Ask The Hypnotherapist #6 - November 14th 2008
Is it safe to drive after listening to a hypnotherapy session?
Yes, it is generally safe to drive after hypnotherapy. Most people drive in a light hypnotic state at times anyway. You may have experienced getting to your destination, only to realize that you can barely remember the journey. That’s because you were in a trance when driving. However I would recommend waiting a few minutes after a hypnosis session, and making sure you felt ‘awake enough’ to drive competently, just to be sure. I would certainly not recommend you listening to any hypnosis sessions whilst driving. It is not worth the risk, as it would probably hamper the therapy, and would increase your risk of falling asleep at the wheel.
I have a very specific problem which I’d like to see a hypnotherapist in person about. I’ve heard that most hypnotherapists start off with a consultation. What actually happens during these consultations?
Every hypnotherapist does things slightly differently, in their own way. A consultation is usually a talk with the hypnotherapist, without any trance work. They may or may not charge for this. The consultation process can have several functions. Often it helps the patient feel at ease with the hypnotherapist. They can meet the therapist, and ask any questions that might concern them. They can also discuss their specific problems. A good hypnotherapist can ask the appropriate questions, and ascertain the ‘root’ of the problem. For example a patient may put on weight due to increased eating caused by anxiety. The patient may present the problem of weight gain, but the hypnotherapist might treat their anxiety, and its link to eating, which ultimately solves the presenting problem. The hypnotherapist can then discuss with the patient a ‘treatment plan’, which may include several sessions if it is felt necessary. The patient can then discuss any thoughts on this with the hypnotherapist. You are both on the same team, so a good hypnotherapist will work with you to come up with a treatment plan that is suitable to your needs and expectations.
The patient may also wish to discuss what they expect from the therapy – what their goals and aims are. The hypnotherapists’ job is to help the patient achieve their therapeutic goals, unless it is deemed unethical to do so.
Is it possible to be “trapped” within a hypnotic trance?
No, because a trance is a natural state that everyone enters into several times a day. It is basically like daydreaming. Whilst it’s nice to daydream, you eventually get bored, or distracted, and ‘snap out’ of it. There has never been a report of this happening.
Will I be able to remember what went on during a hypnosis session?
Usually you can remember what has been said during a session. However you sometimes find that your mind drifts off to such pleasant and calming places, that you don’t really focus on what is being said, and so it easily slips out of your memory. This is rather like when someone is talking to you when you are deeply engrossed in a film. You may sort of hear them, but really take in what they are saying, or sometimes you may not really notice that they are talking at all! If you choose to focus on the words said, then you should easily be able to remember what has been said throughout the session.
Are some people more hypnotizable than others?
Whilst we all have a capacity to go into trance, some people seem more able to go deeper and quicker into trance than others. However it does not necessarily follow that the therapy is any more effective for these type of people. You also find that going into a trance is a skill not unlike any other. Generally the more hypnotherapy you receive, the better you become able to allow yourself to go into deeper trances.
I came across a couple of news pieces recently where a hypnotherapist worked to affectively “anaesthetize” a patient while a doctor or dentist operate on them, to great success. Do you see this becoming common practice in the future?
The first book I ever read on hypnosis discussed this point at length. One of the main strengths of hypnotherapy is its ability to control pain. A patient is usually able to undergo surgery with a significant reduction in anesthetics or pain killers – sometimes without any.
The main advantage of this is that pain killing drugs and anesthetics normally have side effects, which hamper the patients’ recovery. Hypnotherapy does not have these side effects, and so can allow the patients’ body to focus on recovering from the operation, rather than on recovering from both the operation and the pain killing drugs.
Despite this major advantage, I do not envisage this being common practice in the future. Hypnotherapy is not as predictable as anesthetic drugs. An anesthetist knows with a high degree of certainty how much of a drug he should give to a particular patient, how soon it will work, and for how long. With hypnotherapy, a patient may take 10 minutes, or may take over an hour to be anesthetized sufficiently to undergo an operation. It would probably be deemed inefficient and expensive to have a surgical team waiting for such uncertain periods, before they can commence an operation.
Also, because hypnotherapy generally takes longer to administer than anesthetics, many more clinical hypnotherapists would need to be employed, further driving up costs.
So although there are significant health benefits to hypnotherapy in operations, I do not feel that it will be widespread for thesel reasons. It would be nice to think that in the future, patients had the option of using hypnotherapy if they chose to.