Hypnosis: Experience the Power of your Mind.
Hypnosis is a gentle and safe way to heal the mind, body, and spirit. It can help with a diverse variety of physical, mental, and emotional issues.
Hypnosis is an effective process for personal change that involves gently guiding the mind into a suggestible state to alter unwanted thoughts, perceptions, feelings, emotions, and behaviours. When guided imagery and suggestions are not enough, we can tap into your subconscious mind to determine the cause of the issue and facilitate a release of anything harmful that is causing you discomfort.
Despite the impression with some that hypnotism is woo woo, hippie dippie, new age mumbo jumbo, the reality is that it is an extremely effective therapy that is gaining traction in the medical, psychological, and scientific communities. We won't get into the evidence here, but will encourage you to do a bit of research if you want to see some of the studies that have been conducted that prove hypnosis has a well-deserved place along side other healing modalities. For some conditions like stress, anxiety, and chronic pain, hypnotherapy can be even more effective than both psychoanalysis and behaviour therapy (American Health Magazine, 2007).
At Healing Vibrations, our focus is on the use of hypnosis to promote relaxation, reduce stress, manage anxiety and depression, remove fears and phobias, improve sleep, and cope with both acute and chronic pain. It is used not only to help deal with symptoms after they are already occurring, but when possible, can also be used preemptively to prevent future stress responses, minimize labour pain, and help with the stress and pain of pre-planned procedures such as surgeries, dental work, and even tattoos. It is possible to help increase comfort and minimize pain in everything from the stress of walking into the clinic, to having the IV needle inserted, to post-operative recovery.
We believe everyone deserves to live the fullest life possible, and we know how chronic and/or debilitating issues can often make a life of contentment, happiness, excitement, purpose, and fulfillment seem impossible. Our goal is to make the impossible possible for you.
What Hypnosis Is
Hypnosis is not sleeping, nor is it loss of consciousness. Rather, it is a safe and natural state of relaxed alertness somewhere between being awake and being asleep. In fact, it is so natural you have already been hypnotized many times in your life. Anytime you have found yourself daydreaming then felt like you snapped back to reality, or been driving and realized when you arrived at your destination that you don’t even really remember the route you took to get there, you were in a hypnotic state! And really, you are in a hypnotically suggestible state every night right before you fall asleep and every morning right before you wake. So, being hypnotized will be nothing new for your mind.
Our minds have three levels - unconscious, subconscious, and conscious. The unconscious mind is the deepest level where automatic, innate processes like digestion, respiration, and circulation happen without thought (i.e. you do not have to tell your lungs to breath air nor your blood to pump through your veins).
The surface level of our minds is the conscious mind. This is where all reasoning, thinking, and rationalizing takes place. It is very limited in capacity.
The subconscious is the level of the mind between the unconscious and the conscious. It is limitless and is where the memory of every experience you have ever had resides. It is where feelings and emotions come from, and it is here you will find all habits and behaviours. It is powerful and protective, out of view, but can be accessed with help.
There is what is known as the "critical factor" between the conscious mind and the subconscious mind. Using hypnosis, we are able to bypass this critical factor and go deep into the subconscious mind and see all of the things below the surface. While the conscious mind is busy on the surface, we are exploring below the surface to find and illuminate that which we hope to change.
Once you are in a comfortable state, your mind is open to suggestions which will be provided by your hypnotherapist to help change the unhealthy thoughts, perceptions, beliefs or behaviours you are wanting to be rid of. Hypnosis is really guided self-hypnosis. Your hypnotherapist just provides the guidance to help you take yourself into a hypnotic state.
How deep you go and everything you experience will be unique to you. However, a common concern of people who have gone into hypnosis is, “I don’t really know if I was hypnotized.” The reason for this is that while we will be working with your subconscious mind behind the scenes, on a sensory level the experience may not really differ much from sitting relaxed with your eyes closed. You will be fully aware and can still think clearly. You will still notice sounds, smells, and other sensory stimuli. You can still talk and move. If you have to scratch an itch or cough or adjust yourself to get more comfortable, you aren’t going to make yourself come out of hypnosis.
