Does Hypnotherapy actually work?

On many occasions people ask me; “does hypnotherapy work”?

To be asked this question is not surprising though; after all I am a practicing Hypnotherapist.

I understand why people ask this question; it is mainly because of doubt.

They doubt hypnotherapy will work for them; they doubt they have what it takes to make changes; they doubt themselves.

“When you doubt your power, you give power to your doubt”. Honore de Balzac

does hypnotherapy work?

So, does hypnosis work?

Thank goodness it is reasonably easy to answer such a question (research in recent years has helped to demystify and normalise hypnosis).

My answer is something along these lines: “luckily for us, it has been proven that hypnosis and hypnotherapy does work. Just ask any top performing sports person or athlete.

Sports people know that the power of the mind during hypnosis gives them the edge over competitors and improves their performance.

“Don’t let your mind bully your body into believing it must carry the burden of its worries”. Astrid Alauda

It is fascinating to read about sports hypnosis research, particularly noteworthy are a group of gymnasts who with hypnosis perfected their performance, improved on some complex tricks and increased their flexibility.

Hypnotherapy for sport winnersHypnosis has been used for many years in the training of athletes for the Olympics. It was reported that the Russian team had about 11 hypnotists on hand at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. More recently, a Hypnotherapist helped an Olympian to win a Gold Medal at the 2012 London Olympics.

Hypnosis is used more and more in professional sport, including tennis, golf and gymnastics just to name a few. Most of the ‘well known’ athletes use hypnosis to improve their confidence and endurance, concentration, focus and overall performance.

“Your belief determines your action, your action determines your results, but first you have to believe”.  Mark Victor Hansen

Hypnotherapy is becoming increasingly viewed as an effective tool to treat everything from stress, to weight management, fears, anxieties, phobias and pain; the list goes on.

But there are still many sceptics.

Does hypnotherapy work or is it all in the mind?

Recent episode of What’s Good For You showed that hypnotherapy did, in fact, work on the four patients they put to the test for various conditions; from wanting to give up smoking, overcoming insomnia, resolving fear of flying, to improving a golfer’s putting confidence.

The host, Dr Andrew Rochford, interviewed Leon Cowen a Clinical Hypnotherapist of 30 years and recommended the Australian Hypnotherapists’ Association.

Leon says: “Hypnotherapy is where the state of hypnosis is used for hypnotherapy. You’ve got the state of hypnosis which is the same as meditation and deep relaxation but it’s used in a very specific way.”

“It is said that when a person is hypnotised, the right side of the brain responsible for emotions and creativity becomes far more active than the left side of the brain, which is responsible for logical thinking. During hypnotherapy, the subconscious mind is rendered more active.”

Leon does not believe that hypnosis is a magic wand that is going to take over from medicine. But rather, when used correctly, he strongly believes that hypnotherapy has a position within the complementary medical framework.

The segment of the TV show tested how effective hypnotherapy was in four case studies, including a smoker; an insomniac; a golfer; and flying phobia.

Forty-one year old Michael has been a smoker for 20 years and really wants to break the habit. He mainly smokes socially, but even then still smokes about 10 cigarettes on a night out with friends. Michael has tried to give up twice before using nicotine patches and chewing gum. But unfortunately he didn’t have much luck. He has also tried to go cold turkey. He thinks it is time to get serious about breaking the habit once and for all.

Julie, aged 35, has been dealing with the terrible effects of insomnia for more than 10 years. And Julie’s not alone. Research suggests that up to one-third of Australians may have at least one symptom of insomnia that is disrupting their lives.

“I’ve tried a whole range of things to make me sleep better; a nice relaxing bath with muscle soak, lavender drops on the pillow, soothing music. I’ve tried over-the-counter sleeping tablets which help but obviously there’s a limit to how many of those you can take,” Julie says.

“I’m really keen to try hypnotherapy because I have tried everything else I can think of and some things have worked short-term but ultimately it’s not curing the problem of insomnia and I need something that will cure the root cause.”

Even some of the world’s top sporting teams and players are now turning to hypnotherapy to help them with their game. They realise that the right attitude and state of mind is as crucial to their performance as much as their physical state. We met Marko, a manager of a gold club in Sydney and a very keen golfer. Marko has a handicap of nine, that is pretty amazing for an amateur golfer but Marko thinks he can do better. Marko thinks his problem lies with his confidence with putting.

“I’d like my handicap to be six or seven but you’ve got to be realistic about what you can achieve,” Marko says. “It’s been said that perhaps with hypnotherapy that maybe some of the gremlins in your mind might disappear and I’m hopeful that might be the case with me.”

Phobia of flying
And what about phobias? Could hypnotherapy overcome a lifelong fear of flying? According to some statistics, one in four people have a fear of flying. Our host, Dr Andrew Rochford, is one of them.

“The whole concept of flying makes me uncomfortable,” Andrew says. “I’d much rather be here with my feet firmly on the ground.” Andrew is a nervous wreck before and during a flight so he is really hoping Leon Cowen can help.

Leon Cowen was confident he could help our four cases, and gave them a few hypnotherapy sessions each. Hypnotherapy is not a straightforward solution though. “There are numerous techniques I can use to help the person get to where they want to go and the technique is designed to fit the person, not just the problem,” Leon says. “The length of time needed also varies.”

Overall, the four people involved in the hypnotherapy case studies all agreed that they achieved a positive result, to some degree after their sessions, and believed they will continue to improve if they carry on with the treatment.

In much the same way hypnotherapy can help people just like you and me to improve confidence, overcome bad habits to make positive changes in our lives.

If you would like to discuss your personal situation with Katherine Ferris, a Registered Clinical Hypnotherapist, then please call (02) 9568 6801 or get in touch via email using our contact form.