The importance of self-hypnosis
When someone wants to get fit, they start exercising and train regularly. They notice an increase in their fitness, they increase their strength, their stamina, and muscle mass. Perhaps they even lose some weight. When they feel they are fit, they don't just stop going running or whatever sport it is they are doing. They keep at it otherwise they will lose the flexibility, strength and fitness that they have developed and worked hard for. Sure, they might not train as regularly perhaps but they do still train. We understand this when it comes to our physical health but quite often we do not apply it to our mental health in the same way.
Self hypnosis is an important part of the hypnotherapy process helping you to get so much more out of the sessions. But it's not just about keeping it going whilst you are seeing a hypnotherapist. Some people, once they have reached where they want to be, stop doing all of the techniques that were helping them as they feel “back to normal”. However, it is important that you keep utilising all that you have learned such as the breathing techniques, the progressive relaxation, the self hypnosis, as well as all the other things that make you feel good because they help to keep you mentally fit!
Self hypnosis doesn't have to just be used for the issue that you came to see me or another hypnotherapist about. The techniques can be adapted for use in all aspects of your life. It can help to prepare you for a driving test, giving a presentation, increasing motivation, improving your performance in sports or music, helping with exam or job interview nerves, and much more. The possibilities are endless.
This last year I have used self hypnosis a lot for myself and I have benefited greatly from it. I have used it to induce analgesia and anaesthesia in my hand which allowed me to have a surgical needle put through it without feeling any pain or discomfort. More recently I used it to help me change my perception of time, boost pharmaceutical anaesthetic and to distract my attention during an hour long root canal treatment. Self hypnosis continues to impress me each and every time I use it to the point where I am a staunch advocate of it now. I feel it is potentially the most important technique that I can offer my clients and is integral to the success of therapy.
Self hypnosis forms a major part of hypnotherapy and has many benefits including:
- Increasing your ability at hypnosis
- Reinforcing the work we do together in sessions
- Speeding up your progress in therapy
- Building your level of self efficacy
Here I will discuss these benefits in a little more depth.
Self hypnosis increases your ability at hypnosis
We all know that practice makes perfect, that we get better the more we repeat something. This is the same for hypnosis too. It is a skill. One that you can learn, develop and expand upon. I would recommend practicing self hypnosis as often as possible. I always think that little and often is best as it helps you to stay focused and engaged. Interspersing it throughout your day helps to keep you “topped up” and helps to support the changes that you wish to make.
The Carleton Skills Training Programme as well as later hypnosis studies show us that hypnotisability (our ability to go in to hypnosis) increases the more we practice it and even more so when hypnosis has been explained thoroughly to us as well as what we are expected to experience during it. This is good news. As you practice hypnosis for yourself, you get better at it and you will then be able to benefit from both the self hypnosis as well as the sessions with a hypnotherapist so much more.
Self hypnosis reinforces the work we do in sessions
Many of the techniques used within hypnotherapy can benefit greatly from being repeated. Practicing the techniques at home for yourself helps to reinforce the new ways of thinking, feeling and behaving that you are working towards.
Self hypnosis speeds up your progress in therapy
Typically you will only attend a hypnotherapy session once a week, sometimes bi-weekly, for just under an hour. There are 165 hours in a week so the other 164 hours of your week are over to you to support yourself in achieving your goals. There are many ways of doing this including being aware of your thoughts, understanding thinking errors and being able to dispute unhelpful, negative thoughts. You might practice some progressive relaxation or breathing techniques or perhaps engage in exercise to help boost the flow of Serotonin, the happy hormone. And of course, self hypnosis is an excellent way to ensure that you progress and help you to achieve your therapy goals.
Self hypnosis builds your self efficacy
At the beginning of this article I mentioned self-efficacy. This is a term which I only recently became aware of but it is one that will remain in my vocabulary forever more. Research has demonstrated the need for self efficacy in a person’s life in order for them to make changes and develop as a whole which makes it particularly important when it comes to therapy. Self-efficacy has been defined as “one's belief in one's ability to succeed in specific situations or accomplish a task”. When self efficacy is high, we are more able to tackle challenges and gain new experiences both of which are things that you will have done or are looking to do throughout the course of therapy and beyond. Self hypnosis and other self help techniques help to build self efficacy. When you believe in your ability to go in to hypnosis, you are far more likely to embrace it, increasing your level of collaboration in the process. Starting with the techniques early combined with the increased self efficacy, increases the likelihood that you will establish a good routine with these techniques and continue to use them throughout the course of therapy and thereafter and really develop a skill which can have a massive impact on your life. Not only do I require my clients to believe in their ability at hypnosis, but I want them to believe in their ability to overcome their problem and to make a change. As you know, you make many changes over the course of therapy and self efficacy helps you to do this. Self efficacy increases motivation and allows you to find change more manageable. I want all my clients to believe in their ability to “make it on their own” after they finish sessions with me. If you are equipped with self help tools when you complete your course of sessions with me, you will have greater self efficacy and will be more able to maintain the changes you have made.
So as you can see, there are many reasons why self hypnosis is an important part of therapy and a tool which can help you thereafter in many areas of your life.
If you would like a refresher on self hypnosis or would like to learn it for the first time face to face with a hypnotherapist, please do get in touch.