It is normal to drift off and find your mind wandering and thinking about other things instead of being focused on what is being said. You may not hear everything, and that is perfectly fine. There are different levels of depth, but no matter what level you are at your subconscious mind will still be hearing everything and getting the benefits from your session. That is the great thing about the mind; it can process suggestions even if you don’t actively hear them! While it is great if you can get nice and relaxed throughout the process, that too isn’t necessary for this to work.
There is no right or wrong way to be hypnotized. You will go as deep as you can go in your session, and each time you get hypnotized you will go deeper and deeper. You will be guided through it and shown when you are in hypnosis and you will go to the perfect depth to do what you need to do in hypnosis. You really only need to be at the lightest depth level to still experience profound changes.
What Hypnosis Is Not
In learning about what hypnosis or hypnotherapy is, it is equally important to learn what hypnosis or hypnotherapy is NOT. It is helpful to have a realistic understanding of hypnosis, because there are some absurd 'mythperceptions' surrounding hypnotism thanks to TV and movies. The below myths are covered in a bit more detail in our Hypnosis FAQ, but here is a quick summary.
For many people, their first introduction to real-life hypnotism is a stage hypnotist,
and that really isn't any better than TV and the movies at portraying hypnosis as the
legitimate and therapeutic practice it can be. People on a stage doing crazy things is
NOT hypnotherapy. While it is still 'hypnosis' and the principles are the same, its
purpose is purely entertainment. Hypno-"therapy" has the goal of accessing your
subconscious mind to make lasting and positive changes to your thoughts, feelings,
and perceptions. There is no therapeutic value in making you bark like a dog!
Some of the most common ideas people have are that hypnosis is mind-control and that they can be made to do things against their will or can be made to reveal their deepest secrets, and that the hypnotist will make them say or do things then make them forget they did. To understand why these are simply not true, read our blog: The Truth about Hypnotism - Part 1. Other erroneous ideas include that you can get stuck in hypnosis or that hypnosis is in some way evil, paranormal, or occult. You can read more about these in The Truth about Hypnotism - Part 2.
Two other aspects of hypnotism that aren't misconceptions as much as they are person-dependent are, "I cannot be hypnotized," or "Hypnosis doesn't work." With few exceptions, anyone of normal intelligence who wants to be hypnotized and is willing to follow suggestions can be hypnotized. The key words here are "want" and "willing". If you are not willing to be hypnotized or follow suggestions, you cannot be. But if that is the case, you really should re-phrase your objection from, "I cannot be hypnotized," to the more accurate, "I don't want to be hypnotized."
Many of the people who report hypnosis didn't work for them simply didn't give it a chance. If a person goes into hypnosis with the mindset that it isn't going to work and is resisting the suggestions provided by the hypnotist, it will not work. Also, many people think they can just show up for one session and be magically cured with the snap
of a finger. Hypnosis is helping to reverse thoughts, perceptions, and behaviours that have often developed for years, so for most issues one session usually is not going to cut it. There is also important post-session work on oneself that requires active participation, so if a person just walks out of a session and does nothing, change is unlikely to happen.
STILL NOT CONVINCED HYPNOSIS IS FOR YOU?
We offer an "Introduction to Hypnosis" session.
The introduction session is approximately 1 hour.
Please note, there will be no issue-specific therapy during this session. What it will include is the following:
* A review of all of your paperwork so when you book your first session we can jump right in and get started quicker.
* A discussion about what hypnosis is and is not.
* A discussion about what brings you to hypnosis and your expectations to see whether hypnosis is a good fit for you.
*Putting together an action plan.
* Spending time getting to know your therapist and getting comfortable (this is very important for hypnosis to be effective!)
* A mini-hypnosis session. You will be put into a hypnotic state so you can learn what hypnosis feels like.
*An opportunity for you to ask questions and have any concerns addressed.
Hypnosis carries very few risks, but may be contraindicated for certain individuals, including but not limited to:
Individuals suffering from dementia or senility.
Anyone under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Individuals with psychoses, schizophrenia, hallucinations, delusions, or other severe psychiatric disorders.
Very young children.
Those with epilepsy or narcolepsy.
Individuals without the mental or intellectual capacity to comprehend what is being done to them.
Anyone who is hysterical or extremely anxious about undergoing hypnotherapy.
