Have you ever wondered what to expect during your first appointment with a hypnotist?
I cannot speak for all hypnotists; this post is primarily about my approach with a little about general practice,
Most practitioners, whether TCM, Massage Therapist, or Psychotherapist, do an Intake, including history and other relevant information. A life history that includes accidents, surgeries and significant life events can often be quite relevant regardless if the presenting issue is fertility-related, fears (e.g. flying, needles, or pain), or habit change.
Many hypnotists provide clients an Intake form to complete at the first appointment, and while this can work, my preference is for a new client to take some time and write or type a more thorough history in advance and then email this before actually meeting.
In some professions, a history is all that is covered in the first (and possibly, second) appointments. If there is a lot to cover in regards to the Intake, I will split it up into two appointments so that there is time to actually do some work: it could be hypnosis, or it could be any of the other modalities that I utilize (i.e. NLP, mBIT Coaching, Tapping/EFT).
Over the years, I realized that I work best in longer blocks, so I generally book two hours per client. While shorter appointments can work—whether in person, online or phone—I usually reserve one hour appointments for clients who have already had a number of appointments and who generally make rapid change.
Hypnotists do well when clients have clear, concise goals; if this is not the case for you, that’s ok—most people don’t. I often provide typical hypnosis suggestions in a template form so clients can review and pick and choose what suits them. This helps eliminate what you do not want and gets you closer to what you really do want in the way of concepts and images.
Words are important. Our physiology can change as a result. When it comes to our reproduction, fertility trauma is on the rise, whether it is as a result of trying to conceive naturally, with medical help or accessing the help of a third party. When a person is told that she/he is “too old” or diagnosed as “infertile” these can have a powerful effect opposite to placebo: this is called nocebo.
Think about the words that please you and also the words that upset you. When it comes to words, if your conscious mind is not pleased with specific words or phrases, it is most certainly likely that this is the same for your unconscious mind. For example, some people prefer calm over relax. It may seem unimportant, but paying attention in these small ways can make all the difference. Any words that tend to trigger stress are best avoided; once the word is disconnected from the upset (which is easy with Tapping and/or NLP) then it is a moot issue.
HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO FEEL/THINK WITH TODAY’S WORK?
I typically ask clients at the beginning of each appointment: How would you like to feel leaving here today? What goals, if any, do you have for our work here today? Most people don’t know, other than a general sense of feeling better, being less anxious or leaving feeling more positive and hopeful. Leading up to your appointment, think about what goals you would like to accomplish.
Once the Intake is partly or completely covered, we use the same massage table that the practitioners at ALIVE use. Clients can recline with a pillow, sheet and blanket if needed. I usually turn the lights down and turn the music up. While not essential, this helps set the state.
Depending on the client, I may encourage memories or images of a happy, safe place first, followed by suggestions of going deeper into the experience of this internally focused state. The more you can absorb yourself in this, the better. If you are very visual, that helps, but not everyone is, so feeling the good feeling that comes with being in your Special Place, or “listening” to the sounds of your Happy Place can be helpful.
Specific hypnotic strategies to enhance physical relaxation are next; this then segues into mental relaxation. When the body relaxes, the mind relaxes even more; when the mind relaxes, the body relaxes even deeper.
In hypnosis, the deeper you go, the more powerfully accepted the hypnotic commands are by the unconscious mind. Focusing your attention on your Special Place, or your breathing, or relaxing a part of the body while the hypnotist offers the hypnotic commands (suggestions) helps to allow your inner, unconscious mind the ability to fully accept and integrate the new concepts.
In this type of setting, the hypnosis component usually runs about 30 minutes, although you can be in a profound state of hypnotic trance for many hours with good effect. At any point, you can move or change your position, talk or bring yourself out of hypnosis. You are in control.
You will recall what was said during the guided hypnosis. While hypnotic “amnesia” is possible, it is not common for most people with the first experience of hypnosis. (Amnesia is not the right word, because your unconscious mind remembers everything.)
After the appointment, you will be able to drive and resume regular activities. When profound change takes place, most people find that they may be more tired than usual; some experience changes in dietary habits. This is a good thing: it means your physiology is processing the work done. This may last for a short time (under 1 hour), or it can cycle for a few days or even weeks.
- be as thorough as you can with the Intake Form
- identify goals for what you would like the work to achieve
- write or type the hypnotic suggestions that you prefer most
- focus on how you want to be thinking and feeling as the appointment wraps up.
Working with your unconscious mind in clear, direct and positive ways can be one of the most rewarding experiences in life. Your unconscious mind wants you to be happy, to be successful and to have everything you identify as important. Allowing the conscious to recall a pleasant scene while doing hypnosis can be enormously relaxing and feel as if you’ve just had a great nap, but with the added benefit that your inner mind is now more fully focused on the specific successes you are working towards.