HOW DOES IT WORK?
For everything you do in life, you have to use your brain. Imagine then the power of working with someone who has the skills to help you transform how you use your own brain.
It would be an absolute honour to work with you to help you learn how change whatever it is you want to change about the way you use your mind, the way you feel when you wake up in the morning, or the way you act towards others and towards yourself on a day-to-day basis.
I work with talking techniques drawn from NLP, CBT, Positive Psychology and Solution Focus Brief Therapy to get you active in your own brain in a completely different and more beneficial way from previously. I also use applied education and learning about neuroscience, and also deep relaxation work, known as ‘hypnosis’ or ‘trance’. All three elements work together and all are important.
I'M MUCH CALMER NOW, AND I HAVE VERY MUCH IMPROVED RELATIONSHIPS
Before hypnotherapy I was extremely stressed and almost always working – I did very long hours in my work in Communications and also had a side-business I poured lots of hours into. I have always been a high achiever and perfectionist, but I was really pushing myself to my limits. In particularly busy periods, I hardly saw my partner, and I found it hard to make time for family and friends. I knew this wasn’t good, but at the same time I wasn’t really aware how much of a problem it was. Anxiety just took over me, and I lost a clear sense of who I am, what I like, what I’m passionate about – I felt like I was just treading water and trying to keep going.
As part of the process of hypnotherapy, I was able to reflect on myself as a person, and find out what I really want in life, and what’s important to me, with my family, my partner, and my mental and physical health taking a much higher priority than before. I’m much calmer now, and I have very much improved relationships all round as a result of being calmer and more centred. Right from the start of sessions I began allowing myself more time for rest and relaxation. I really feel I have much deeper, more connected relationships with myself and my family, friends and my partner as a direct result of coming to hypnotherapy.
(CAROLINE, 30, COMMUNICATIONS PROFESSIONAL)
The THREE COMPONENTS OF SOLUTION FOCUSED HYPNOTHERAPY
, There will be a practical outline of how to allow your brain to function in the most mentally healthy way.
Central to our work is that you gain a different understanding of what is going on in your brain and are able to use this to your advantage.
learn about the fight / flight / freeze response, how the primitive part of our brain was shaped by the intense pressure of the need to survive in a very dangerous prehistoric environment.
Techniques from NLP, CBT, Solution Focused Brief Therapy and Positive Psychology are used to get you active in an entirely different and new way in your own brain.
These techniques involve pleasant and enjoyable questions that stimulate your imagination, your creativity, your rational, logical processing, and your natural problem-solving, solution-forming skills.
Detailed visualisation, deep-level relaxation and breathing work.
how is the work structured?
Here is a breakdown of how the different elements of Solution Focused Hypnotherapy come into play in terms of how each session is structured:
15 mins – introductory questions
45 mins – Detailed presentation on the workings of the brain
each following session:
30 mins – talking techniques and revision of the brain info
30 mins – hypnosis work
How Do the different parts
of solution focused hypnotherapy help?
How does the knowledge about the brain help?
The more you understand something, your own brain included, the less you are afraid of it, and the more you are able to make sensible, informed decisions about what path to take.
The information about how your brain works is helpful because you can learn how it is possible to work with our whole mind, rather than pitting one part against another, so as to reassure ourselves, even at a deep, subconscious level, that we are in a relatively safe environment, that we are not in any immediate physical danger.
And it helps too because you can learn how, by understanding this and applying certain key principles based on how the brain works, it is possible to move away from fight / flight / freeze responses in many areas of life.
How do the talking techniques help?
Establish greater control over your thought processes and get higher-level access to your skills and abilities.
In the talking part of each session there is the opportunity to practice positively visualising your future and learn methods for doing this in a highly effective, enjoyable and engaging way.
There is also space for learning practical strategies and exercises for managing your own thoughts and emotions, and enabling yourself to fully utiliise your own unique abilities and resources.
Also a large part of the talking work involves learning how to deliberately create new neural pathways in connection with the things you love, the things you feel passionately about, with your beliefs and values, your interests, with what really lights you up as a person, with what makes you smile and fills you with excitement, with what makes you feel at your most peaceful and calm.
Building these new neural pathways in this way is like walking new pathways through the forest of your brain. the more energy and time you devote to these newer, more helpful pathways, the more older, less helpful pathways in the brain will simply fade away through lack of use, like little-used pathways growing over in a wood.
What is Hypnosis and How Does it Help?
Become able to enter into relaxed and focused state whenever you like, and no matter what else is going on around you.
Hypnosis is a particular mental state where your two minds – your primitive mind and you complex intellectual mind which evolved more recently – come together and focus on the same thing. It feels deeply relaxing and positive. And while you are relaxed, you are also focused and absorbed.
