Covid – 19 has seen people unable to get Hypnotherapy face to face. So many current and interested clients asked me if online hypnotherapy was as effective as individual face to face appointments?
Over the years I have been developing an online presence so it isn’t really a problem to be completely online at time of writing. It used to be in the UK that someone needed my specialist services and were out of the area in other parts of the UK I could still work with them if they could not get to me. I began working with clients in USA, Spain, Italy and many other countries.
I soon discovered that we would talk as normal and then as they had headphones on and had their eyes closed they were they were in any case listening to me and I could see them so I could see when they had processed some exercise.
So n other words there is little difference and it works as well! So have a free chat on 07875720623 or via Skype grahamhowes1. I can reach you via any visual platform you like WhatsApp, FaceTime Skype or Zoom.
I have people who come to see me that say: ‘I can’t be hypnotised!’
So why come to see a hypnotherapist using hypnosis?
I think because they don’t really believe that but fear I will have them doing the “funky chicken” and they won’t remember.
Or maybe they feel that if I can make people do that, in spite of themselves, I can also perform a miracle cure.
In short there is no miracle cure and I can’t make you do something you wouldn’t want to do and would not want to. It takes work and we do the work.
Hypnotic trance is something we ALL do during our day.
We learn to walk, drive, play sports UNCONSCIOUSLY.
We also get lost in a task, forget a familiar destination as we drive by it, or lose ourselves in a sports programme or film – all examples of trance.
Sometimes people are so afraid of being out of control they don’t allow themselves to relax enough to be hypnotised. … Someone on drugs, someone with a severe mental disorder and on psychiatric medications that alter the mind are examples of the few that may not be susceptible to being hypnotised.
Hypnosis is a trance state, otherwise referred to as a focused state, state of relaxation or altered state of mind. More often than not, we need to be de-hypnotized!
People seem to freak out because of the word ‘trance’, or ‘altered state’ but It’s not what you think. It’s not the zombie apocalypse or the twilight zone. It’s as natural as breathing.
An altered state of mind in hypnosis is one that allows access to the resources of your subconscious mind.
Your unconscious mind drives 95% of your daily behaviour.
The mind that stores your automatic responses, limiting beliefs, negative programming and learned patterns of behavior.
For the adopted person (my area of expertise), their life begins with a loss which mimics a brain injury. That gets stored in their nervous system and explains why they often have abandonment and or attachment and rejection fears.
These are unconscious memories that the adopted person will act upon and not know why. What often happens is, they then get into trouble for acting out which consequently reinforces their unconscious belief.
The adopted child enters this world taking on a great deal of trauma.
Being in a state of hypnosis until 7 years old, everything they experience is interpreted through the lens of that trauma.
This applies to you, too. Everything that you experience is what will form your view of reality as you grow.
The only difference is the adoptee has that added layer of complexity.
You are in waking hypnosis when you are doing daily activities such as:
driving and getting to your destination; remembering how you got there
engrossed in a television show with no awareness of what’s going on around you
lost reading a book
listening to music that has you mesmerized
Choosing to get hypnotised then is more about control or fear issue.
Hypnosis happens to us all day every day, much like breathing but when we bring our awareness to it, for some, it appears impossible to achieve. Similar to test anxiety. You know your material yet the thoughts of the written exam seem to shut you down.
Sometimes people are so afraid of being out of control, or being controlled, they don’t allow themselves to relax enough to be hypnotised. Part of that is because of past influences such as television that exploited hypnotists to look like charlatans.
Some expect stage hypnosis where they seem to be doing things beyond their control – this is a different and the topic for another blog. Rest assured therapeutic hypnotherapy is NOT that.
It is about us working together and putting all your natural knowledge to work and taking on new perceptions. The unconscious part of you runs the show and it is an excellent learning machine – if you can learn to drive a car or ride a bike then you can easily learn new and different beneficial changes. You realise you are in control WITH hypnosis!
Someone on drugs, someone with a severe mental disorder and on psychiatric medications that alter the mind are examples of the few that may not be susceptible to being hypnotised.
Actually, You CAN Go Into Hypnosis
1. You hypnotise yourself with every repeated thought you think.
Whatever you say to yourself repeatedly is a suggestion that your brain takes as a command. That’s a form of hypnosis. Any habit is learned and is generally a reaction that initially had a positive intention. However this can lead to habitually smoking, using drugs, overeating or reacting anxiously in certain trigger situations or feel depressed.
2. What you expect isn’t what you get.
Hypnosis escapes many people. They expect the experience to be different than it actually is – so they assume it didn’t work for them. If you are expecting to be actually unconscious or away with the fairies then you are doomed to disappointment.
Actually when we are working together most of the time you are well aware of what is happening – but when you trust the process you will fell happily to drift deep and dream your solutions. It’s actually a really pleasurable state.
