Hypnotherapy in Cheltenham and Online
What is Hypnotherapy?
Did you know there are different styles of hypnotherapy? Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy (Hypno-CBT®) is an is an evidence-based therapy integrating hypnosis, cognitive behavioural therapy, and mindfulness. Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy emphasises the use of focused attention, expectation, suggestion, and imagination. Being in hypnosis is a bit like daydreaming. Like nutritional therapy, hypnotherapy also puts you in the driving seat, giving you the tools you need to support yourself going forward. Hypnosis is not just something that is ‘done’ to you like magic. It is a collaborative therapy, and you will learn the trainable skills of self-hypnosis. Hypnotherapy is nothing like the stage hypnosis you might have seen! If you’d like to know more about this style of hypnosis and how it might help you then please arrange a free call with me.
What to expect
I offer hypnotherapy in Cheltenham or for your convenience online via Zoom, which is equally effective. Hypnosis is experienced differently by different people, but it is generally a relaxing experience where you use focused attention and your imagination to help embed suggestions I make that support your goal. Hypnosis isn’t like being asleep, although some people may feel sleepy during hypnosis. It is a bit like daydreaming. You are likely to be able to hear sounds around you and think your thoughts in a normal way. Although hypnosis is not the same as relaxation, relaxation is often used to introduce hypnosis. You don’t need to worry about being ‘stuck’ in hypnosis as this will not happen and I will always allow time for you to emerge comfortably from hypnosis.
At the beginning of the therapy session, there is time for you to talk safely about your issue and I may ask some questions. I might use some cognitive behavioural techniques if suitable. We will agree on your goal and how to support it. Then I will do a hypnosis session for you that will last about 20-30 minutes. Afterwards, you will feedback on how the experience was. We will agree on some ‘homework’ which is usually listening to a recorded hypnosis. Making time for homework is an important part of your hypnotherapy and it may take longer to reach your goal if you don’t make time for it. In fact, if you do not think you can find 20 minutes a few times a week, if not daily, to listen to your hypnosis recording, hypnotherapy might not be the right therapy for you.
How a Hypnotherapist can help
Hypnotherapy is a safe complementary therapy that can support many issues and challenges. I trained in hypnotherapy to support my nutrition clients with IBS and anxiety but it can be used for so many other issues. Hypnosis is ideally suited for the following issues: anxiety, low mood, confidence building, improved assertiveness, habit changing, mild addiction, phobia, pain management, improved sleep, menopause and IBS. Hypnotherapy is a fairly ‘quick’ therapy compared to some and is often used as a short-term therapy though some may choose to use it for longer. Each person and case are different but typically people tend to need about 6 sessions. After your first hypnotherapy session it is unlikely you will have reached your goal but you may already start to feel more relaxed and confident. Although it is a quick therapy, it is not magic, and it does involve your collaboration in the process. There are some diagnosed conditions that are not suited for hypnotherapy and some which I do not work with such as eating disorders and cancer. Other conditions outside my sphere of competence include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), severe anxiety disorders, major depressive disorders, bipolar, personality disorders, schizophrenia and psychosis. Please feel free to ask me more if you’d like to know if hypnotherapy is suitable for you.
