FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)
Q: I have been a teacher for many years and my work is no longer valued (E.R. Kent). Can hypnotherapy help?"
A: This problem seems to be endemic; I have worked with so many teachers who are being crushed by the heartless way changes is being implemented. With the powerful yet gentle help of hypnotherapy I am helping many teachers regain their self-esteem, drive and motivation. I also help them look outside the world of education; many have given so much to their job for so many years, that it is quite a new experience for them to look at other options and opportunities.
Q: What are your qualifications?
A: I trained with the London College of Clinical Hypnosis for 2 1/2 years on a part-time basis, and was awarded the Certificate, Diploma and Practitioner Diploma in Clinical Hypnosis. I am a Full Member of the British Society of Clinical Hypnosis and abide by their code of practice; the Society also ensures that members meet requirements for CPD (Continuing Professional Development) and peer supervision. I am also a member of the Hypnotherapy Directory.
Q: How long have you been in practice?
A: Since 2000 and have been the main Tenterden hypnotherapist since 2007.
Q: How long are the sessions of hypnotherapy in Kent?
A: Sessions last an hour.
Q: How frequently will I need to come for hypnosis? (T.D. Ashford)
A: Hypnosis is flexible! Patients come roughly once a week or fortnight but I can be flexible.
Q: Am I too old for hypnotherapy?
A: I have had patients in their eighties and look forward to treating my first centenarian.
Q: Is hypnosis a credible treatment?
A: In France over 100 Firemen at Haguenau have been trained in hypnosis which they can use to relax, say, an asthma sufferer involved in an accident, victims trapped in a car or under debris. These techniques are designed to ease pain and reduce anxiety and help improve survival rates.
Q: Can hypnosis help with long-term problems.
A: I have also succeeded in helping patients get rid of problems that have been spoiling their enjoyment of life for ages. One person had put up with a dreadful skin condition for over 25 years and been to see numerous specialists and after four sessions of hypnotherapy it cleared up completely.
Q: Can hypnotherapy be used alongside existing medication?
A: Yes, and there is no risk of side-effects with hypnotherapy. Conditions such as stress, phobias, eczema, psoriasis, migraines, IBS can improve dramatically or be cured completely following a course of hypnotherapy. As a result you may feel you no longer need to take medication, but please always consult your doctor before reducing or stopping any medication.
Q: How many sessions will I need?
A: On average people come to see me for three or four sessions - far fewer than with traditional counselling. However people change at different speeds and at varying rates of intensity, so it isn't easy to predict how many sessions you will need. To expect any therapist to get everything done in one session (apart from stopping smoking which is one longer than usual session) is unrealistic.
Q: Can I get hypnotherapy on the NHS?
A: This will depend on whether your Primary Healthcare Trust fund hynpotherapy. If you ask your doctor to provide a written referral confirming that funding will be provided by the NHS I will be able to treat you. If you feel that you should be able to get hypnotherapy on the NHS it is worth writing to your MP and he will pass your letter on to the Minister for Health. A recent report from the House of Lords stated that complementary therapies should be available on the NHS.
Q: Is there anyone you can’t hypnotize?
A: I cannot treat people suffering from bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or manic depression. It is unlikely I would be able to hypnotize someone with dementia as their short term memory is often very poor. Also a patient needs to have a reasonable attention span; for this reason although I might not undertake the treatment of very small children directly, I would be able to work with the parents to help their child overcome persistent nightmares, for example.
Q: Can you get stuck in hypnosis?
A: Since starting in 2000 nobody has ever got stuck in hypnosis. Even if you were to get stuck in hypnosis, eventually the need to eat or go to the bathroom would break the hypnotic state.
Q: How can I know whether a hypnotherapist is genuine?
A; This is a very important question. Hypnotherapy is an unregulated profession and so (unfortunately) it is legal for people who have done a very superficial training (for example a weekend course learning how to treat smokers) to call themselves hypnotherapists. So always enquire about length of training and whether the training establishment has external accreditation. For example, I trained with the London College of Clinical Hypnosis, London who have been training hypnotherapists since 1984 and who are in partnership with the University of West London.
Also find out if hypnotherapy is their main job as there are people out there who are (for example) estate agents by day and see a few patients in their spare time as a way of supplementing their income.
When you phone up, do they come across as articulate, intelligent and professional? The psychology of how a person ticks is a complex and specialist area – it is unlikely someone of limited academic achievement would be able to grasp the complicated concepts involved.
If you contact a therapist with an enquiry, listen to your feelings. Do you feel comfortable talking to that person? Do you feel you can trust them? If you feel pressurized or manipulated into making an appointment, give them a wide berth. Women who are seeking a therapist need to think about whether they will feel comfortable going into a state of hypnosis alone in a room with a male therapist.
Cost is often a sore subject for people. For some reason many of us have difficulty giving our physical and emotional needs the attention they deserve. If your car broke down and the garage were to tell us that it couldn’t be repaired for six weeks, you would probably be very annoyed and start ringing round to find a garage that could repair it more quickly. But emotional and physical needs, discomforts and pains are often tolerated for months and even years before we allow ourselves to spend the money needed to get the necessary relief. Is your car or your washing machine really more valuable than the well-being of your mind, emotions and body?
Q: Can I have a friend or relative sitting in on the session?
A: Unfortunately, I don't do this because they would probably go into hypnosis and receive treatment that isn't designed for them and it could even be hazardous, like taking another person's medication.
Q: Do you have a waiting room?
A: There is no waiting room, so while you are enjoying your session, your friends or relatives who have come with you can drive into Tenterden where there are numerous cafes, coffee shops, restaurants and pubs, plus the steam railway and a lot of really lovely shops.
Will I be 'put under'? Being in a trance is a naturally occurring mental state that happens when you get lost in a book or in those dreamy moments when you are drifting off to sleep at night. So all I am doing is re-evoking this natural state and enabling it to last longer and become deeper. Patients vary in the depth of trance, but at an inner level you always remain in control. So, for example, if I were to ask you to rob a bank on my behalf and then to give me the proceeds and forget all about it, you would not do it, because it would be against your moral code. Indeed, it is not accepted as a valid defense under British Law it is not permissible to say that you were hypnotized into doing something against your will.
Hypnosis may be of help with Dementia
A scientist at the University of Liverpool has found that hypnosis can slow down the impacts of dementia and improve quality of life for those living with the condition.
Forensic psychologist, Dr Simon Duff, investigated the effects of hypnosis on people living with dementia and compared the treatment to mainstream health-care methods. He also looked at how hypnosis compared to a type of group therapy in which participants were encouraged to discuss news and current affairs.
They found that people living with dementia who had received hypnosis therapy showed an improvement in concentration, memory and socialisation compared to the other two treatment groups. Relaxation, motivation and daily living activities also improved with the use of hypnosis.
Dr Duff said: "Over a nine month period of weekly sessions, it became clear that the participants attending the discussion group remained the same throughout. The group who received 'treatment as usual' showed a small decline over the assessment period, yet those having regular hypnosis sessions showed real improvement across all of the areas that we looked at.
"Participants who are aware of the onset of dementia may become depressed and anxious at their gradual loss of cognitive ability and so hypnosis - which is a tool for relaxation - can really help the mind concentrate on positive activity like socialisation."
Further research will now take place to establish whether hypnosis maintains its effects on dementia as the illness progresses, over longer periods of time.
Dr Dan Nightingale, co-author of the research and leading dementia consultant at the Abacus Clinic in Newark, added: "Evidence to date has shown that we can enhance the quality of life for people living with dementia through the correct use of hypnosis.