Individuals who are unable to properly interact and establish effective rapport.
Those with serious cardiac conditions.
People with pathological personality disorders.
Anyone who is bi-polar or suffering from severe clinical depression or suicidal tendencies.
Please consult with your primary healthcare provider prior to requesting hypnotherapy if any of the following apply:
Pregnancy (particularly in the first trimester).
*I do not work with children or teens under 18 years old, individuals with PTSD, or sexual assault victims. If you are looking for assistance with any of these, I would be happy to refer you to one of my colleagues.
Is Hypnosis or Hypnotherapy Right for Me?
If you have any thoughts of harming yourself or others, please seek appropriate psychiatric, medical or psychological assistance. Your hypnotherapist is not qualified to be assisting you with any serious mental health issues. Hypnotherapy traditionally deals with neurotic disorders and neuroses, not psychosis and pathological conditions.
If you have any serious medical conditions, please seek assistance from a qualified medical professional before your appointment. Hypnotherapy is a safe treatment for helping manage some symptoms of a variety of medical conditions, but it does not cure diseases. It is also important for you to seek medical assistance to ensure an accurate diagnosis before undergoing hypnotherapy, as hypnotherapy can help diminish and even eliminate some symptoms that could be indicative of a more serious underlying condition and could be important for identifying and treating that condition. Pain, gastrointestinal issues, and other symptoms are there for a reason, and that reason is to identify that there is something wrong in your body. If you try to mask those symptoms using hypnotherapy without first consulting a physician to determine underlying physical causes for your discomfort, an important diagnosis may be missed.
It is not uncommon for people to be somewhat ambivalent about undergoing hypnotherapy. Some people fear losing control, some fear they will be forced to do things they don't want to do, some believe they are going to get stuck in a trance state, and some are hesitant because of a fear of revealing their innermost secrets. You are encouraged to do some research on what hypnotherapy is and is not, both online (which has a wealth of information) as well as by meeting with or emailing a therapist with questions or concerns, and if you are still extremely nervous or fearful about the experience, it is best to wait until you are more comfortable with the idea. A client's attitude towards therapy is critical because you need to be able to relax and develop a trusting relationship with your therapist. Hypnotherapy is a pleasant and relaxing experience, but if you are resisting it or cannot trust your therapist, it will not work. We are trying to help with anxiety, not cause it, so if the thought of having hypnotherapy is a source of strong feelings of anxiety, please consider another form of therapy.
Because attitude towards hypnosis is so important, it is also best to use hypnotherapy only if YOU want to do it. Before booking an appointment, ask yourself one very important question..."Is my primary reason for going to hypnosis because someone else wants me to?" If it is, you may want to hold off on booking an appointment. No matter how well-meaning others might be, the primary reason for going to hypnosis needs to be because YOU want to. If you don't, in all likelihood hypnosis will not work.
Your therapist reserves the right to deny treatment to any clients she does not feel comfortable providing services to.
Precautions and Side Effects
While hypnotherapy is generally regarded as safe, there are a few possible side effects you should be aware of.
Headache, drowsiness, upset stomach, or dizziness may occur. If they do, they should be mild and will fade.
Caution should be used when using hypnosis to work through stressful or traumatic events, particularly from early childhood. This may cause strong emotions including anxiety or distress and can risk the creation of false memories. That is why it is important to ensure you are working with a trained hypnotherapist with experience in regression and traumatic events. Do not attempt to work through traumatic experiences using YouTube videos or a hypnotist who got their certification online from an unaccredited training program. Online courses are a great way to expand knowledge and build on an existing skill-set, but are not the way to obtain proper training and education to deal with repressed memories resulting from traumatizing experiences.
When booking your first appointment, please allow yourself sufficient time to complete the booking process. You are going to find there are a lot of forms for you to fill out for your first appointment. The reason for this is two-fold:
1. We are a holistic practice. This means we take an approach to healing which includes all parts of the person - physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. The more we can learn about you, the better the treatment plan we can develop.
2. You are a unique individual and we want to treat you as such. We do not want to use a cookie-cutter style of therapy with a one-size fits all approach. The more you can connect on a personal level with the scripts we are using and the suggestions we are making, the more effective your sessions will be. Learning about you as an individual, including your likes and dislikes when it comes to imagery, will help us craft a session specifically for you.
