Hypnotherapy FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions


Hypnotherapy is a COMPLEMENTARY therapy; it DOES NOT replace medical treatment. If you have any medical condition, physical illness, or persisting symptom, consult your doctor. If you are a parent, you are legally responsible for your children receiving treatment from a medical doctor if they display signs of any illness.

What is hypnosis?

Hypnosis is a very normal and natural method, by which any person may be guided into an altered state of conscious awareness (a hypnotic trance), in which psychological and physical changes, beyond our normal conscious capabilities, may be achieved.

The state is identified as the ‘Alpha’ level of brainwave activity, when the brain functions at between 8 and 12 Hz, or cycles, per second. In the normal waking state of reasoning and logic, this rises to above 12 Hz. The Alpha level is the seat of your imagination, when the door between your conscious and subconscious levels of mind is opened. It is experienced each time you drop off to sleep, and again as you start to awaken.

What is the difference between hypnosis and hypnotherapy?

Hypnosis refers to the actual state you will enter. Hypnotherapy is the application of this trance state, which your therapist uses to help you overcome your issues and fulfil your aims and ambitions.

How does hypnotherapy work?

Hypnotherapy works by bypassing the usual conscious resistance, which then allows access to the subconscious mind. This is the level of mind that controls all bodily functions, without the need for you to consciously think about it. By accessing the subconscious mind, you can begin to change old, self-limiting beliefs responsible for your behavioural patterns, without conscious mind interference.

Can everybody be hypnotised?

Hypnotherapy is for absolutely anybody who is of sound mind. Everybody who wants to be hypnotised can be. It has nothing to do with how strong-minded a person is, but simply reflects a person’s willingness to work with the hypnotherapist to achieve the results that the client desires. Even if you feel a little sceptical, it does not necessarily preclude success – you have only to want it to work and be prepared to give it a go. If you want to be hypnotised, it is important that you don’t try to do anything, rather just let yourself experience your feelings naturally.

Generally the more creative and imaginative you are, the greater and faster your success is likely to be. Albert Einstein famously recognised the importance of imagination, without which we would all still be living in caves!

What does it feel like to be hypnotised?

It feels very relaxing. It is a pleasant state of deep inner calm, which is the product of physical, mental and emotional relaxation. You remain in control at all times – you are not ‘under the power’ of the hypnotherapist. In fact, you are always aware of where you are and what the hypnotherapist is saying to you. You can hear everything – the voice of the hypnotherapist, the sounds inside and outside the building, often more acutely than you would normally. Your body may feel heavier or lighter, you may find an increasing need to swallow or your eyes may flicker behind your closed eyelids.

Some people experience loss of sensation or numbness in parts of the body, others may feel warmer or cooler than normal. Hypnosis is a very personal experience and it is worth noting that whatever feelings you experience are right for you.

What happens during a hypnotherapy session?

There is usually an initial consultation, when the hypnotherapist will gather information about you and the issues you wish to address. Following your first session, should any subsequent sessions be required, this may include a review of the work done and any changes you have experienced since.

The hypnotherapist will focus on positive rather than negative ideas, i.e. ‘I want to be a non-smoker’ rather than ‘I want to give up smoking’. The changes you desire will be clarified to ensure they are appropriate for you in all areas of your life.

Having established precisely which changes you want, the hypnotherapist will ask you to make yourself comfortable, before inducing the desired depth of trance using a suitable method. This will usually involve words, a soothing tone of voice, mental imagery and various techniques (such as deep breathing), which will gently guide you into a pleasantly relaxed and lethargic state.

Next the hypnotherapist will draw upon a variety of techniques that will gently guide you and facilitate the changes you have indicated. Appropriate post-hypnotic suggestions may also be given, upon which you are requested to act after the close of the session.

The hypnotherapist will ensure that you are ready to come out of trance, and then guide you back to conscious awareness. Depending on the issue presented, you may also be asked to reinforce the therapeutic interventions in your own time using other appropriate techniques, the benefits of which would first be discussed and explained.

Will I be asleep or unconscious during hypnosis?

Neither. A more accurate description would be to regard the state of hypnosis as having the relaxation of a good sleep, but retaining the mental alertness of being fully awake. Some people find it hard to accept they have been properly hypnotised because they are unaware that hypnosis is a state of heightened, rather than diminished personal awareness.

Are there any side effects?

You will be pleased to know that there are no unpleasant side effects from hypnotherapy, although you should bear in mind that half an hour spent in trance is equivalent to between two and three hours of refreshing sleep.

Is hypnosis dangerous?

No. At all times you will remain alert and capable of looking after yourself physically and mentally, accepting only those suggestions that you wish to.

Hypnosis is a useful therapeutic tool which, used correctly, can bring about immense benefit. Be assured that your hypnotherapist is fully trained and qualified and don’t be afraid to ask about or contact those professional organisations to which they belong.

Can a person get stuck in hypnosis?

No, you can choose to leave the state whenever you want to, and the worst that could happen is you would fall asleep, to awaken when you are ready to return to conscious awareness.

We all enter into naturally induced trances every day, such as just before falling asleep, when driving, watching television, when reading a very absorbing text, or when daydreaming – whenever, in fact, your attention shifts from the events around you. Hypnosis simply utilises this state to achieve those changes that you desire. True, it might feel so comfortable and relaxing that part of you wishes to remain in trance a little longer, just like all good things.