It is an easy state to achieve and it’s natural which means it’s simply a different focus of attention. In hypnosis, you hear and understand everything but because the expectation is an experience of ‘woo woo’ you think nothing happened.
3. You might be trying too hard.
Hypnosis is natural, – realise if you try too hard, it becomes unattainable. You can’t pull a blade of grass to make it grow faster and equally, you can’t force yourself into hypnosis. Or observe yourself in hypnosis in a conscious state. It’s natural to use trance when concentrating or when you are manifesting an habitual response.
Give yourself permission to relax and stop telling yourself stories. Stories are suggestions that the mind has accepted as reality and in order to have the stories, you have to be in trance.
So if you want to make a change and work with a caring hypnotherapist we can sow the seed to make that change, lose that habit, and master that addiction or deal with that trauma.
Here is a simplified account of a real stop smoking hypnotherapy client.
The clients issue was that he had managed to stop smoking in most situations except one: when the doorbell or phone rang he would reach for a cigarette!
Firstly we established what we call a “pattern interrupt” so that if the doorbell or phone rang he would do the prescribed behaviour instead to retrain the brain to not automatically stimulate a craving to smoke.
Secondly we needed to address why it was happening:
I regressed him under hypnosis to see where this first occurred.
Turns out that a friend was due to visit him and when the doorbell rang it was a policeman who told him his friend had been killed in a road accident on his way to see him. They had discovered his destination so came to tell him.
His go to response in times of stress was to have a cigarette so he lit up. Thereafter every time a doorbell and by extension a phone rang he assumed it would be bad news and reached for a cigarette.
We imagined some scenarios where the doorbell rang and it was the package he had ordered or the phone ringing and his aunt in Australia offering an all expenses trip to see her.
In other words we taught his subconscious that a bell ringing of any kind was most likely to be positive or at least reasonable and not catastrophic.
I also treated the anxiety that had been revealed and ensured that he could achieve his goal of stopping smoking.
This highly simplified account shows how I work WITH my client using techniques that are acceptable to his subconscious which enables him to stop smoking but also deals with a potentially life eroding anxious or even depressed mindset.
Graham Howes Advanced Hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner in Ipswich Suffolk
It can seem daunting choosing a hypnotherapist when you know nothing about hypnotherapy. It can seem expensive and how do you know it will work?
Here are five ways to choose your hypnotherapist:
1: Will your hypnotherapist work with you?
The best way to know this is to take the free consultation that most hypnotherapists offer:
Do they appear to understand your issue and does what they propose seem viable?
Are they talking about a solution tailored for your specific needs or do you get the impression they will offer some generic approach?
Asking their “success rate” won’t really help. No hypnotherapist in business long term should have a low success rate! The bulk of our business comes from referrals from satisfied clients.
2: I wrote this blog in response to an enquiry about smoking cessation which began with: “I paid £250 for a single session and three days later started smoking again.”
This session was not with me – personally I charge £180 for three sessions to ensure that we don’t just put you off.
I work with people to find out why they suck 4000 poisons into their body and help them find strategies to stop.
If the approach is tailored to your perceived needs around smoking then you will stop.
The main reason why hypnotherapy fails with smoking cessation is that the client isn’t really ready to stop!
So you need to be motivated beyond your partner/doctor is asking you to stop.
The reason the enquirer had failed to stop was because she was genuinely not ready to stop. The second reason was that she had had a single session.
80% WILL quit in the first session or dramatically reduce their smoking.
If that session misses the reasons why they smoke then if that trigger happens again it is likely they will weaken and smoke.
You need strategies to tackle those triggers.
This is why a course works better – even if you stop straight away.
If you are highly motivated to tackle ANY issue then an experienced hypnotherapist will craft a hypnotherapy session that will either work for you or narrow the focus to find the real reasons for the issue.
The reasons for a session failing are generally:
Lack of motivation.
Expecting the hypnotherapist to perform some miracle and the client does not do any work themselves.
The hypnotherapist has missed the real reason that the issue. Perhaps unconscious gains for continuing the behaviour outweigh the perceived benefits!
3: What is the approach likely to be?
Personally speaking I won’t know until I talk to a person face to face, by phone or Skype. There is no one size fits all. Each client requires a different approach.
Take weight loss for instance:
We have known since 1917 that diets don’t work long term because nobody wants to be on a diet forever and the moment they go back to their old way if eating is the moment the weight loss fails.
I need to understand why the person overeats?
We need to tackle the drivers which may include:
Stress – eating seems to relieve stress but it’s better to have a strategy for stressBoredom – people who graze on food when bored
Anxiety – you eat to tackle your anxiety and for a while you feel better and your metabolism receives a boost but after that wears off you feel a need to repeat.
Trauma – some people overeat to deliberately ‘appear less attractive’ as self defence
Depression – self medicating with food or alcohol seems to help – ling term it really doesn’t and some foods actually INCREASE your feelings of low mood
This is a small selection and combinations of the above plus other factors.