PREPARING FOR YOUR SESSION
~Please avoid caffeine, alcohol and any recreational drugs for at least 4 hours prior to your session.
~Have a small meal about an hour before arriving for your appointment. You do not want to be uncomfortably full, nor do you want your tummy rumbling.
~Please wear comfortable and loose fitting clothing. Any clothing worn during your session must be clean and sanitary.
~In order to keep our facilities comfortable and clean for all of our clients, we ask that you shower the day of your appointment and use deodorant/antiperspirant to prevent body odour. Avoid the use of heavy fragrances.
~Ensure you are feeling well, with no contagious illnesses or conditions. If you are unwell, consider rescheduling your appointment.
DURING YOUR SESSION
~Your hypnotherapist will start by reviewing your intake forms and discussing your treatment goals.
~Your hypnotherapist will explain hypnosis and the hypnotic process and you will have an opportunity to ask any questions you may have.
~The hypnotherapy room is private and your hypnotherapist adheres to the highest standards of ethical conduct so you can feel comfortable sharing information.
~Your hypnotherapist will then use relaxation techniques and guided imagery to help create a receptive state of mind which is open to the suggestions used to make positive changes to the feelings, perceptions, beliefs or behaviours which have brought you to hypnotherapy.
~You will be fully aware of everything going on and will be in control. It will be a safe, relaxing experience.
~At the end of your session, your hypnotherapist will bring you out of your hypnotic state and back to full alertness.
Frequently Asked Questions
There is no such thing as a dumb question. If you can't find the answers you are looking
for below, please feel free to contact us with your questions and we would be happy to help.
We also offer an "Introduction to Hypnosis" session where you can meet your hypnotist
and have all of your questions answered.
What is the difference between 'hypnosis' and 'hypnotherapy'?
In many ways it is po-tay-to, po-tah-to. Both hypnosis and hypnotherapy involve guiding a person into an altered state in which their mind becomes open to suggestions. From a technical standpoint, the steps used are very similar, though the hypnosis most people are familiar with is that used in stage shows and street performances, which just tends to be done quicker.
In loose terms, 'hypnosis' refers more to general hypnotism such as that used for entertainment purposes, whereas 'hypnotherapy' is used more often to refer to the use of hypnosis for therapeutic purposes (i.e. to change thoughts, perceptions, sensations, and behaviours which are in some way impeding a person's quality of life).
When looking at a practitioner's credentials, someone who refers to themselves as a 'hypnotherapist' technically should have an advanced degree from an accredited college/university. A 'certified hypnotist' or 'consulting hypnotist' is usually someone who has completed an applied course in hypnotism and is registered with a recognized governing body such as the National Guild of Hypnotists. Either would be qualified to perform hypnosis/hypnotherapy, but avoid anyone who received online-only training.
Will I give up control of my mind?
People often look to TV or the movies to support this misconception. Hypnotism is not mind control in the sense that someone can take over your mind and force you to do things against your will. You are in control the whole time, so the mind-control you will experience is you, taking control over your own mind. Hypnosis is merely a heightened state of suggestibility. Simply put, that means allowing a hypnotist to help you bypass your conscious mind so that you can gain control over the part of your mind that you need to be able to access in order to change thoughts, feelings, and perceptions. The key here is "you".
You can feel perfectly safe. There is a protective part of your mind that will be monitoring things the whole time, so if there is anything you are uncomfortable with saying or doing, you ARE in full control, capable of making decisions, and you have the ability to choose which suggestions you accept and which you reject.
? Simply drag and drop elements.
Can I get stuck in hypnosis?
Hypnosis is not a fixed state so you cannot permanently nor even temporarily get "stuck" in hypnosis.
Your hypnotist will 'emerge' you at the end of your session (which is just another word for bringing you out of hypnosis and back to a normal state). Even if your hypnotist didn't emerge you for some strange reason (extremely unlikely), you would emerge naturally on your own once you were no longer receiving suggestions from your hypnotist.
You also have the ability to bring yourself out of hypnosis at any time you want. All you have to do is stop following the hypnotist's instructions and emerge yourself.
