Hello, my name is Sandra Thompson and I’m a … therapist.
When we meet new people socially, the conversation inevitably comes around to, “what do you do for a living?” There was a time I would have said, “oh, I’m a Civil Servant and I work for DWP”. Nice and safe answer mostly, apart from when I expanded and said I worked on the project for New State Pension or PIP (that didn’t go down too well back in the 2016).
Now though, I tell people I’m a therapist and this elicits a reaction that makes me giggle inwardly. Firstly, there’s the initial moment the questioner considers whether I’m a beauty therapist, very quickly (cheek) replaced with, “what kind of therapy?”. This is when I say I’m a professional hypnotherapist and then brace myself for their response. In fairness, if I’d met a professional hypnotherapist pre-2015 I would have struggled with a response too [NB: pre-2015 was a time in my life before I really knew about and started to work with trauma and mental health difficulties].
So, why does my profession get such a ‘wide-ranging response’ from people we’ve just met, anything from shock to horror (I think that person had serious issues), to disbelief, to, “wow, really!” to, “that must be interesting”. I’d hazard a guess the shock and horror responses are because most people immediately think about hypnosis as being used by entertainers and people being “made” to walk about like chickens squawking. This delusion and confusion between entertainment hypnosis and hypnotherapy is likely the misguided belief that hypnotherapists can put people under their spell. You’ll be glad to know this is not representative of hypnotherapy used as a therapeutic technique.
Before I explain more, the next question that generally comes up immediately after the first is, “can you put anyone into a trance, and can you read my mind?” Truth is, I’ve never tried to put just anyone into a trance, and I am not inclined to read anyone’s mind, that’s not my job, so I’m certainly not Whitley Bay’s answer to Professor X and won’t be putting you under my spell anytime soon, or joining the Marvel team for that matter. Whereas I’m sure there’d be some people who’d love to have mind reading and controlling powers, I’m not and never will be one of them.
Basically, I only work with people who contact SCT Therapy of their own free will, and thus choose hypnotherapy as one of many therapeutic modalities I’m trained, qualified, and licensed in to help them overcome their difficulties or issues or make changes to improve their life. The client is always informed and therefore in control.
The work I do, whether hypnotherapy, EMDR therapy (eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing), IEMT therapy (integral eye movement technique), coaching, counselling, or EFT (emotional freedom technique), carries an ethical need to benefit clients and not cause harm. Benefits include a reduction in or overcoming difficulties, issues and symptoms, or an enhanced sense of wellbeing or optimism.
You may be interested to know there are 3 main platforms for hypnosis.
1. the type used for entertainment (not for me thank you very much),
2. hypnosis used by a person trained in specific areas, such as stop smoking or weight management,
3. and my area, which is hypnotherapy as a trained, qualified, and licensed mental health practitioner.
So, what is hypnosis and how does hypnotherapy work?
Hypnosis is what I like to refer to as a temporary altered state of mind. We have 2 main parts to our mind, the first is the conscious state of mind. It’s likely you are in your conscious state of mind right now, aware of everything around you, as you read this. As great as it is, the conscious mind only has the capacity to deal with the here and now, including analysing what's happening, logical thought and willpower.
The second is the subconscious state of mind and this has much greater and significant capacity and capability, as it holds your memories, beliefs, values, emotions, habits, and imagination, to name a few. Our subconscious mind controls everything we do, even when we aren’t aware of this happening, and therefore once you are able to access the subconscious state of mind (either due to deep relaxation or deep focus and concentration) this is where a person can choose and be helped to make changes, e.g. stop smoking, come up with a healthy life plan, overcome depression or anxiety, or rid themselves of a habit or phobia etc. So basically, the hypnosis part is relaxing the mind into the altered state of consciousness and the therapy part is helping the person make any changes they want to make by finding the root of any issues that affect them. When a person comes out of hypnosis, they will return to their current conscious state of mind and awareness.
Hypnotherapy is a powerful and effective way of exploring any difficult thoughts and feelings that you may want to challenge and change, whilst reprocessing any negative and limiting beliefs that might be causing or preserving a problem. As mentioned above, the hypnotherapist is not in control of the person’s mind, so to make this successful the person will need to have the desire and the commitment to change.
This, and the people I work with, is why I love my job. If you’d like to learn more or arrange an assessment to see whether SCT Therapy can help you, then please get in touch.
Hypnotherapy can help with:
Trauma and attachment, including adverse childhood experiences.
Stress Management, anxiety, panic attacks, depression, burnout and compassion fatigue
Self-esteem and confidence issues
Inner Child Recovery
Addiction, smoking cessation, eating disorders and weight management.
Phobias and compulsive disorders
Grief, bereavement and coping with loss.