Has somebody told you that you have to relax for hypnotherapy to work? Or have you tried it with somebody who didn’t realise that you can’t be too anxious for hypnotherapy to work?<!–more–>
Hypnosis is not about relaxing, although that is a commonly used method to attain a trance state. However, it is a fallacy that you need to be able to relax in order to benefit from hypnotherapy.
There are many ways to get into trance and one of my favourites for people who are afraid of ‘letting go’ or using relaxation is a combination of EFT and NLP where you are always awake and aware.
Having said that, relaxation is obviously a very useful skill to learn for anxiety!
You can relax! (You just don’t have to)
Hypnotherapy does not take away your choices or your conscious mind, and does not stop you from thinking all together. However it does put you in a deeper state of mind, where your brainwaves are in a ‘Theta’ state and you are therefore more open to unconscious learning and suggestion. You usually remain aware of what is being said, although your mind may well drift off somewhere as it would in a daydream. You are always in control if you want to be, and are free to accept or reject suggestions. The hypnosis is being done at your request, for a purpose, so it is all in your control.
As I always say “If I ask you to relax your leg, I can’t relax it for you.” There are many hypnotherapists who practice on a more authoritative approach and the client is ‘told’ what to do, and usually does it. The reason I do not work with this type of technique is that I prefer to teach my clients that they can control their own minds and that they should reject suggestions of any kind that they do not feel comfortable with.
Once you have practised the art of letting go feelings anxiety or the thoughts that come with it, you will gain more control over it.
At home practice
Tell yourself ‘every time one of ‘those’ thoughts comes into your head “I will consciously relax my body and notice that I am safe right now”.
After a while before the thought even comes into your conscious mind, the unconscious will have you automatically relaxing and noticing you are safe. It is about teaching your brain and the unconscious to change its habits. The more you practice being safe and relaxed, without anxiety, the more your unconscious learns that it does not need the anxiety to be safe.
To sum up, then, relaxation helps your anxiety, and is beneficial to the hypnotherapy session, but it is not essential for hypnosis to work.