A great number of people have misconceptions about what hypnotherapy is, what it isn't, what it can achieve, and what it can't. So what is it? And, can it really help?
Lets start by dispelling the first myth of hypnotherapy - It is not about the stage shows. This is theatre, a hypnotherapist simply cannot make you squawk like a chicken or generally act like an idiot without your agreement. Lets have a look at stage hypnotherapy for a moment and how it works
Well, if you imagine that in the audience for a stage hypnosis show and there's 1000 people there, and say 90% of them actually want to be there and are up for a show, so that's 900 left in the pot of potential candidates. Before the show the hypnotherapist will ask who is willing to come up on stage and make a fool out of themselves. Say for instance that 50% of them agree, so we're left with 450. The hypnotist will then go through a series of susceptibility tests to see who will make the best volunteers and will select, say 50. Then those people will go through another series of hypnotic tests to see who really is "up for it" to determine the most susceptible, outgoing characters in the group. The rest will be sent back to the audience, and those on stage will be "primed" ready for the show. So a stage hypnotist will load the tables before the group even start acting like chickens or whatever they are asked to do. About 60 years ago governments experimented with hypnosis as a means of interrogation for captured enemy soldiers. After many studies they discovered that enemy soldiers could not be hypnotised to give up secrets! What this proved was that the person being hypnotised is still always in control at some level and cannot be made to do something that goes against their core beliefs. So now you know, you cannot be made to squawk like a chicken, without your agreement, what can be done with hypnotherapy?
Now this is the exciting part, and get ready for a long winded answer... Anything you can imagine!
That said, there are physical limitations. For instance if you're wheelchair bound and you ask a hypnotherapist "Can hypnosis help me win the 100 metres mens final at the Olympic Games?", you're going to have to expect a "No"! But, if you ask a hypnotherapist "I've had this phobia of heights for 20 years, but I really, really want to climb a mountain, can you help?". In that case the answer is a resounding "YES". If you have a problem and you want a solution then hypnotherapy can help you massively!
How does hypnotherapy work as a therapy? Use an hypnotic induction to get you into a state of deep relaxation, very similar to a state of deep meditation. Once there the conscious mind is pretty much switched into a standby mode (just like your TV) and the unconscious mind is ready to listen deeply and openly to suggestions. A series of hypnotherapy techniques (like embedded commands, illusionary choice, and metaphors) can then be to speak directly to your unconscious mind and change the belief programming that has been causing you problems. Now the great thing is here that you are always in control, and your unconscious mind will accept the new programming deeply and allow it to take effect immediately.
Hypnotherapy deals with phobias, fears, unwanted negative emotions, performance coaching, weight loss, stopping smoking, the list goes on and on!