We can only find out by working together and also discovering the sources, in some cases, that established the habitual eating.
A business consultant once told me that with my experience I should immediately double my fee. I had worked in Harley street where a chunk of the fee went to cover rent, parking, and travel!
This meant that I often ended working with people who could afford these fees, which excluded many people, or people paying fees they couldn’t afford.
My fees I believe are fair and are in the middle of the market. There are far less experienced people who charge much more than I do!
It is also odd that people will consider £60 (for instance) as expensive when they will spend that much at a hairdressers for something that will make them feel better but won’t last instead of to a hypnotherapist who may change their life ..
People will also spend a lot a gym for their physical health while not being prepared to spend on their mental health.
It’s a fact that 1 in 3 of us will need help with mental health issues.
Yet many will soldier on when there is a remedy available.
Your time with your hypnotherapist is not the only time spent working in your issue. Personally I will spend an hour or more preparing your session based on our long initial conversation.
I will record your treatment live and then edit and clean it up before sending it to you.
You then have your treatment forever and can always come back to it at any time you feel that you are ‘slipping.’
Cost factors in the time you don’t see as well as the time spent face to face.
Again personally speaking a session can last from 1 to 2 hours depending on the time required. As well as the behind the scenes time
5: Do I feel my hypnotherapist is qualified to deal with my issues?
Does my hypnotherapist seem to care about me and my issue and have a treatment plan that seems realistic?
Does it feel right?
Do I like and trust them?
Do they have the relevant qualifications and experience?
A hypnotherapist should be a member of a hypnotherapy register such as the GHR (General Hypnotherapy Register) and will be regulated by the GHSC (General Hypnotherapy Standards Council).
They will undergo CPD (Continuing Professional Development) each year to keep skills up to the mark.
A good hypnotherapist will know some history of hypnosis and will understand why they do what they do and how it works.
Not every issue that comes to a hypnotherapist is one that they can deal with!
There are a bewildering number of mental health issues. Some we are legally obliged NOT to treat such as epilepsy and schizophrenia.
Some we may not have the relevant experience or training to approach. A good hypnotherapist will refer you to a relevant specialist.
Hope this helps! Bottom line: talk to your hypnotherapist and meet them!
Graham Howes Advanced Hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner. Certified Weight Loss Professional. Trained in PTSD and Psychological Trauma. PLR FLR and Regression therapist.
CNHC approved (Gold standard of complementary practitioners)
Gastric Band Hypnosis – Everything you ever wanted to know
Gastric band hypnosis is a hypnosis treatment for weight loss. This treatment is sometimes also referred to as ‘hypno gastric band’, ‘virtual gastric band’, mind band, or ‘gastric band surgery hypnosis’. It is a branch of weight loss hypnotherapy that was initially just aimed at clients with obesity issues.
It turns out that it is effective across the board if you want to slim without yet another slimming approach that only works short term.
We have known since 1917 that diets usually fail – that is because it is difficult to stick to a diet regime and gimmicky approaches get boring.
You are probably here because you want to lose some weight and are weighing up your options.
You might also have tried everything else and are looking for a radically different approach.
I have written this blog about the hypnotic gastric band for you so that you can find out what this treatment involves and decide it may be for you.
What is Gastric Band Hypnotherapy?
Gastric band hypnotherapy is a powerful hypnotic suggestion program that convinces your unconscious mind that your stomach is already full, although, in reality, the portion size was smaller than usual.
It teaches the mind to recognise “feeling full” again.
It mimics Bariatric surgery without having to have real surgery,
The hypno gastric band is a natural alternative to expensive surgery which, like all medical interventions, comes with risks to life as well as potential benefits.
Real weight loss surgery could cost up to £10,000 to you or to the NHS.
I have seen real gastric band patients who had bariatric surgery but didn’t tackle why they overeat – so were desperately trying to cheat the system.
Who is suited to Hypno Gastric Band Hypnotherapy ?
Have a look below and complete a list of twenty questions that will help you establish whether your weight loss issues fall into the bracket of conscious eating issues, or whether you might be an emotional eater.
What to expect if you Lose Weight by Hypnosis
Generally speaking, people for whom weight loss hypnosis is suitable, fall into two categories:
The first group are people who want to lose up to around stone in weight whose weight issues simply come down to a lack of conscious eating.
The second group are people who come with a bigger weight issue that may have been going on for many years and is underpinned by emotional eating issues.
Below you will find two sets of questions that can help you identify where you fall on the spectrum.
Finding out where you fit in is important because that will determine what your weight loss hypnosis treatment should focus on and how it should be structured.
Those who overeat because of a lack of conscious eating would typically answer ‘no’ to the majority of the following set of conscious eating questions, and ‘no’ to the majority of the set of emotional eating questions below.