How do I know if I can be hypnotized?
With few exceptions, anyone of normal intelligence who wants to be hypnotized and is willing to follow suggestions can be hypnotized. The key words here are "want" and "willing". If you flat out refuse to be hypnotized and/or are not willilng to follow suggestions, you cannot be hypnotized. If that is the case though, you really should re-phrase your objection from, "I 'cannot' be hypnotized," to the more accurate, "I 'don't want to' be hypnotized."
It is natural to feel a bit apprehensive and uncertain about hypnosis and you may not want to be hypnotized "yet". However, once you are open to hypnosis and comfortable with the idea of at least trying it, there should be no reason why you can't be hypnotized.
Besides a willingness to be hypnotized, there really are only two things you need to be hypnotized - trust that your hypnotherapist has your best interest at heart and is going to do everything she can to ensure you have a positive experience, and a good imagination! Imagination is the language of the subconscious, so having a good imagination is really helpful. Walt Disney would have made a great hypnosis client!
As a side note, some people will report that they tried to be hypnotized at a stage show and didn't succeed so they believe they can't be hypnotized. However, keep in mind a public stage show with lots of lights, noise, cameras, and a large audience of people is not the same as a private office setting. Even though there may have been some excitement to be hypnotized, besides the distractions, there could have also been some deeper reluctance to fully let go due to misconceptions about hypnosis or possible embarrassment if you did end up on stage.
Can I be made to do things against my will?
People often learn this misconception thanks to stage hypnotist shows. You cannot be hypnotized against your will if you do not want to be. Hypnosis is a consensual state so you need to want to be hypnotized.
Once hypnotized, you also cannot be made to do anything that is inconsistent with your values, morals, and beliefs. You are in full control and if, at any time, you are not comfortable with what is going on you have the ability to bring yourself out of hypnosis. All you have to do is stop following the hypnotist's instructions and you will emerge naturally on your own, or you can ask the hypnotist to stop.
You might be thinking, "but what about those people on stage made to cluck like a chicken or do sexual things? They wouldn't do that normally in public if they weren't made to!!" Keep in mind those people on stage are 'volunteers'. They knew they were going to be made to do embarrassing things, yet they actively participated by following the hypnotist's instructions and allowing themselves to go into a hypnotic state. They consented to being hypnotized and going on stage. Ultimately everyone on stage has a part of them that likes the attention and wanted to be part of the show. If they were terrified of being on stage or firmly believed that what they would be made to do would go against their beliefs, they would not have been hypnotized in the first place.
Can I be made to reveal my secrets?
You CANNOT be made to share any secret you would not want to reveal in a waking state. If there is something you are not comfortable sharing, don't share it!
However, keep in mind that you are visiting a hypnotherapist because you are seeking help with overcoming some sort of obstacle in your life, and part of therapy is sharing details of yourself so an effective treatment approach can be developed. If you hide important information it may make your sessions less effective. That is why it is important to work with a therapist you are comfortable with, so you can feel safe sharing information and can trust that anything you choose to share will remain strictly confidential. That is also why it is important to ensure your hypnotherapist belongs to a trusted organization such as the National Guild of Hypnotists. All certified practitioners must adhere to the highest standards of ethics, and that includes protecting private and personal information that is revealed during a session.
Can hypnosis cure me?
Hypnotists are not faith healers who can perform physical miracles. They can’t magically restore lost senses, cure diseases, or reverse injuries.
There are amazing physical changes that can happen in the body as a result of changing thoughts and beliefs in the mind, but it involves more than just a snapping of the fingers and making all of your problems go away. As long as you are on board with making positive changes, you and your hypnotherapist can accomplish great things together. Through hypnosis you can better manage pain; overcome fears and phobias; change unhealthy beliefs and behaviours or undesirable habits and feelings; work through emotional challenges; experience emotional healing; improve personal development; and yes, even experience amazing physical changes that even medicine sometimes struggles to understand. However, you are going to have to actively participate in the process to make the changes you are wanting to experience happen, and you will have to be patient because changes will not happen overnight.
Isn't hypnosis evil?
