Tell Me About Hypnotherapy!

The ending of a relationship is a hugely stressful time in anyone’s life. We often lean on friends and family for support at this time. However, working with a therapist can help accelerate the healing process and enable you to make better decisions more quickly, which is vital if you are divorcing. In this series of blogs, we will explore different types of therapy and how they work. The same type will not work for everyone, so it is important to find the one that works for you. In the UK, we often view working with a therapist as a sign of weakness, but you will find that most of the people you consider to be strong have at some time or other sought help from therapy.

Tell Me About Hypnotherapy!susan-leigh
by Susan Leigh

Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve surprised yourself at the way you’ve reacted, found yourself behaving in a way so completely out of character that shocked friends have commented on your response, saying it was completely disproportionate to what had happened? I’m guessing many of us have been there on occasion.

Our later reflections may cause us to realise we’d been triggered by a word, phrase, gesture, tone of voice or the situation itself. It had evoked responses linking to a past similar experience. We may have found ourselves reacting in a way that was completely inappropriate, unlike us, but which took us back to an earlier time, perhaps in childhood, when we’d felt under-resourced, inadequately equipped and unable to control our behaviour.

In high stress situations, some people become childlike, stubborn or sulky, as they unconsciously regress to a time when they had no positive adult options available to them. Back then, they’d felt stuck, without the language skills, reasoning or life experiences since acquired along the way. They’d become stubborn, awkward or difficult, those being the only options available at that time. 

Present-day situations may elicit that same response, with frustrated friends or family commenting, ‘you need to grow up!’ But these situations are often, ‘I can’t help myself’ moments, emotional times that result in us feeling quite vulnerable. Communicating those feelings isn’t always easy or straightforward, especially if we’ve come from a family background unused to discussing such matters.

We may have grown up being a people-pleaser, behaving in ways we felt were expected of us, trying to keep the peace. Or instead we preferred to say nothing, never voicing our opinions or views for fear of being perceived in a negative light, as stupid, arrogant or pushy.

Overcoming responses that have long been engrained in our unconscious, perhaps from childhood, is not easy, especially from childhood. These responses may have been repeated throughout the years, regularly reinforced, so becoming second-nature. 

Hypnotherapy is an effective way of healing automatic, embedded habits, behaviours or response patterns as it treats the origins of the problem. It can help with those times when our behaviour occurs so automatically that we find ourselves reacting without consciously engaging, even though we may afterwards feel regretful or berate ourselves. 

Relationships are situations where we may feel under pressure to do whatever is required to keep the relationship alive, no matter what the personal cost may be. We may have grown up feeling inadequate, unattractive, needing to be grateful for any attention coming our way. This outlook influences our view of the world, how we expect to be treated, what we anticipate for ourselves.

Our expectations are communicated to others through our body language, with other people unconsciously sensing how they can treat us. Hypnotherapy can clear out historic, out-dated responses and allow for better, more appropriate ways of feeling about ourselves, including our subsequent successes, achievements and life experiences.            

Some people feel apprehensive at the thought of hypnotherapy; ‘what will happen, will I open a Pandora’s Box, not know what I’m saying or doing, lose control?’ They may not realise that being in a state of trance or hypnosis is a natural, familiar state in our everyday lives. Think of going round a supermarket, in a dreamy state until you get to the aisle you’re interested in, or sat in a boring meeting, drifting off vaguely until someone says your name, or driving somewhere you go to regularly, suddenly realising where you are.

You’re in a drifty, floaty, secure state where you’re relaxed and disengaged. Your attention span has reduced a little and you’re only half awake. You’re not asleep, but functioning fine, operating on auto-pilot, able to go about familiar tasks and activities without much conscious intervention.

At those times you’ve neither lost control, nor given away your power. You’d be instantly awake and alert if something was said or done which required your input or attention. But, for the duration, there’s no need to be fully conscious and engaged. But, whilst in that state,  if something were to happen, someone were to speak, perhaps say something unexpected, untoward, you’d become instantly awake and alert.

Human beings spend approximately 85% of their time in a trance state, performing their regular tasks, going about their daily routines, not fully awake, but equally not asleep. Not everything we do requires full conscious engagement. If it did, we’d be mentally exhausted after a few hours! As human beings only 1/7 of our minds are fully conscious, alert and aware of what we need to do, of what requires attention and input. 6/7 of our minds are the unconscious, where everything we’ve ever thought, felt, experienced throughout our lives is stored.

We never forget anything, including how we felt at that time, but that may only become apparent when a photograph, phrase or old friend from our past pops up and triggers reminiscences, things we thought we’d forgotten. We’re affected by both our good and bad past experiences. The bad associations can disrupt our lives and trigger unfortunate outcomes.

Hypnotherapy can help by healing and assimilating hurtful or painful memories and responses, subsequently updating them to something more relevant and appropriate for where we are in our lives today.

Being in a positive state allows us to go about our everyday lives in a comfortable manner. But, if we’re constantly anticipating the worst, expecting bad things to be said or done, then we’re in a negative trance state and could benefit from some help and hypnotherapeutic intervention.

Susan Leigh
Altrincham counsellor and hypnotherapist. For appointments please contact

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