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What is the difference between Hypnosis and NLP?

They are aspects of the same process where your conscious and subconscious minds speak to each other. Neuro-linguistic programming is like the “how to” manual for the brain, a toolbox of life skills. It has been described as the conscious mind’s model of how the subconscious mind works.

We each have a different map of the world. As an NLP coach I will work with you to understand your unique map. You have persistent patterns of behaviour which you learned in the past and now repeat (programming). Some of them are unhelpful. If you wish to be more successful, resolve personal problems, banish unwanted habits, NLP has the strategy to adjust these patterns of thought and behaviour so they become positive and productive. For example if you associate public speaking with anxiety, NLP can show you how to associate it with calm and enjoyment.

Hypnosis is where we go into trance. It is a state of mind enhanced by relaxation, in which our subconscious is able to communicate with our conscious mind, re-associating us with our natural inner resources. All hypnosis is self hypnosis and I am simply your guide. We all go into trance states many times a day, daydreaming, listening to music, watching an absorbing film, doing a task “absentmindedly”. There are many levels of trance, and for hypnotherapy you will need to go only into a light or medium trance. Some people go deeper, but that is the choice of their own subconscious mind, which chooses the right depth for them. At first many clients don’t believe they have been hypnotised because they expect stage hypnotism. However they are usually astonished to see how much time has passed! Some of my clients remember a lot consciously and some say they remember nothing afterwards. But the subconscious mind remembers the messages and suggestions introduced in trance because they are all for the client’s benefit.

I usually introduce NLP techniques first, because there is quite a lot of work for the client to do here, including talking or negotiating or moving. Then I move on to the hypnosis, where you will be very relaxed, but still aware of what I am saying and able to return at any time from trance. It is sometimes desirable to mix the two by doing NLP while the client is in a hypnotic trance. I always make it crystal clear to my client which technique I propose to every point.

Why are hypnotherapy and NLP so useful for treating mental problems?

Many mental disorders and unwanted habits are trance states. Our subconscious mind in the past programmed us to act and think in certain ways to protect us. Initially it made sense – staying alert in dangerous situations (anxiety) or following rituals to give us some control over our lives (OCD), or stopping ourselves having expectations to avoid repeated disappointment (depression). When we escape these threatening or stifling situations, unfortunately we may find ourselves stuck with the old trancelike patterns which are no longer useful. They sap our energy and sometimes make us miserable. Hypnotherapy and NLP set up a dialogue between tbe the conscious and subconscious minds, replacing the old, limiting programmes with positive and productive ones.

Why shouldn’t I just use a hypnosis tape or do an NLP technique on myself without coming to a hypnotherapist/ NLP coach?

Well you can! But you may find they don’t work nearly as well. Why? Because they are not personalised. Every good hypnotherapist will notice special things about you from the moment you meet, and be able to respond to you on a deep level. The success of the therapy depends on rapport. This word in psychology originated with French hypnotists, meaning the relationship between the subconscious minds of the hypnotist and client. You will feel this rapport strongly if it is there. This is why all my sessions last 90 minutes.

Can I be hypnotised to do something against my will or my principles?

No. This will never happen with a hypnotherapist. Stage hypnotists pick out very suggestible people who agree to be part of an entertainment. We are members of a health profession, often more than one. Our calling is to help you heal. Hypnotherapy is as trustworthy as any other therapy. Clients are always in control of the situation, no matter how deeply into trance you go. You can stand up or leave at any time. For example I visit a client suffering pain who always goes into a very deep trance. He said “I can hear your voice and the pain goes, but I can’t now remember anything you said. It’s like I’m awake and asleep both at the same time. I can hear the dog pattering around, too.”

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