Hypnotism has sometimes been referred to as, "the devil's work", black magic, sorcery, or the dark arts. There is nothing evil, paranormal, or unnatural about hypnosis. It is a natural state of mind that everyone already experiences in some form on a daily basis. Hypnosis simply helps to access that state in a more controlled manner.
While there are certainly some more controversial elements in hypnosis (past life regression, remote viewing, astral projection), at its heart and soul hypnosis is simply helping to change thoughts, perceptions and behaviours. It is about personal growth and change, and its roots are in psychological principles even if the origins of hypnosis did have some occult influences.
If there are some things about hypnotism that are too "out there" for you, find a hypnotherapist that you are comfortable working with. If you find things like chakras and energy work to be too 'woo woo' for you, find a clinical hypnotherapist whose focus is more on the medical and scientific approach. If you are spiritual, connect with a hypnotherapist who is also spiritual. If you think things like past life regression and astral projection are bunk, simply don't ask for those types of sessions!
What will I remember with hypnosis?
This one is actually a two-sided question. One group is those who are worried they won't remember anything from their session, and the other group who think they will be able to remember everything that has ever happened to them.
A hypnotherapist can use regression techniques to help you try to recall events from the past that are influencing current thoughts and behaviours. However, hypnosis isn't a key that unlocks a door and all of a sudden everything that has ever happened comes flooding back. When regression is used, it is for trying to re-frame an initial sensitizing event. Unless the issue you need help with stems from something in the past, your hypnotist will not even use regression techniques. This is particularly true if you are simply using hypnosis for relaxation, pain, or stress-relief.
As for remembering, you will generally remember everything from your session, even if the memory has a dream-like quality to it. In most situations, you are not asleep or unconscious; you are alert and aware of everything being said. That said, it is not uncommon for a person's mind to wander or even for someone to get so relaxed they fall asleep, so there may be some things you don't hear your hypnotist say to you even though your subconscious is still listening.
There is also something called hypnotic amnesia or post-hypnotic amnesia, which is when suggestions are given during hypnosis to forget certain things from before or during hypnosis. This is not generally used to treat most issues, though there is a therapeutic purpose for it in some specific situations, such as having the client forget unhealthy thoughts or memories that are causing significant anxiety or emotional pain.
Does hypnosis actually work?
A common impression of hypnotism is that it is woo woo, hippie dippie, new age mumbo jumbo. The reality is that it is an extremely effective therapy that is gaining traction in the medical, psychological, and scientific communities. We won't get into the evidence here, but will encourage you to do a bit of research if you want to see some of the studies that have been conducted that prove hypnosis has a well-deserved place along side other healing modalities.
Many of the people who report hypnosis didn't work for them simply didn't give it a chance. If a person goes into hypnosis with the mindset that it isn't going to work and is resisting the suggestions provided by the hypnotist, it likely will not work. Also, many people think they can just show up for one session and be magically cured with the snap of a finger. Hypnosis is helping to reverse thoughts, perceptions, and behaviours that have often developed for years, so for most issues one session usually is not going to cut it. There is also important post-session work on oneself that requires active participation, so if a person just walks out of a session and does nothing, change is unlikely to happen.
AFTER YOUR SESSION
~You will feel calm, alert, and refreshed.
~You will remember everything you need to from the session.
~Your hypnotherapist will provide you with guidance on practicing self-hypnosis to aid and strengthen the suggestions used during your session.
~You may be given other exercises to work on to assist with your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual development. The more you look at this as an opportunity for healing, growth, and positive changes in your life, and the more you actively participate in the process, the more successful you will be.
~You are encouraged to practice self-care after a session. Take it easy, take time to process everything you experienced during your session, relax, drink lots of water, and do things that make you feel calm and happy.
Please remember that hypnosis is not a magic cure. You are trying to change beliefs and behaviours that may have taken years to develop, and these will not miraculously disappear overnight. It is a process that involves time and commitment on your part to make the changes happen. Do not be discouraged if you fall back onto bad habits or negative thought patterns after a session, especially if you have only had one or two sessions so far. Be gentle with yourself and appreciate the positive changes you are seeing (no matter how small), give yourself credit for the efforts you are putting in to change your life for the better, and focus on the steps forward rather than feeling discouraged by set-backs. Change will happen if you are committed.