I was first introduced to hypnosis many years ago when I used it as part of my preparation for my British Horse Society Stage III exam (that’s the Assistant Instructor in old money). I was scared of the jumping phase, but I had to do it to pass the exam. So, I had two sessions of hypnotherapy – and sailed through my exam! Years later, I’m still happy to jump – it’s not my favourite thing to do with my horse, but I’m quite happy to do it.

Several years on, having qualified as a Master Neurolinguistic Practitioner, I had the opportunity to train further in hypnosis to Diploma level. It’s one of those things that, once you know it, it’s impossible to ‘unknow’ it. It features a lot in all of my client work, whether in self development or riding. So, what can we learn through hypnosis?

What is it?

The Royal College of Psychiatrists’ definition of hypnosis is ‘a psychological procedure that can help to change how you feel and act.’ Simple, huh? But, it’s often shrouded in mystery. And, people’s experience of it is often from stage shows with magic being performed or people behaving like chickens. Am I going to lose control? Am I going to look foolish? What will you do to me when I’m ‘under’????

Well, luckily, it’s not like that at all!! Not in my practice anyway. Put simply, it’s a way of undoing unhelpful thinking. A way of learning new strategies to problem solve. If there are things that are holding you back, stopping you taking part in things, or enjoying something that’s important to you, hypnosis will help. And, I can’t make you do anything – you’re completely aware of what’s happening the whole time.

How is this relevant to your life?

We’re constantly learning – it’s part of the human condition. And, much of that learning is done unconsciously – it has to be otherwise our brains couldn’t cope with all the data that comes its way. So far so good.

However what happens when what you learned becomes unhelpful? What may have started as a useful strategy to cope with something, starts to get in the way when the situation has passed. And, yet, the behaviour or thinking remains, even though our ‘thinking’ brain understands that it’s not necessary any more.

You will all have experienced this. It might be a fear of spiders, anxiety about cantering your horse, flying, going out or speaking in public. Sometimes it can be used for pain management or even giving birth with less medical intervention.

What happens?

There’s no diagnosis. There’ll be some exploration of how you experience ‘the problem’ and we’ll get really clear on how you’d like things to be different and what you can learn through hypnosis. This bit is crucial. The ‘different’ can’t be vague – I’d like to be better. What does better mean? My version might be different to yours. Where do you want things to be better? When? Etc. I’ll ask you to make that picture in your mind’s eye very vivid as if you’re actually in it already.

After the initial induction, you’ll find yourself in a focused, relaxed state. You’ll feel safe and will be able to consider possibilities of change. Through listening to the instructions I’ll give you, we’ll be influencing your brain to imagine other, better things. Lots of research shows that through this process, changes in the brain can actually be seen on scans.

Each session varies in length, but as we finish, you’ll find your awareness of your direct environment will increase again and your old thinking will be gone, won’t it?

Case Studies

Gaining confidence handling a horse – George (not real name) had been struggling to stay safe around his horse on the ground as he had had a bad experience previously with an injury caused by a horse pulling away from him when he was leading. After one session, and a practical to make sure I could support him in real life, he was happily managing his horse safely and with ease.

Learning how to work alongside a colleague where conflict had arisen – Muriel (not real name) came initially as she had lost her confidence in her ability to do her job. When we clarified ‘the problem’ it was clear that she was very able to do her job, but that a relationship with a colleague had been causing her distress. Through hypnosis, she gained confidence that she had new strategies that she could use to manage things better. She reported back that she had spoken with her colleague and they’d managed to work out how they could work better together.

It’s a resource for you

Now you can see how hypnosis might be something that could help you; you can even learn how to do this for yourself. You can learn how to effectively learn through hypnosis.

Of course, like other modalities, hypnosis isn’t for everyone and it’s vital that you find a qualified, experienced practitioner. Ask for an initial consultation before you commit to anything and if you can get recommendations, that’s even better.

If you’d like to find out more about it, please do get in touch for a no obligation consultation.

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