Those with emotional eating issues would typically answer ‘no’ to the majority of the conscious eating questions, and ‘yes’ to the majority of the emotional eating questions below.
Both groups can lose weight by hypnosis.
See below which group you belong to.
If you are an emotional eater and concerned about your weight gain, you can lose weight by hypnosis.
Emotional Eating Questions:
Do you ever feel you are eating to meet emotional needs?
For example, do you ever overeat or eat the wrong type of foods because you feel bad and hope they will make you feel better?
Or, do you find yourself suppressing negative emotions such as anger, fear or sadness by eating?
Or, do you ever find yourself eating out of boredom or loneliness?
Do you feel you picked up bad eating habits in childhood?
Do you have difficulties being happy with your body?
Do you ever find it hard to stop eating once you start?
Do you ever compulsively eat sweets, sweet foods or deep fried foods?
Do you ever miss your body’s signals as to when you are full?
Do you sometimes feel powerless over your eating habits?
The more of these questions you answered with ‘yes’, the more you are on the emotional eating side of the spectrum. Find out below what that means.
Conscious Eating Questions:
Do you pay attention to the correct portion size for you?
Do you eat slowly?
Do you consciously taste the different foods you eat and pay attention to enjoying every bite?
Do you always stop eating when you are full?
Do you consciously think about your body’s nutritional requirements?
Do you consciously refrain from using food as a reward?
Do you have good mechanisms in place to deal with food cravings?
Do you feel you are overweight?
Do you weigh yourself regularly or worry about your weight?
Do you get regular exercise?
The more questions you answered with ‘no’, the more you may benefit from weight loss through hypnosis.
Weight Loss is a Complex Issue
From these two sets of questions you can begin to appreciate that weight loss hypnosis views issues with excess weight as a complex issue that involves the mind and emotions as much as the body.
We start developing our relationship with food during infancy where we learn how hunger feels in the body, how to ask (cry) for food, how to ingest food (fast or slow), how to sense when we have enough, and feel satisfied after a meal.
As our relationship with food develops throughout childhood, we often pick up bad habits from parents and carers. One such bad habit, which often features in weight loss hypnosis is the habit to get emotional needs met through ingesting food. Bad habits can become deeply ingrained and can be hard to shake. The inner toddler stamps their foot and demands to be fed!
Weight loss hypnotists, in designing a treatment protocol, will want to have a detailed consultation with you to evaluate where you fall on this spectrum and what your particular needs are. The design of your program will be based on this consultation.
If you veer towards the conscious eating side of the spectrum your practitioner will recommend working with suggestion hypnotherapy to help your unconscious mind get on top of cravings, motivation for exercise, starting to eat slowly and really listening to your body’s signals. The idea would also be to understand WHY you overeat.
If you veer towards the emotional eating side of the spectrum, as well as the above issues, your practitioner will likely recommend some work utilising regression hypnosis, where present day issues are resolved by revisiting the source experience and dealing with the associated emotions that might be driving cravings or using food as a tranquilliser.
Many different kinds of past experiences can underlie becoming overweight. Some examples for what the source experience may look like which resulted in finding consolation in foods:
If you did not feel loved when growing up
Being or feeling neglected or abandoned as a young child
If you felt you didn’t really matter growing up
If you persistently felt not enough when growing up
If there was a shock in your childhood such as the sudden loss of a parent or carer
Parents or carers modelling emotional eating
Parents or carers modelling perpetual dieting
Clear your plate!
Dealing with anxiety boredom or stress with self medicating with food
Using hypnotic regression your weight loss hypnotist will help you revisit source experiences in an easy and very doable way so you do not become overwhelmed. They will help you make sense of those experiences, re-interpret them from an adult’s perspective and feel the associated emotions in hypnosis where they are bearable so that you can let them go, learn from them if necessary, and move on with your life.
Could YOU lose weight by hypnosis?
Graham Howes Certified Weight Loss Professional in person in Ipswich Suffolk or by Skype around the world
How Many Sessions Will You Need When You Lose Weight by Hypnosis?
It’s important for you to understand from the start that weight loss is a complex issue which does not resolve overnight.
As a rule of thumb, the more you veer towards the emotional eating side of the spectrum, the more long term you can expect the work to be.
On the plus side, hypnotherapy does not involve the same regular expenditure that you would have to plan for typically weekly psychotherapy sessions.
Typically, your practitioner will suggest regular sessions. They may be spaced weekly.Initial sessions may be longer.
Later sessions will be shorter as they may be focused on maintenance.
Depending on how much weight you want to lose, plan hypnosis into your life for at least a few months, and for up to two years.
Remember, the approach is to lose weight gradually and naturally, at your own pace. Give your mind and body time to adjust at every step.
What About the Cost?
