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What is hypnosis?
Hypnosis is not some weird or mysterious state. It is actually a natural state that everyone experiences on a daily basis.  Whenever you daydream, miss some comment made because you were in a reverie, drive home without really remembering the trip itself, you are experiencing hypnosis.  In these cases, the conscious mind continues to function such as navigating the highway, while the subconscious takes control of your attention and your thoughts and keeps your mind busy.  Hypnosis is simply the state when the subconscious comes to the foreground and the conscious mind recedes without you going to sleep.  In fact when we go to sleep, we get there by passing through a hypnotic state.  A hypnotherapist is trained to safely bring you into a hypnotic state in order to access your subconscious mind.

How can hypnosis help me?
Everyone has a conscious mind, and a subconscious mind.  The conscious mind represents only about 12% of your mind’s total power and is the source of logic, reason, willpower, and judgment.  The subconscious mind represents the other 88% of your total mind power, and that is where your habits, fears, phobias, happy memories and good and bad fantasies reside. Between the conscious and the subconscious parts of the mind is a threshold called the critical mind.  The critical mind is really developed when we start to mature and become able to tell the difference between what is real and what is not when we are children and it is the border of the subconscious and usually filters the access of material in the subconscious for the conscious mind.  It allows you are able to complete tasks without the wealth of old memories and dreams within your subconscious constantly distracting you.  When you enter a hypnotic state under the guidance of a hypnotherapist, you bypass the critical mind and gain access to the subconscious mind directly with a specific intention.  This allows access to information and for suggestions to be accepted directly by the subconscious mind.  The power of 88% of your mind is then working with you to make positive changes or to explore aspects of yourself that the conscious mind cannot typically access.

Will I be controlled?
Not at all.  The biggest myth about hypnosis is that it allows you to be remote controlled by the suggestions of the hypnotist.  Just like the way that the conscious mind gets you safely home, even when you are on “auto-pilot”, your conscious mind is still present and able to prevent you from saying doing anything that you do not want to.  Part of our initial discussions will be to determine the approach to hypnotherapy that will work best for you and to allay any fears or concerns that you may have.

Is Hypnosis safe?
Completely.  Hypnosis is a natural state that we all experience on a daily basis.  You can’t get “stuck” in a hypnotic state.  The hypnotherapist cannot “do” anything to you without your consent or make you reveal things that you would rather keep private.  Hypnotherapy allows you an opportunity to deeply relax and access the subconscious in a safe and effective manner for personal growth and self-improvement.

I don’t think I can be hypnotized, can you still help me?
Anyone who is willing to do so can be hypnotized.  Part of our first session together will be spent identifying the best techniques that will work for you and whatever reservations or concerns you may have.  If you are determined not to be hypnotized, then no one can force you to be, it is a completely consensual state.  There are also many levels of hypnotic states.  Much beneficial hypnotherapy can be carried out with a very light state so you do not necessarily need to be concerned about how deeply you go.  You are always in control and every time you experience hypnosis, future entrance into a hypnotic state gets easier, just like exercising a muscle.  It may take a few sessions before you are fully comfortable with the process and able to go into deeper states if required.

I don't believe in reincarnation or past lives, what is this regression stuff?

Integrated Imagery Regression Hypnosis is a guided imagery technique that uses the hypnotic state to access the the subconscious or superconscious mind.  Integrated Imagery can help you understand and process the negative and positive dynamics that you live with every day, whether you consider it karma or psychology. The associations that you form and keep within the subconscious influence your well-being, your personal values and sense of purpose, and may come from your own life experience or what may be imagined or real experiences from other lifetimes.  Integrated Imagery is also supported by research in neurobiology.  No belief in reincarnation or past lives is necessary.  Whether you believe that the experiences are real memories, or just dream-like representations of what your subconscious mind chooses to show you, you can derive benefits from direct access to your own subconscious or superconscious mind.

Is hypnotherapy an option for children?
Children can also benefit from hypnotherapy, as long as the hypnotherapist is trained to work with children.  Children often seek help with exam and study preparation, sports performance, self-esteem and family issues.  We can discuss your child’s needs and the structure of hypnotherapy sessions involving children.  Parents may be participants or observers depending on the nature of the session and the needs of the individual child.

What will happen in my first session?
You should arrive to your first session 15 minutes early to fill out the general new client paperwork.  Afterward we will discuss the goals for your sessions and what you hope to achieve through hypnotherapy.  Hypnosis will be more fully explained to you, and the best way to help you enter the hypnotic state will be determined based on your personality and thinking/communication style.  You will then experience your first hypnosis session to start working toward your goals.  Afterwards, we will discuss the session briefly and setup a plan for what further sessions may be required depending on your objectives.

How long is a hypnotherapy session?
Typically a session will last for an hour, including a few minutes for discussion and record keeping at the beginning and the end of the session.  An initial session may be 90 minutes as we get to know each other and some specific types of hypnotherapy may require longer periods of time.

Is there anything I should know before arriving for my first session?
Wear comfortable clothes you can relax in.  Arrive about 15 minutes early for your first session to allow yourself plenty of time to fill out the intake questionnaire.

Do I need a referral from my doctor?
Hypnosis is a powerful tool for addressing many challenges.  Hypnotherapy sessions are offered for vocational and avocational self-improvement and development of greater self-awareness, not as a support for the treatment of medical and/or psychological issues unless under referral from your attending, licensed health professional.  This means hypnotherapy for general self-improvement like addressing fear of public speaking, creativity, study habits, confidence in work or sports, or help with personal and professional relationships, and so on can be used without any health concerns.  

Hypnotherapy to help you deal with medical or psychological issues such as chronic pain is different.  The first session to address such issues helps make sure you are comfortable with the process, and allows me to judge if there is potential benefit for you from hypnotherapy.  A referral from your attending licensed healthcare professional will be required to go any further with hypnotherapy.  I can help you seek the appropriate written referral by sending a request to your health professional’s office if necessary.

Hypnotherapy may successfully address a symptom; however, an underlying medical cause may remain unnoticed.  For example, if you are suffering from pain, stopping the symptom may mask your body’s attempt to signal that there is a problem.  Any situation with a possible underlying medical or psychological cause must first be addressed by seeing your licensed healthcare provider. Hypnotherapy can be very effective, but it is not a treatment regimen, it can augment a treatment plan prepared by a medical professional.  Hypnosis can help de-energize the situations that cause you distress, and give you tools to help you make faster progress, but your overall progress and wellness must be monitored by licensed health professionals.  You have a stake in your own healthcare and we can work as a team, but your health must be paramount.

Will hypnotic suggestions take effect right away?
It depends on the type of suggestion, as well as your own level of suggestibility.  For some people, suggestions may not begin to take effect for up to 3 days. It is also important to note that suggestions become stronger each time they are given; changing habits can take 21 repetitions or 21 days before the changes start to become ingrained.  Changing behaviours can require over a week to start to see benefits.  That is why weekly sessions are recommended for at least 3 weeks.

How many sessions will it take to achieve my goals?
It entirely depends upon your goals and progress after each session.  Typically, at least three sessions are needed to make changes take effect, significant life changes may require more sessions and personal growth and exploration work may be a one-time session.