We all slip in and out of hypnosis during any given day. Whenever someone is really absorbed in a book, or swept up in an interesting conversation, particularly when this is to the extent where they completely lose track of time, that person is in a state of hypnosis.
Any time you are feeling pleasant and relaxed and you walk or drive a route you know well and arrive at your destination without having given much conscious thought to the directions, you have experienced a state of hypnosis.
Whenever our anxiety or stress levels are overly high, we lose the ability to go into this kind of hypnotic state as often as we naturally would, and then we are missing out on the positive impact this pleasant daydreaming hypnotic state has in terms of processing our thoughts and memories and ideas, and significantly reducing our stress levels.
So in hypnotherapy part of the role of using hypnosis is to re-teach your brain the way it naturally functions in terms of slipping in and out of hypnosis at the points in the day where this is useful and necessary. Over time this natural functioning will re-assert itself and hypnosis will become a greater part of your waking hours, which has a whole host of positive impacts, including lowering your stress levels and allowing you greater access to the creative, rational part of your mind.
The hypnosis also helps with all the learning elements of hypnotherapy by putting you more and more often into the ideal state for learning.
And then also it is possible to learn how to use the techniques for entering hypnosis in a conscious way, so that you can, if you feel a pull towards anxiety or anger for example, deliberately shift yourself into a calm, relaxed state.
I've been finding out who I am
I have a long history of anxiety and depression, and things have improved for me significantly since I started seeing Orla for hypnotherapy, and I have so many tools now to help me in the future. I’m really learning that the more time I think about the good things in my life, the more I’m going to feel good. Because although I’ve had a million different therapies, as a result of suffering with anxiety and depression since I was a child, I’d always found that the therapy I had would lead me to focusing on the extremely difficult things that had happened in my past. Out of all of the many, many therapists I had seen, I had never actually had someone suggest that I might think about, for example, ‘What’s been good about today?’ or ‘What have I enjoyed recently?’. I really liked how in our sessions we focused on the present and the future, rather than continually dredging up the past, or raking over all the old wounds yet again. I also feel like I have learned a huge amount from the sessions about how my thoughts will affect my feelings.
Now, at the end of my sessions, I feel a bit better able to cope with life generally. I feel happier and I feel more equipped to deal with the future. I feel like it’s allowed me to get to know myself a bit more. I’ve been finding out who I am, and what I like and enjoy. I didn’t really think about that before. And then of course, using the structure that we practice in the middle part of each session where you picture the immediate future in a positive way, I have also been working on trying to do more of those things that I like. And this change has had a huge impact in terms of my mood and the way that I am feeling on a day-to-day basis.
ELIZABETH, 40, ACCOUNTANT
Deciding to work with someone in a therapeutic way can feel like a big decision, so it’s no surprise that you might have some questions. Here are some of the most commonly asked ones, and do please feel free to contact me if you have questions of your own.
Will I be handing over control of my subconscious to someone else?
No, absolutely not. You remain fully in control the whole time. It very much is the case that all hypnosis in self-hypnosis. I would not be ‘hypnotising’ you, as such. Instead you would be simply learning to put yourself into a deeply relaxed state. And it’s something you would have a certain amount of experience of anyway – for example if you have ever felt yourself ‘swept up’ in reading a book or having a conversation with someone so that you do not notice how much time is passing, or if you’ve ever walked the last part of the way home without consciously thinking about exactly where you are going — in all of these situations you are experiencing the trance state or ‘hypnosis’. In hypnotherapy we simply teach the ability for you to deliberately induce this pleasant, relaxed, daydreaming state.
Isn’t hypnosis a bit ‘out there’ / hippyish / woo-woo / airy fairy /<br /> only for people who believe in magic and crystals?
No, it’s really not. You would absolutely see and understand this for yourself after I go through all of the information in that very first session about the human brain and how it relates to fight / flight / freeze. Right from the very beginning of our work together you would have a clear, transparent idea of what we will be doing and why, and you would be able to see for yourself that all of the elements of Solution Focused Hypnotherapy have a strong grounding in neuroscience and research.
WILL I HAVE TO TALK ABOUT DIFFICULT THINGS FROM MY PAST?
There is no need to talk about your past or your childhood or anything that has been really difficult for you, as the kind of talking work that is part of SFH is very positive, enjoyable and
future-focused. Have a read of the section above on ‘How Do the Talking Techniques Help?’ for a more thorough understanding of why this is the case. In Solution Focused Hypnotherapy we have a lot of faith in your brain’s own ability to process difficulty, trauma and grief while you are not necessarily conscious of this happening, while you are dreaming and asleep, or while you are in a state of hypnosis, so long as someone is in a sufficiently relaxed state to allow this process to function properly.
What if i can't be hypnotised?