Yes, hypnosis can be more costly than other weight loss programs. I charge £260 for a four part course with a fifth session available if you are slipping. The upside is that you are less likely to yoyo diet and have to go on yet another diet with this approach as this is NOT a gimmicky dieting approach.
Generally speaking, I would suggest that gastric band hypnosis is an ideal part of a hypnosis weight loss program for someone who:
Has more than just a few pounds to lose eg BMI over 28
Identifies as being on the emotional eating side of the spectrum
Is considered obese
Gastric band hypnosis is the ‘Rolls Royce’ approach in the portfolio of a weight loss hypnotist. It gives the weight loss program the edge
Having said all that, there is nothing that precludes someone with a conscious eating issue to include the powerful hypno gastric band in their weight loss program.
If you feel drawn to gastric band hypnosis, it may be just the thing for you.
What Does the Gastric Band Hypnosis Treatment Involve?
Like any other hypnosis program, gastric band hypnosis starts with deep mental and physical relaxation protocol that aims to get you as relaxed as possible – all clients enjoy this!
Once you are deeply relaxed, the hypnotist uses a powerful suggestion based approach. This is based around agreed strategies with the client – so it comes from you and is allied to extensive experience. I have for instance been offering this approach since 2010.
In session one we put in place strategies to handle the drivers for overeating and motivate weight management
Session two is often about making adjustments and establishing mindfully eating and carefully shopping.
Session three is the regression session where we regress to cause but also help you dump all the emotional baggage that might be blocking you in Life
Session four is the Hypno Gastric Band “operation” where we pretend to your unconscious mind that you are undergoing laproscopic gastric banding surgery.
This lap band surgery places a gastric band around the upper part of the stomach creating a pouch and establishes a level of stricture that curbs the appetite.When the food hits the obstruction it sends a signal to the hypothalamus to stop eating. The food then passes normally through the band and is digested as normal.
The basic underlying concept here is that the subconscious mind does not know the difference between reality and imagination. If you can convince your unconscious mind that you can do something, then your unconscious mind will deliver success.
To convince your unconscious mind, your hypnotist may even use smells and sounds you would associate with a hospital setting.
This will be combined with implanting powerful post hypnotic suggestions to the effect that, from now on, your stomach will only be able to eat small portions.
Often you have a session in reserve if there are any changes in your life that upset our work.
Find out all you want to know about gastric band hypnosis.
Firstly, gastric band hypnosis used on its own in a once off session may not be enough to help you overcome your weight issue.
It is best used as part of a comprehensive weight loss hypnosis program which addresses all aspects of your weight issue in a way that’s tailor-made for you as an individual.
Secondly, you mustn’t take the idea of the gastric band completely literally.
What do I mean by that?
The virtual gastric lap band surgery will be performed in a hypnotic trance state so that the suggestions will sink into your unconscious mind.
If they sink in even just a small bit, your unconscious mind helps you lose weight by directing you towards eating much smaller portions. Maybe half of what you usually eat. Which means you will lose weight.
Do not expect that your conscious mind will be convinced that you have actually undergone surgery. It won’t be. It doesn’t have to be. That is not what matters in the process.
Instead, you’ll change your mind set and expectations to look at the virtual gastric band as a tool, as a means to an end.
What matters are the effects of the treatment on the unconscious mind and the changes you make to your diet post treatment.
When you adopt this pragmatic mind set, you are better equipped to get the best out of your treatment because you won’t get side tracked by your mind’s inbuilt censors ‘evaluating’ how realistic the session was for you.
What Clients say About Gastric Band Hypnosis
“At sixty, my doctor told me I needed a heart bypass. He urged me to lose weight starting from before the surgery date. That was easier said than done. I had been overweight for most of my adult life. I’m a ‘foodie’. I enjoy cooking and trying out new recipes. I enjoy inviting friends over for dinner. What to do?
A friend told me about weight loss hypnosis and I decided to give it a try. I was full of doubt whether it would do anything, and I didn’t notice much initially.
The gastric band session made all the difference. It was after that I started finding my way. I continued to eat what I enjoy, but I started eating smaller portions, and I started- for the first time in my life- to really chew my food, to take my time and enjoy every bite.
The first week after the gastric band hypnosis I lost four pounds and I continued losing weight from then on. I now maintain my weight and don’t need maintenance sessions.”
“After I had children, I became an emotional eater, always grazing, especially in the evenings after the children were in bed. There was an emptiness inside me and I was trying to fill it. I put on a lot of weight over the years. I tried various weight loss programs and I would lose weight, but it never lasted long. Eventually I tried hypnosis. I lost five stone after the virtual hypno gastric band.
Gastric Band Hypnosis as Part of a Weight Loss Hypnosis Program
Suggestion work which addresses conscious eating issues
Suggestion work that dresses emotional eating issues
Suggestion work with the virtual gastric band
Regression work clearing up how past issues (typically early childhood experiences) have impacted the relationship with food
Coaching work focused on integrating changes and establishing new habits
This work will be spread out over an extended period of time, which allows sufficient time for both body and mind to adjust to the changes made. Regular weekly sessions are ideal. They allow for regular top-ups while also spreading out the cost of the treatment over a longer period of time.
