Has anyone else here had hypnotherapy? Did you find it worked? What are peoples' opinions on it?
*Warning - Explicit head stuff content in this post, but it is interesting, bear with me*
I tried it and absolutely loved it. I left feeling totally blissed out and as relaxed as if I'd slept on a cloud. There's no quackery involved, cos all it involves is shutting down your conscious mind and appealing directly to the subconscious mind.
As it was carefully explained to me (and I'm no psychologist by any stretch of the imagination) the principle of it is that we have two minds; the Conscious, which is our active, everyday reasoning mind, and the Subconscious, which is our more primal, non-reasoning, urge driven responses.
The reasoning goes that very young children don't have a highly developed conscious mind, they just want things sorted immediately, and by the age of 4 or so they are learning that life isn't that simple, that there are rules and restrictions and a wider picture. The subconscious mind is 'programmable' to respond to things in a certain way, and gets into entrenched habits that are very difficult to break. So if a young child gets stuck in a cupboard, they might develop a lifelong fear of confined spaces, and if their mum jerks their hand away from a spider, screaming, they might grow up to be afraid of spiders, without ever really knowing why.
When people want to break a phobia, so the theory goes, their conscious mind is reasoning; 'Don't be stupid, there's nothing wrong with spiders,' but subconsciously they are thinking, 'Aaaagh! Spider! be afraid!' There's a battle between the two.
When someone decides to give up smoking, they could have the best will in the world, but subconsciously they're thinking 'Go on, you've had a stressful day and you're walking home. You always enjoy a smoke when you walk home, go on, have a fag!'
When I had hypnotherapy about 10 years ago, it was for an eating disorder. I was asked to open my eyes wide and try to count down from 1,000 (of course, I didn't get very far) and this made my eyes so tired that I had to close them. I was then asked to visualise walking down a flight of steps into a garden. With every step, my conscious mind would get more and more tired until it was asleep. Once I was in the garden, I was completely in the subconscious.
I was asked to find a filing cabinet in the garden and look for the information in it that was causing me to eat the way I did. I found this and revealed out loud (you can hear yourself talk of course, but you can't lie, because the reasoning that would cause lying has been switched off) that it was habit I'd formed to protect myself. I was then asked to remove that habit and replace it with something less harmful.
I than had to explore memories in the garden and find the ones that had inspired me to form the habit. To my surprise, I found myself remembering that my mum had forced me to sit at the table until all my food was gone, and that I'd been guilt tripped about not leaving any on my plate (think of all the starving kids...). I was asked to say to myself that there is nothing wrong with not eating all your food, that there should not be any guilt associated with such things, and that I should only eat when I was hungry.
When I came to, like I said, I felt very blissful, but not much else. I could remember everything how I would remember a particularly vivid dream.
A few days later, it suddenly occurred to me that my bad eating habits had stopped. The urges I used to get to do certain things in a certain way, at certain times, had gone. The link between problems in my life and problem behaviour was broken.
I was advised to have a second session, but I didn't. Looking back, I wish I had done, but the bad habits have only ever come back very fleetingly.
I hope that these thoughts are helpful. Some things that I was told at the time:
* You can only hypnotise someone to do a thing they already want to do. You can hypnotise someone to help them give up smoking, but if they love smoking and are totally comfortable with it, it won't work. It isn't trickery or magic. A vegan could not be hypnotised to start eating meat.
* Some people are so blocked up, troubled or have such little imagination that it won't work.
* Many types of counseling rely on the notion that there is no subconscious mind, and people of that persuasion are usually very damning about hypnotherapy.