It is true that people have different susceptibilities to hypnosis, and that some people can slip into a state of hypnosis more easily than others. However, it is possible to grow, extend and develop your ability to enter hypnosis easily, and this is something that hypnotherapy is fantastic for helping people with. You will in fact already have many experiences of being in a state of hypnosis. There are different levels and different types of hypnosis, but any time you are fully deeply absorbed in the work you are doing or the task you are completing, this is a state of hypnosis. Any time you get completely swept up in something you enjoy, a book, a film, a great conversation, this is a state of hypnosis. And if you struggle to become fully absorbed in anything in this way, then this is something that hypnotherapy can help you with immensely. If you watch a child playing, totally caught up in what they are doing, then you are witnessing a hypnotic state, and generally children (unless they have been through very difficult experiences) spent most of their time in this state. Hypnotherapy can help you re-connect with this ability to spend large portions of your day in a relaxed, focused, playful state.
will it wear off?
Sometimes, perhaps because of a confusion related to a familiarity with stage hypnosis, people assume that I am going to ‘hypnotise them into’ no longer being afraid of heights, or no longer wanting to drink too much, and then then perhaps the somewhat magical effect of this might wear off over time after they finish hypnotherapy, leaving them back where they were at the beginning.
In fact this is not the way it works at all. Hypnotherapy is not about me ‘doing something to’ a client, or ‘hypnotising’ them into doing or not doing certain things. It is a process of learning, where I help a client to teach themselves how to enter hypnosis, and how to alter their own thought patterns and subconscious templates. It is a bit like going to see a music teacher to learn how to play the piano or the violin.
And just as in that scenario, there is a need for the client to practice at home, in order for the learning and the change to take place, and to keep up with certain elements of practicing after they finish hypnotherapy. But generally for most people, once they get to where they want to be using hypnotherapy, there is not a need for them to come back to hypnotherapy in the future, particularly not for the issue they originally came to hypnotherapy for help with.
If practiced regularly, the methods, techniques and systems you learn during the process will be effective ongoingly, for your whole life. A reason for returning might be for example that you are facing a new challenge, starting a new business or a new job or starting a family, and want to apply the process you found useful before for this new situation or event because you found it so helpful before, with the useful support of a hypnotherapist in doing this. Or perhaps you used hypnotherapy a few years ago and now you are having a baby and you want to do HypnoBirthing. But certainly the techniques and processes you learn in hypnotherapy will continue to ‘work’ so long as you are using them!
how many sessions do I NEED?
Generally it will take a minimum of around 9 to 12 sessions for hypnotherapy to be effective. This is because this is around about the amount of time it takes, with regular, weekly repetition, for the brain to accept changes at a deep level and to create new neural pathways in a really firm, established way. This length of time can work well if most things feel pretty ok in your life, but there is one particular thing you are afraid of and would like to not be afraid of, or one particular thing you would like to be more confident about.
The things that can make the process take a little longer are for example if there is a high background level of anxiety or depression, or if someone has had a particularly difficult or traumatic childhood, or been through a very difficult or traumatic experience in adult life. If either or both of these factors are present then the process can take a little longer, perhaps up to more like around 20 sessions.
And in a few cases where someone has started their work with me in a very challenging place form a mental health point of view, for example for who has been struggling with OCD for decades of their life, or who is very depressed, the process can take up to around a year of weekly sessions.
Most commonly people fall somewhere in between, and in general most clients who have worked with me to the point of getting where they want to be have come to see me for somewhere between 10 and 20 sessions. Ideally from a hypnotherapy point of view, the aim is for someone to reach where they would like to be in terms of how they are using their own mind, and then to have two or three final sessions after this, just to really deeply confirm the new neural pathways that they have established.
What if it doesn't work?
It is a really understandable concern — what if I invest valuable time and money, and it just doesn’t work? What if I do hypnotherapy and it just doesn’t help me at all?
I think it is helpful here to move away from the concept of it ‘working’ or not. Hypnotherapy is not something that is done to you, from the outside in, and either works or doesn’t. It is a deeply internal process of learning a whole host of really excellent and provenly effective skills and techniques. And it is a practice, it is something you have to gradually improve in through repetition.
It is all very enjoyable, pleasant, relaxing work, so hardly work at all really! But the process does require you to actively engage with it, and to an extent what you get out of the process is linked to what you put in. There is a hypnosis track to listen to each night, and certain mental exercises to practice during the week, and there is the approach you bring to the sessions themselves. None of it is hugely difficult or time-consuming, but there is a need for you to be an active part of the process. You can absolutely get the techniques and processes to work effectively for you, and I am simply a person who is well trained and qualified to help you learn how to do this.
What other questions do people ask?
Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is an incredibly effective process for a really wide range of different issues and problems. It is perhaps best known for being very helpful for helping people to move away from anxiety, OCD, trauma, low mood, anger issues, high stress levels and phobias, but there are many other problems it can help with also. And hypnotherapy can also be a useful and effective tool if you have no ‘problem’ as such at all, but simply want to improve the way your manage your own thoughts, emotions and actions so that you can become super effective at this, and/or because you want to improve and become more confident, motivated and focused in a particular sport, creative pursuit or work-related activity. For a full list of everything that Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can help with (well almost everything, an exhaustive list is probably impossible!), please take a look at ‘What can Hypnotherapy help with?’.
should I do hypnotherapy or counselling / psychotherapy?
Perhaps the most important thing to say here is that this decision is a very personal one and that it is absolutely up to you to decide this. I fully believe that people know what is best for them, and are capable for allowing themselves to be drawn towards the therapy and the therapist that is right for them.
I have personally benefited from both counselling / psychotherapy as a young person in my early 20s, and more recently from hypnotherapy. And quite honestly my best wish for everyone is that they would do both!! Counselling and psychotherapy are I think excellent for helping you to look at your past in a useful way (although some counselors / psychotherapists will also work with the present and the future to an extent). And Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is excellent for orienting you in a useful way towards your future. So I think they are helpful in different ways, and in a certain sense are a good balancing influence on each other.
Sometimes people have come to see me after having had lots and lots of other forms of therapy — perhaps counselling, and psychotherapy and CBT for example — and just finding that although these methods had been helpful, they had not quite managed, using these processes, to get themselves to exactly where they wanted to be. In some cases perhaps, someone may have understood a lot from CBT about how to alter their thought processes, but still be struggling to actually put this into practice continuously. Or someone may feel that they have got to a place of considerable understanding and self-awareness in terms of why certain situations or remembered experiences are connected for them to feelings of sadness, anger or anxiety via the processes of counselling or psychotherapy, but still feel quite unable to actually move themselves away from the sadness, anger or anxiety, or at least not quite to the extent that they would like.
And it can work the other way round too. Sometimes someone will come to see me for hypnotherapy precisely because they want to move away from the impact difficult experiences have had on them, but do not wish to revisit the difficulties or traumas they have experienced with a therapist. And indeed, hypnotherapy is fairly unique in facilitating this kind of deep level healing and release from past trauma without the necessity to consciously revisit it all. And most of the time, people will be able to get to where they want to using solely hypnotherapy for this purpose. But sometimes, at the end of the hypnotherapy process, someone can feel that now, actually, they would like to revisit their past. And that now that they have learned all of the effective self-calming hypnosis techniques, and they know they can shift their mood away from fight / flight states if they want to or need to, then it may well seem less threatening to revisit past experiences with a counselor or psychotherapist, because they know that if difficult ‘stuff’ comes up for them, they have the ability to move in and out of this experience as they wish. Generally the more relaxed you are, the easier it is and the safer it feels to experience the full range of human emotions, and this is particularly true when you know you can deliberately and genuinely shift your emotional state as and when you need to.
If you are struggling to decide whether to see a hypnotherapist or a counsellor or psychotherapist, it may be helpful to talk to a few different hypnotherapists / counsellors / psychotherapists on the phone and ask them a bit about how they work and what the process would involve, so that you can see if it feels like a good fit for you. Most therapists would also not mind you doing one session either at a low cost or for free, so that you can meet them in person and learn a little more about the way they work. I think the really important thing here is not to give up on therapy altogether because you don’t get on with one particular approach or person. We are all different and will be naturally drawn to different people and different approaches, and of course this may also change depending on what we are going through or the particular stage of life we are in.
what is the basis of the talking part of hypnotherapy? -- what is cbt? What is NLP? What is solution focus brief therapy?
The Solution Focused Hypnotherapy approach was formulated by David Newton in the 1990s. You can read more about how he developed this approach here: (http://cphtdavidnewton.co.uk/) He combined the use of hypnosis, using many influences for this, with talking techniques from CBT, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, a method established in the 1960s for effectively altering thought patterns, Solution Focus Brief Therapy, a discipline which grew out of Ericksonian hypnotherapy among other influences, and which focuses on methods for enabling a therapy client to creatively form their own solutions, and also from NLP, Neuro Linguistic Programming, a system of learning, language and thought developed by a linguist and a therapist working together, and which itself is a discipline heavily connected with the use of hypnosis.
BOOK WITH ME
I would love to hear from you, and if you do have any questions at all before booking, please do feel free to give me a call on 07984128511.
Even if you have no questions and would just like to get started, I generally like to have half-hour phone conversation with someone first, so that I can get an idea of where you are now, where you’d like to get to, and go over with you how hypnotherapy would or would not be useful in your specific situation, and in term of what you are looking for. (If speaking on the phone is something that you find difficult from an anxiety point of view however, please just let me know this and we can arrange to meet via email.)
You can book an initial consultation call here, or simply fill in the contact form below so that I can contact you to arrange this.