Is Gastric Band Hypnosis for you?
For gastric band hypnosis to work for you, importantly, you’ll have to like working with hypnosis as a method.
There are a number of blogs I’ve written that can help you gain a clear picture of what hypnotherapy treatments are like and how you might benefit.
Graham Howes Advanced Hypnotherapist and NLP Practitioner and Hypno Gastric Band Hypnosis Certified Weight Loss Professional Ipswich Suffolk
In our very stressful world we sometimes self medicate with food, or comfort eat, when we are stressed, bored, or anxious – we sometimes get “food addiction.”
The short term snack which is often very high in fat sugar or salt which gives us a feeling of comfort.
This comfort rapidly wears off so we can feel the need to repeat the comfortable experience. Before we know it the family sized chocolate bar / crisps / cake / ice cream are eaten. Then we feel guilty: “WHY did I do that!?”
We know full well that foods high in fat sugar and salt can be incredibly harmful and could lead to heart trouble, type 2 diabetes, cancer, osteoarthritis and back pain as we put the system under strain. You only have to think of carrying even a few stone of fat in rucksacks worn front and back for a few hours of activity like walking up stairs or even running and you get the picture of where obesity can really harm us. I am only scratching the surface but don’t need to labour the point!
A diet won’t address the underlying issues of why you overeat binge pick and nibble or comfort eat. So when you fail or give up and go back to the “normal” eating which includes sugary faty salty snacks the wight comes back and then some!
Many studies have demonstrated this since the first known study in 1917 exposed the problems with dieting.
Really you have to deal with WHY you are overeating.
Then you need to put simple weight management strategies in place and stop obsessing about small amounts of pounds gained or lost or calories or sins.
All of this leads to a bad relationship with food and we need to establish a good relationship, get some form of exercise that you might enjoy, eat well, good food, decrease portion size AND feel full.
Address boredom, anxiety and stress with strategies.
In other words it is easy and doesn’t need elaborate gimmick diets!
Add in the HypnoGastricBand which makes you feel fuller sooner and we have developed an approach together that can be permanent in helping you Manage your Weight AND Your Life better.
Client case studies:
I had one client with a badly organised boss who would seemingly pop his head around the door every 30 minutes or so with a: “This needs to be done NOW!!!” The trouble was there were already about 5 things with “absolute priority.” My client had her secret weapon – her Curly Wurly drawer and she would reach for her favourite sweet to “give her energy” and “get her through.”
She was now almost 30 stone.
We worked on how to deal with the stress. I half jokingly suggested she send her boss fo a session on prioritising. We looked at how to NOT use a sugary fatty chocolate snack as self medication. We dealt with underlying anxiety. I persuaded her to have an honest conversation with her boss.
We realised that otherwise she was on track for possible type 2 diabetes as well as possible osteoarthritis and cardiac problems. The RDA fo sugar is six teaspoons per DAY. Her Curly Wurly had NINE teaspoons of sugar in just one bar!
Another client was “addicted” to jelly babies and we tried to find the source of this “addiction”. Actually it was a similar habitual response to the above. We uncovered through hypnosis a long forgotten incident when her parents were gong through a tough time and she picked up on their anxiety aged 8 and got very anxious and weepy.
She recalled her Mother leaning over her in a red gingham frock. She was 8 years old and sitting in the garden in the sun. Her Mother gave her a huge bag of jelly babies and said: ” Never mind darling .. you eat these jelly babies any time you feel anxious and you’ll feel a whole lot better!”
I suggested that she was no longer 8 years old and didn’t need to make that choice now. I also gave her some practical suggestions to streamline her Barrister’s practice.
She got back to me a year later saying:
“I have FINALLY reached target weight and size. But that is almost a side issue now, as my business is flourishing, and I feel a great deal happier. Clients are using my services more because they know that I get things done.
Clients names protected under client confidentiality requirement
So are you really food addicted?
Food addiction is really just a bad habit that seems to address a perceived problem such as stress boredom of anxiety, to name but three. However we can learn to ignore the blandishments of two for one,
We can learn strategies that deal with the anxiety stress or boredom that don’t involve compulsively eating (and/or drinking) to excess.
We are not addicts – it has simply been a coping habitual strategy.
If you were truly an addict you would wake up in the middle of the night with an acute craving. That happens very rarely!
We can do better with our eating and lose the weight and feel happier.
Graham Howes Advanced Hypnotherapist NLP and Certified Weight Loss Specialist – Certified Hypno Gastric Band Practitioner since 2010.
