When you tell someone you're going for hypnotherapy, it's likely that they'll imagine you setting off to some Little Britain type character, waving a pendulum in front of your face, urging you to 'look into the eyes, not around the eyes, but into the eyes', before you fall into a deep coma only to wake up clucking like a battery hen.
While this is certainly an entertaining idea, it's far from reality. In fact, done right, it can be one of the most pleasant experiences you'll ever enjoy, as your body experiences a deep level of relaxation that, if you've been stressed of late, your mind and body will welcome with open arms. The key is being open to it and ready for a change.
Having gone through a very hard time with acute anxiety recently, something that I've written openly about quite a bit at this stage, I've reached a point where I need to move on, I need to let the past be exactly that; in the past, and I no longer want to experience my present through the eyes of this difficult past. It's just not healthy and it's holding me back form a world of possibilities. After getting so far on my own, I decided that hypnotherapy was worth a shot as it seemed my mind had developed connections, associations and behaviours that try as I might, I couldn't snap out of. In fact the more I tried to resist my experience, with my conscious mind, the worse I felt.
I suspect I'm far from alone in this general struggle of letting go and moving on. How many people do you know that are holding on to issues from the past, even decades ago, that continue to shape their current experience, so much so that it might even have become part of that person's identity? We all have baggage, some of which our conscious mind is capable of parting ways with, others that may have had a far greater effect on us in that they've become deeply embedded into our subconscious, to a point that not even the reason and logic with which our conscious mind is associated, can help.
At a certain point, at least for me, there was only so much that talking about my problems could do; your brain tries and tries again to let go, talk itself into a solution, when what you're experiencing may be more rooted in your subconscious, than you've ever realised. In fact thinking about things incessantly may be part of the problem.
It's here that hypnotherapy can effectively come into play. For example, you may have a control issue, or a fear of being out of control, but while you identify that that is the case, you don't understand where such needs for control may have stemmed from. Whether you're suffering from a phobia that you cannot get your head around or are trying your best but failing to move on from a negative past experience, tapping into your subconscious can really help.
It's within your subconscious that things can become locked, be it negative or positive. But the good news is, that with something like hypnotherapy, you can get right in there with the hopes of reprogramming some of those thoughts and behaviours that are holding you back, and with a little willingness and faith, you may eventually move on.
If you're wondering what the experience will feel like, I'll tell you. You are always present, but you are so deeply relaxed and focused on what it is that the hypnotherapist is saying to you, you feel like you're in the midst of an intense day dream or a trance. You're not out of control at all, you're just far more connected with your inner being than you'd ever experience from day to day, and it's wonderful.
Think of it like being engrossed in a gripping novel as you ride a train; you're aware that you're on a train and travelling through the countryside, but your imagination is elsewhere and actively engaged as positive affirmations are embedded for the better.
It won't necessarily be for everyone, but it's far from harmful and certainly worth considering if you, like me, have spent too long allowing your past to shape your present. I'll update you in time with feedback on whether it's having a positive effect (or not!). I've been to Cormac in Blackrock Hypnotherapy and found him great, very understanding of my situation and put me right at ease.
Have you ever experienced hypnotherapy? Would you recommend it also? Do share your thoughts below.
Caroline Foran @CarolineForan