Can a hypnotherapist control my mind or make me do things against my will?

Absolutely not. The hypnotherapist is a facilitator for change, who helps you achieve your desired results. In reality, all hypnosis is self-hypnosis, and the one experiencing it is the one in control. You choose precisely what you think and feel throughout the session, and you cannot be made to do anything against your will. Whatever moral or ethical codes you abide by in a normal waking state, will still be acted upon under hypnosis.

If for some reason you didn’t agree with any of the ideas being suggested to you, then you would be able to simply ignore them. Only those suggestions that are acceptable to you will be implemented and acted upon, to the precise degree that they are appropriate for achieving and maintaining your best interests.

Hypnosis is a voluntary state, not something that can be forced upon you. If you wanted to end the session at any time, you would be perfectly able to do so.

Can I be made to do embarrassing things like you see in stage shows or on television?

No. Stage hypnosis has caused a lot of misunderstanding because people tend to equate it with clinical hypnosis. Participants in stage hypnosis shows, who run around theatres clucking like chickens, are selected by the hypnotist for their sense of fun and willingness to please the audience. People who volunteer for this sort of demonstration are quite extrovert to start with, relishing the opportunity to ‘act the goat’ (or chicken, or rock star, or whatever!) while having someone else to ‘blame’. The secret’s out; if you volunteered then you are the one responsible for entertaining others! However, in the world of clinical hypnosis, such practices are not considered to be ethical.

Will it work?

For therapy to work, you have to want it to work, and be open-minded. You are learning to let your imagination work for you, and no longer against you, focussing on the things you desire, not on the things you dislike or fear. Remember, what is imagined tends to be realised.

How quickly will I experience results from hypnosis?

That depends on you, and how quickly you want to see results. A variety of factors will affect the outcome, such as your level of motivation and commitment. If, for example, you are trying to quit smoking to please someone else, you first need to ask yourself if you really want to be a non-smoker or not.

If your motivation level is high, you should experience results quickly. You will have to be prepared to work at it. If you are expecting to be put to sleep and to wake up never wanting to eat cream cakes again, for example, you are probably destined for disappointment.

How long will it take?

Hypnotherapy deals with the issue immediately. Treatments are usually between one and five sessions, depending on the topic presented. An initial consultation should help the hypnotherapist to assess how many sessions may be required, but please be aware that further problems could come to light during therapy, which you may wish to address in future sessions. It will be your choice, however, exactly how many you wish to attend.

Should I tell my Doctor that I am having hypnotherapy?

It is wise to inform your GP or consultant of any complementary treatment you are contemplating, particularly where chronic conditions are concerned, for which medication is regularly taken.

Should I continue taking other medication whilst having hypnotherapy treatment?

Always consult your doctor before reducing or ceasing to take any prescribed medication. You may find that health benefits gained from hypnotherapy will affect the dosage you require, or the length of time you need to continue taking certain medication, but discuss this with your doctor first.

How much does it cost?

Fees for therapy are currently £40 per session (1-1½ hours approx). Your initial visit, comprising both a consultation and a hypnotherapy session, may take longer but no additional fee is charged, except for smoking cessation (see below).

Payment may be made by cash or cheque (to ‘Hidden Depths Hypnotherapy’) when you attend for your appointment. Receipts are issued, for which some employee health schemes may refund all or part of the fees paid.

Should you miss an appointment and fail to give as much notice as is practical (usually 24 hours), you may be liable for the full cost of the session and, at the therapist’s discretion, any further sessions may not be confirmed until advance payment is received.

When you arrive for your appointment, please be punctual. Above all DO NOT ARRIVE MORE THAN 10 MINUTES EARLY in the interests of client respect.

Smoking Cessation

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to becoming a non-smoker. Some people have quit in just one session, even after smoking for 60 years or more. Others need three or more sessions. The initial consultation and session is longer than most but is still only £60. You may also be advised to use a recording to reinforce the work done over the next few weeks. These cost £15-19 (MP3 / CD).

Further sessions are booked according to your individual needs and for which the normal rate of £40 is payable per session.

Home Visits

This service is not offered except in extreme cases, owing to time restrictions. However, for certain problems and in exceptional circumstances a home visit may be arranged. Fees for mileage will be charged. Please contact the therapist to discuss this.

Self-Hypnosis Recordings (MP3 / CD)

A wide range of titles are available to order from £15 each.

What about client confidentiality?

All information that you share with your hypnotherapist is treated confidentially. Notes of the sessions are kept safely, and will be made available to you with reasonable notice.

You may be asked to complete a simple psychoanalysis test, to help you and the hypnotherapist identify any other problem areas in your life. This information is only made available to you, using your preferred contact method.

Contact between sessions will be limited to telephone, email or letter, as indicated on your client information form. Your hypnotherapist will not initiate conversation with you if you should happen to meet outside of the therapy room if this would present a potential problem for you. Nor will the fact that you are receiving therapy be disclosed to others, except as described in the confidentiality statement in the Client Contract issued prior to treatment.

No list of FAQs is ever quite complete. There are always more specific questions, and Sylvia will be happy to respond before you decide to book an appointment. However, in accordance with GDPR and client confidentiality, she is unable to answer any questions about specific clients or case histories without the correct professional protocol being followed.

Contact Sylvia