Dubbed ‘the new mindfulness’, this effective tool is helping people to let go and get happy
For most of us, everything we know about hypnosis has been learnt from watching adults willingly humiliate themselves on TV. Cast under a chain-waving spell, Barry from Wigan is told he’s a chicken and proceeds to cluck and peck across the stage until the hypnotist commands him to ‘sleep’. It’s no surprise that there’s a healthy amount of skepticism attached to hypnosis.
Nevertheless many have had extremely positive experiences of hypnosis, and for some it is nothing short of life-changing. It has enabled people to overcome phobias and helped expectant mums prepare for childbirth, not to mention assisted thousands in their bids to stop smoking or lose weight.
Increasingly hypnosis is proving to be a lifeline for individuals experiencing emotional or mental difficulties when other treatments fail.
“Put simply, hypnosis can help re-programme the mind with different beliefs,” says Hypnotherapist and Life Coach Malminder Gill. “Self-hypnosis can be really helpful if you’re trying to overcome something, such as a fear, but also for anyone trying to break negative or unhelpful patterns of behaviour.”
For people living with OCD, PTSD, anxiety, or depression, self-hypnosis can bring about truly transformative results, either in addition to or as an alternative to medication or talking therapy. Where self-hypnosis is different, says Gill, is that it teaches skills for the individual to take away, look after themselves, so it can become part of a toolkit of recovery.
“People who experience anxiety talk to themselves in a negative way, so they’re already hearing a kind of self-hypnosis,” says Gill. “I teach them to use a different voice to inspire positive change. Clients come to understand what their minds are capable of, meaning they’re better able take back control and empower themselves.”
Unlike counselling which sees people committing to ongoing weekly appointments, most of Gill’s clients only require three or four sessions. She offers further support via email or through her self-hypnosis podcasts, but the emphasis is on each individual’s desire to change.
For this reason, self-hypnosis has been dubbed ‘the new mindfulness’, and is seen by many as the next step in managing wellbeing. Instead of clearing your mind it’s all about developing it.
Professor Stephen Redford, a specialist who has carried out longterm studies into brain activity and hypnosis agrees that hypnosis can help unlock a new way of living. “It’s about learning what the brain is capable of.
“The mind is a funny place, and, for some people, the difference between being able to do something or not, or even living well or not, can come solely down to a single thought. Though it’s not true to say it can help everyone, hypnosis can certainly be helpful for many.”
In a digital world where social media makes it all too easy to look back, a huge number of Gill’s clients – more than 60% – now cite difficulty moving on from past relationships as something they wish to overcome.
Gill has developed a unique way to help people beat broken hearts for good, fusing self-hypnosis with tapping therapy and guided meditation. It’s proven so successful she’s become known as Harley Street’s ‘Love Hypnotherapist’, and says 100% of clients report positive results.
When Sarah, a solicitor from West London, unexpectedly split up from her boyfriend of six years she plunged into feelings of deep depression. “I felt like my life was in free fall,” Sarah says. “It was affecting my sleep, my ability to work – everything.”
Sarah sought help from her GP and began seeing a therapist, who recommended she try hypnosis. In just three sessions with Gill, Sarah learned to explore her situation and her negative thought patterns, practicing skills to help her let go and focus on achieving healthy relationships in the future.
“Self-hypnosis changed my life,” says Sarah. “It helped me through a difficult time and come out stronger. I feel like I’ve learnt more about myself in the six months since I started practicing than in six years. I now trust myself more to make the best decision for me.”
While self-hypnosis might not be the answer for everyone, for many people it seems it can be part of the answer. And what is beyond doubt is that if you’re desperate enough, you’ll try anything if there’s even a chance it might help you get the life you want.