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Hypnotherapy - Can it help you?

Words: Tracy Knox

The pros and cons of hypnotherapy, or hypnosis, have been the subject of many debates. "Who can it help?" "Does it actually work?" "How does it work?" "Will it work on me?" "Is it safe?" These are just some of the questions asked. DO IT NOW chatted to Educational and Sport Psychologist Andrea Kellerman to get some answers and find out if it really is an unobtrusive, powerful way to get quick and amazing results.

Q: What is the aim of hypnotherapy?
The aim of hypnotherapy is to help you gain more control over your mind, so that you can change unwanted behaviors and achieve your goals.

Q: What can hypnotherapy be used for?
Anything that requires a change in thought and behavior patterns. Hypnotherapy works very well when needing to achieve a certain goal, change negative thought patterns, increase self-esteem, change bad habits like overeating, cravings, smoking, and obsessions, sport performance, stress, insomnia and sleep disorders due to constant thoughts or worries, helping the person to cope better and stress less, weight loss, public speaking, study habits, depression, memory improvement, concentration and focus, motivation, exam help, and ADHD/ADD, to name just a few.

Q: What are the key things you look to achieve when performing the procedure?
I want to give my clients the ability to be mentally stronger, control their own minds better, and learn how their conscious and subconscious mind works. Generally, people don’t know how to change unwanted behaviors and habits, and think that they don’t have enough will power. They don’t understand that their thoughts, experiences, and beliefs are ingrained in their subconscious mind and often 'pop up' automatically. We normally only control our conscious mind (only 10% of our brain capacity) and I help my clients to learn how to control their subconscious mind to be more 'powerful' in their daily lives and sport. In other words, I am like a personal trainer for the mind.

Q: What sorts of principles go into hypnotherapy? Is it about, for example, mind over matter, or will over physics?
Many people and athletes underestimate the power of the mind. Often we are motivated, have trained enough, but have fears, negative thoughts and beliefs, or other mental obstacles that keep us from achieving our goals. Hypnotherapy is about learning to use our ENTIRE mind, overcoming limitations and achieving our goals easier and more effectively.

Q: Take me through the process of hypnotherapy?
The client and I establish the suggestions (the things I tell them) together. I then use relaxing techniques to help them unwind and cycle down the brain waves. The hypnotic state is similar to daydreaming. It is a natural state to be in, very safe and without any side effects.

Clients do not have to be asleep, as seen in people during stage hypnosis (hypnosis performed in front of an audience for the purposes of entertainment, usually in a theatre or club). In fact, hypnotherapy is completely different to what is seen on stage and TV, as the client is always in control during the process.

When the brain waves are cycled down, suggestions are given to reach the goals, as determined by the client. The client will often hear everything I say during the session. When in this relaxed state of mind, I am able to 'speak' to the subconscious mind and change negative thoughts and behaviors into positive, desired ones.

Visualisation techniques are also used to reshape thoughts and behaviors. Our mind does not know the difference between reality and visualisations, thus negative thoughts, anxieties and the like can be changed effectively through hypnotherapy.

Q: Can anyone be hypnotised?
Anyone can be hypnotised in my rooms. My hypnotherapy techniques are very positive and relaxing. However, if you look at what is done on stage or on TV shows, it has been evident that 20% of the population is highly susceptible and 80% are not. This means that those things that are done on stage can only be done to those highly susceptible people, not to people who like to be in control and cannot relax easily. I help people achieve their own goals and change negative habits and behaviors. This means I give them more control over their lives and that is why my hypnotherapy sessions generally work for anyone.

Q: How many successful patients have you had when looking at goals and achievements?
I have been working with hypnotherapy for more than six years and can’t count the amount of successes I've had with my clients. And even after all this time, I am still amazed to see how well the process works and how the mind can change.

Q: What has been your most successful case?
That’s difficult to say. I have had many sports people who achieved great results after hypnotherapy, such as winning the BMX World Championships and first places in the Dusi and national swim events, as well as podium places at international gymnastics events, cycle races, tennis and golf tournaments, and many more. However, I also had incredible results with people who were absolutely desperate to change but couldn’t on their own, such as to stop smoking, lose weight, being able to sleep, and overcome distress.

Q: Have you had any pessimists regarding hypnotherapy?
Yes, I have had a number of people who were very pessimistic, but they generally changed their mind when they saw what advantage it can give them. Once they achieved their goals easier than ever before, they changed from being pessimistic to being a big 'fan' of hypnotherapy.

Q: What about the length of treatment?
The first treatment is 90 minutes, in which I need to find out exactly what the client wants to change and achieve. The follow up appointments are 60 minutes and is where we work on everything that has changed over the last week. Treatments are generally seven to ten days apart from each other. On average, I see a client three to seven times. After that they have learnt how to control their mind and achieve their goals.

Q: What made you want to go into hypnotherapy?
After having studied Biokinetics, Human Movement Science and Psychology, I worked with clients in different settings. I found that the traditional way of working, such as counselling, was not fast and effective enough. The mind is so powerful and we only use a small fraction of it. I wanted to help people more effectively. The only way to get through to the subconscious mind is to use hypnosis. That is why I specialise in hypnotherapy and generally achieve better, faster, and longer lasting results with it.

Q: How do I choose a good hypnotherapist?
It is important to find out what qualifications they have. They should have a degree in psychology and hypnotherapy. Furthermore, they should belong to a hypnotherapy association and medical body. Some therapists specialise in certain treatment areas and it is useful to find a therapist who has worked with clients who have had good results in the treatment area that you are interested in.

There you have it, the lowdown on hypnotherapy and how it could benefit you. so Are you ready to use your powerful, vivid imagination to let go of self-sabotage and attain the results that you desire?

If you are looking for a personal trainer for your mind, contact Andrea Kellerman (B.A., H.E.D., Psych Hon, Med. Psych, NF Practitioner, Adv. Dip. Hyp.) by email
or visit www.eq-advantedge.co.za

Did you know?
The word hypnosis comes from the Greek 'hyp' meaning 'behind' and 'gnosis' meaning 'knowledge'.