GHR registered GHSC Regulated
Appointments in Ipswich Suffolk, Home visits in Essex. Skype or FaceTime Worldwide and Nationwide.
Treatment for Erectile Dysfunction ED and Anorgasmia and Sexual difficulties
Erectile Dysfunction or ED
Erectile Dysfunction is the inability to achieve, or alternatively to maintain, an erection.
This is sometimes linked with the inability to orgasm called Anorgasmia.
Sometimes this is because of physiological reasons such as too much alcohol so called “Brewers droop”. As Falstaff in Shakespeare says: “It provokes the desire but takes away the performance!”
Medication, drug use, smoking, heart disease, diabetes or surgery can also affect the ability to achieve or maintain an erection or achieve orgasm.
Those are the physical reasons.
Then there are the psychological issues which are just as powerful:
Psychological causes of Erectile Dysfunction or Anorgasmia
Many psychological factors play a role in the ability to orgasm – including:
Mental health problems, typically Anxiety or Depression.
One in three of us have Mental Health issues at some time in our Life. Many people pay more attention to their physical health and nutrition than they do to their mental health. Mental wellness is just as important as physical wellbeing. Learning to be mindful helps you deal with stress, anxiety depression. The self medication associated with mental distress or discomfort often leads to weight gain or using drugs or smoking or abuse of alcohol which can lead to knock on effects such as ED. Smoking has been shown to be a contributory factor in erectile dysfunction. Drugs and alcohol have been long known to affect performance.
Hypnosis and NLP combined can help deal with the source of the problem and the cravings and habits that evolve to cope with the issue.
Poor body image / obesity
Weight issues have a physical effect on the body. Eating junk food can lead to depression and anxiety. There are known issues with too much fat, for instance, impacting the ability of the blood to adequately supply the organs including the penis.
Body Dysmorphia Dysfunction (BDD) or poor body image can lead to a lack of confidence in our appearance and a reluctance to be naked wit another person.
Stress and financial pressures
Stress and financial pressures leads to worry and anxiety which impacts the ability to be sexually confident.
Cultural and religious beliefs
A Doctor friend dealing with a couple’s inability to achieve pregnancy noticed bruising around their belly buttons. Both were as it turned out still virgins because they had been told that babies were made by “rubbing belly buttons together.”
This may seem beyond belief but some people still come from sheltered backgrounds.
Some Beliefs can impact what is considered “normal.” For example: The notion that sex is ONLY for procreation could lead to a sense of guilt.
Fear of pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections
There is a lot of legitimate concern about unprotected sex leading to an STI or pregnancy even in monogamous relationships. Using condoms can lead to a decrease in sensitivity possibly leading to a loss of erection. These factors too can impact sex life.
Shyness of lack of confidence can lead to embarrassment – so for instance a demand that the light be turned off prior to making love. This removes one aspect of sexual enjoyment because sex is partly visual as well as physical and aural.
Guilt about enjoying sex – a couple I treated had been “caught” when a very young couple and feared getting caught again – so sex had become a rushed and furtive affair.
Past sexual or emotional abuse or Psychological trauma
Sexual abuse, Physical and Domestic abuse, or trauma, even PTSD, can affect negatively an individual’s ability to trust and give themselves over to making love.
Unresolved issues such as lack of trust or fundamental disagreements will affect such an intimate time.
Many couples who have problems outside of the bedroom also experience problems in the bedroom.
All encompassing issues might include:
Lack of connection with your partner
Poor communication of sexual needs and preferences
Infidelity or breach of trust
Intimate partner violence
Relationship Boredom – getting stuck in a ritual of a procedure of making love instead of being in the moment and aiming to pleasure the other partner. Perhaps over the long term love making has become stale,
Anorgasmia affects both Men and Women – despite adequate sexual stimulation the person is unable to achieve orgasm / a climax. 10% of men might be affected but the majority are Women who may have NEVER had an orgasm or find it difficult to achieve one.
What is an orgasm?
An orgasm is a feeling of intense physical and mental pleasure and release of tension, accompanied by involuntary, rhythmic contractions of the pelvic floor muscles. But it doesn’t always look — or sound — like it does in the films. The earth shaking orgasm is not as common as the magazines or media would have us think!
However a really satisfactory love life can be achieved with training or dealing with the issues with a trained Hypnotherapist using hypnosis and NLP.
What is Anorgasmia?
Anorgasmia is the medical term for regular difficulty reaching orgasm after ample sexual stimulation, causing you personal distress. Anorgasmia is a common occurrence, affecting a significant number of women but also men.
Orgasms vary in intensity, and women vary in the frequency of orgasms and the amount of stimulation required to trigger an orgasm. Actually, most women don’t consistently have orgasms with vaginal penetration alone. Foreplay and sexual stimulation outside of penetration are often required. Orgasms can often change with age, medical issues or medications you’re taking.
What can I do?