Hypnotherapy for IBS
It’s exciting to learn that hypnotherapy is a well-evidenced therapy for IBS and other functional gut disorders. Hypnotherapy for IBS is called gut-directed hypnotherapy and is backed by evidence and recommended by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE). IBS, (irritable bowel syndrome) is not a disease but rather a diagnosis from your doctor based on a collection of symptoms where disease has been ruled out through testing and symptom discussion. The good news is there’s no serious disease. The bad news is there is no ‘treatment’. Hypnotherapy for IBS can be effective. Hypnotherapy can support the nervous system of the gut which can become over-sensitive. Hypnotherapy supports the gut-brain axis which is made up of the nervous system of the gut, the vagus nerve, the brain, hormones and the species that live in the gut (gut bacteria). Hypnotherapy can support better communication between the gut and the brain. This is another reason for hypnotherapy for anxiety is so effective. During the hypnosis, as you focus away from the current issues and become relaxed the brain can also start to relax and become less concerned about your worries. During this period of relaxed absorption, the brain is more open and receptive to suggestions that your hypnotherapist is making in the session. According to research studies, during hypnosis particular areas of the brain have altered connectivity and activity. The suggestions made during hypnosis might initially be around relaxation, but they will then go onto more specific suggestions related to your digestive issues. For example, ‘you do not experience pain, discomfort or bloating.’ With repetition, over time the brain will respond to these suggestions with results such as less perceived pain and discomfort. Gut-directed hypnotherapy is a research-based protocol of 6 sessions, however, I treat everyone as individuals and you may choose to have more or fewer sessions as desired. Nutritional therapy can also help address root causes of IBS.
Hypnotherapy for anxiety
Hypnotherapy for anxiety is well supported by research studies. It is particularly effective to combine hypnotherapy for anxiety with CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), and my CB Hypno training combines both hypnotherapy and cognitive behavioural techniques. These CBT techniques might involve bringing awareness to unhelpful thoughts or behaviour patterns and replacing them with more helpful ones. This is supported by hypnosis work where different approaches are used depending on the type of anxiety and trigger. As with most hypnotherapy sessions, this is generally based around getting you into a nice relaxed state first, then using some suggestions in hypnosis to support your goal. I will also teach you relaxation skills and techniques. Self-hypnosis is one of them!
Hypnotherapy for healthy eating habits
Hypnotherapy can support behaviour change and unhelpful habits. This is something that can be a challenge when nutrition clients want to change their diets and lifestyle. You know what to eat! You know what’s healthy and what unhealthy habits are undermining your health goals. But just knowing this isn’t always enough. Life can get in the way. And you find yourself back to old habits. Emotions can undermine our good intentions. We can’t rely on willpower. Hypnotherapy can support you in making changes so you achieve your goals. We can explore challenges using CBT and find coping skills and positive ways to overcome these unhelpful behaviours. Hypnotherapy also supports a positive mindset and self-confidence which are really important when making lifestyle changes.
Hypnotherapy for menopause and self-confidence
It might surprise you to learn that menopause can be supported by hypnotherapy. Let me explain a bit more. There are multiple symptoms and challenges that arise during peri-menopause and menopause. These might include irritability, anxiety, loss of confidence, aches and pains, hot flushes, digestive issues, headaches, allergies, insomnia and more. Hypnotherapy can support different aspects of these issues such as anxiety and irritability. Hypnotherapy supports sleep and can be used to support pain and even hot flushes. Hypnotherapy can be a tool in your toolbox for generally coping with the challenges of life and for building back your sense of self. Please feel free to ask me more about this.
Nutritional Therapy with Hypnotherapy
I always tell my nutritional therapy clients that diet is often just one piece of the puzzle. There are many factors that influence our health and mental health including physical activity, sleep, stress and relationships. Lifestyle medicine is just as important as diet and nutrition! Many of my clients have mild anxiety or stress and a lot of them can link their IBS symptoms to their stress. High blood pressure and raised blood sugar (blood glucose levels) can also be linked to stress. A combination of nutritional therapy and hypnotherapy aims to support the diet and lifestyle together with extra support for the nervous system through hypnotherapy sessions. Hypnotherapy is also effective at supporting unhelpful habits, thoughts or behaviours that may interfere with you achieving your health goal. So hypnotherapy is an excellent therapy either on its own or combined with dietary changes. These hypnotherapy sessions can be conducted over Zoom or I offer in-person hypnotherapy in Cheltenham. My combined introductory program includes 3 nutritional therapy sessions and 3 hypnotherapy sessions. This is an introduction to both hypnotherapy and nutritional therapy and it is likely that you may need more sessions. If you are having nutritional therapy, you can also add hypnotherapy at any point on a pay-as-you-go basis if desired.