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Hypnotherapy Session Structure

How it all works

What is Hypnotherapy?

“If you think of your mind as a garden and that you are your mind’s gardener, you can then also think of your hypnotherapist as your garden adviser who helps you tend your garden, removing dead plants etc. Your hypnotherapist then collaborates with you to find healthy new plants to replace them, and also provides you with  information and the relevant tools to independently maintain your garden in a healthy condition.  You then need to have the motivation to continue tending your garden at your own pace so your garden flourishes in a way that works for you.”

To understand hypnotherapy, we first need to understand what hypnosis is, as hypnotherapists use hypnosis to help their clients.


When you are in hypnosis you’re asleep aren’t you?

Actually no. The main common myth surrounding hypnosis is that when you’re in hypnosis you go to sleep; however, in fact you are  conscious when you are in hypnosis as hypnosis is actually a state of focussed  attention.

Ok but the hypnotherapist will have control over me  

You remain in control. When a person is in hypnosis, they are in control and they do only the things they want to do; the hypnotherapist is merely the facilitator. When you are in hypnosis, you will be aware of what is going on around you. You will be able to hear the hypnotherapist and be aware of your body.

All hypnotic experiences are subjective so people experience hypnosis at different levels ie from a light state all the way through to a deep state. People will naturally find the right level that suits them.

Here’s an example.  I’m sure you’ve experienced going on a train journey and suddenly you realise you are a couple of stops further along the route than you thought you were. That is a form of hypnosis. So hypnosis is something people naturally go in and out of every day, without realising it.

Ok so how does hypnotherapy actually work?

So now we have a clearer idea of what hypnosis is (and is not), let’s turn our attention to what actually is hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy is a form of therapy that, via hypnosis, uses the power of suggestion to encourage positive change for a client. A hypnotherapist will use relaxation techniques, via hypnosis, to help the client reach a state where the conscious part of their mind is relaxed and the subconscious part is more open to suggestion.

Via hypnosis, the hypnotherapist will then use suggestion techniques (where the hypnotherapist “talks” to their client’s subconscious), to help encourage the change the client is looking for.

So what happens in a hypnotherapy session?

The way hypnotherapy works in practice is that in a counselling environment, the hypnotherapist would first discuss what the client is wanting to achieve via hypnotherapy ie what is the outcome they want. There is a broad spectrum of issues that a hypnotherapist can help with. For example, this could be wanting to lose weight, stop smoking through to managing the symptoms of some physical discomfort through to managing the client’s general wellbeing. 

Once the outcome is agreed, the hypnotherapist will perform a suggestibility test with the client to ascertain how susceptible the client is to hypnosis as that will inform the hypnotherapist as to what method they will use to put the client into an hypnotic state.

Ok but what happens next?

Once the client is in the hypnotic state, hypnotherapy works by the hypnotherapist giving the clients suggestions around how they might feel and/or act to enable them to achieve or start to achieve the outcome they agreed with the hypnotherapist at the start of the session. The suggestion may be active during the session and/or once the session has ended and the client has left – this is known as a “post-hypnotic suggestion.”

At the end of the session, the hypnotherapist will use an awakening technique to bring the client out of the hypnotic state and ensure they are 100% fully refreshed and alert.

People also find hypnotherapy can help them over different periods of time. Some people may need just one or two sessions to have dealt with their issue; for others it may take a few more sessions. Again the hypnotherapist will collaborate and work at the pace that suits you.

Client Take On Form

Before our first session, I will ask you to complete my “Client Take On Form” where you can provide relevant information to enable me to provide you with the best hypnotherapy support and experience most appropriate for you.

Please note all sessions will be conducted in the strictest confidence and this confidence will be maintained and applied to any and all records (including written informal notes, audio/video recordings), in accordance with the Data Protection Act and the subsequent GDPR legislation, except in the following circumstances:

  • Where you (the client) gives consent for the confidence to be broken (including: contacting GP)
  • Where disclosure on the part of me (the therapist) is required by UK law
  • Where I (the therapist) considers you (the) client an imminent danger to themselves or others.

Client Contract

I will ask you to read a “Client Contract” whereby you agree to commit to certain actions, for example, attending sessions on time etc. It also includes commitments from me such as carrying out my duties in a professional and ethical way. Assuming you agree to the contract, I will then ask you to sign and date the contract and I will do the same.

Download Client Contract here

Initial session

At our initial session, I will explain what hypnosis is and how hypnotherapy works and I will take any questions you have. We will discuss the issue(s) you want hypnotherapy to help you with and we will agree what outcome(s) you want from our hypnotherapy sessions.

You will experience what it is like to be in hypnosis, without actually being hypnotised, just so you get a sense of how hypnosis feels. I will then ascertain how susceptible you are to hypnosis and then once you are ready, I will place you into hypnosis and start my hypnotherapy techniques.

At the end of the session I will re-alert you ie bring you out of hypnosis and discuss and agree some actions you can do before our next session.

Subsequent sessions

We will discuss your reflections on the previous session and how you managed with the actions you were ask to undertake from the previous session. We will review what progress you have made towards achieving the outcomes you want from hypnotherapy and agree techniques I will use for the current session. The session will conclude as the first session does above.

Final session

We will discuss the progress you have made and agree the format of the final session. The session will conclude as the first session does above. I will then provide you with relevant techniques and tasks you can use once the sessions have ended to help sustain the progress you will have made. I will also make myself available (at no cost to you) if you want a call to discuss anything that arises after our last session.
(Please note that hypnotherapy works equally well as a face to face meeting also also online, for example, over zoom or similar online meeting application).

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