you.
What can people expect from their very first hypnotherapy session?
We talk through the issue and I make sure I have a good clear picture of what needs to be addressed. I get people to chat through their history so I can identify where any limitations may be stemming from. It’s also important to talk about how people want to feel. We get so distracted by how we don’t want to feel we can almost forget it is we DO want. Then we start the hypnosis part of the session which can take up to an hour. The first session is all about starting to break down the barriers and any emotional resistance. Obviously the fewer barriers someone has the quicker it will be.
What do you wish more people knew or understood about hypnotherapy?
I wish they wouldn’t be scared of it or see it as a mystical thing. The unconscious mind is part of the mind that isn’t easily accessible in everyday life but that doesn’t mean you should be afraid of it. Fundamentally we are all the same and want to feel safe, loved and protected. Hypnosis is a natural state and not how the media makes out at all.
“The unconscious mind is part of the mind that isn’t easily accessible in everyday life but that doesn’t mean you should be afraid of it.”
Is there an ideal candidate for hypnotherapy? What kind of people do you feel benefit most from hypnotherapy?
Many of my clients have said this is like a short cut and wish they had known about it years ago. If someone has tried everything and still feels stuck in bad habits or with emotional problems then it’s a great way of fast-tracking the issue. People spend years in therapy is what we address in just a few sessions.
Let’s talk about the technique of regression. What specifically drew you to this technique?
I love regression because it allows us to make each session individual to the person. It’s a method that involves regressing people to the cause of their issue. It’s usually a time when the person learnt to feel unsafe or picked up a bad habit such as a food addiction. There is always a reason why someone is thinking or feeling the way they do and what we do is teach your mind to think rationally about it. If we are young or go through shock we have no logic so ideas become stuck in the emotional mind. We essentially update old programmes.
“There is always a reason why someone is thinking or feeling the way they do and what we do is teach your mind to think rationally about it.”
In what way do you feel regression helped you with your confidence?
I myself moved schools many times when I was young and learnt to feel unsafe. I used to blush, worry and overthink. I learnt to feel in a heightened state but this was just my mind trying to protect me from perceived danger. When I worked through this I was much calmer and more relaxed to be myself.
How do you deal with anxiety?
If I feel myself becoming slightly worried about something or on edge I do guided meditation or self-hypnosis downloads. They help relax me and bring logic back into my thought processes.
Tell us about some quick, on-the-go confidence boosting tricks you swear by
When we feel anxious our bodies go into a heightened state and we produce more adrenaline. This can speed up our heart rate and make us breathe faster. Make a conscious effort to slow this down and this will trick your body into thinking you are relaxed.
Remember you are enough. The biggest fear we have is that we aren’t good enough and we learn to question ourselves thinking we should be doing more. When we learn that we are enough we put less pressure on ourselves and as a result become more relaxed.
Learn to let go. When I had anxiety I used to want to control everything. That’s what made me want to learn hypnotherapy – I needed to know why it worked when nothing else did. There are some things in life we can’t control and we need to be ok with that. Doubt doesn’t mean danger.
“There are some things in life we can’t control and we need to be ok with that. Doubt doesn’t mean danger.”