If you’re happy with the climax of your sexual activities, there’s little need for concern.
However, if you’re bothered by either the complete lack of orgasm, or the intensity of your orgasms, initially talk to your doctor about the physical effects on Anorgasmia or Erectile Dysfunction.
I can help with the psychological dimension. A high percentage of the time it is largely psychological but you should ensure with a medical professional that there isn’t an underlying physical problem.
I will work with you in a complementary way to the Medical Professional, to resolve the psychological challenges.
Lifestyle changes and Hypnotherapy can help with ED and Anorgasmia.
30% of the population suffer from ED or Anorgasmia at some time.
70% of men suffer ED at some point in life.
Statistics vary on the extent of the problem of anorgasmia in men, but approximately 10 percent of men report problems with orgasms. 70% will suffer ED at some point in life connected with psychological issues or physiological ones.
For some men, the disorder presents itself in terms of an inability to reach climax only during sexual intercourse. They may find that when masturbating they can still achieve orgasm. In such cases, it is often possible for orgasm to be reached, but only after prolonged and intense non-intercourse stimulation.
Primary anorgasmia is the term used for men who have never experienced an orgasm, while secondary anorgasmia identifies men who have experienced an orgasm in the past but are now unable to reach orgasm.
It is estimated that around 90 percent of anorgasmia problems are related to psychological issues. Surveys point to performance anxiety as the number one psychological problem.
Performance anxiety in this context is not necessarily related to “staying power,” or duration of intercourse, but may relate more to attempts to “will” a state of sexual arousal, which in turn leads to a cycle of increasing anxiety. A man may be able to achieve an erect penis but be unable to sustain the erection. Sexual activity with a partner can take on a sense of being a chore, which increases guilt and distress.
Other psychological problems, such as stress, anxiety, depression, or lack of confidence, can be helped with a hypnotherapist. Other causes may be rooted in the development of negative attitudes towards sex, sometimes from childhood. There is also a relationship between anorgasmia and childhood and adult sexual abuse or rape. Again Hypnosis and NLP can help with that.
Marital strife and boredom within a relationship coupled with a perception of a monotonous sex life are also known psychological contributory factors.
The way an orgasm feels varies from woman to woman, and and in an individual woman, it even differs from orgasm to orgasm.
The major symptoms of anorgasmia are inability to experience orgasm or long delays in reaching orgasm. But there are different types of anorgasmia:
Lifelong anorgasmia. This means you’ve never experienced an orgasm.
Acquired anorgasmia: You used to have orgasms, but now experience difficulty reaching climax.
Situational anorgasmia: You are able to orgasm only during certain circumstances, such as during oral sex or with a certain partner. You may only reach orgasm through masturbation. Most women actually can’t reach orgasm through vaginal penetration alone – so physical stimulation of the clitoris is also necessary.
Generalised anorgasmia: You aren’t able to orgasm in any situation or with any partner.
Despite what you see in the media, orgasm is no simple, sure thing. This pleasurable peak is actually a complex reaction to many physical, emotional and psychological factors. If you’re experiencing trouble in any of these areas, it often affects your ability to orgasm. If you aren’t emotionally committed to a person and in a relationship the orgasm will have a different quality.
Physical causes of anorgasmia
A wide range of illnesses, physical changes and medications can interfere with orgasm:
Medical diseases. Any illness can affect this part of the human sexual response cycle, including diabetes and neurological diseases, such as multiple sclerosis.
Gynecological issues. Orgasm may be affected by gynecologic surgeries, such as hysterectomy or cancer surgeries. In addition, lack of orgasm often goes hand in hand with other sexual concerns, such as vaginal dryness in menopause, cystitis or uncomfortable or painful intercourse.
Medications. Many prescription and over-the-counter medications can interfere with orgasm, including blood pressure medications, antihistamines and antidepressants — particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
Alcohol and smoking. Too much alcohol can cramp your ability to climax; the same is true of smoking, which can limit blood flow.
The ageing process. As you age, normal changes in your anatomy, hormones, neurological system and circulatory system often affect your sexuality. A tapering of oestrogen levels during the transition to menopause can decrease blood flow to the vagina and clitoris, which can delay or stop orgasm entirely. Vaginal dryness can make intercourse painful.
If you’re experiencing difficulty reaching orgasm, it can be frustrating for you and your partner. Plus, concentrating on climax can make the problem worse.
Most couples aren’t experiencing the headboard-banging, earth-shaking sex that appears on TV and in the movies. So try to reframe your expectations. You could focus on mutual pleasure, from moment to moment, instead of making the orgasm the be all and end all. You may find that a sustained pleasure plateau is just as satisfying as orgasm.
How Hypnotherapy and NLP helps with ED and Anorgasmia:
We can look at your individual psychological and sexual issues and reframe them and help you reconnect with your sensual self.
If you have had a time in your life when you were enjoying a happy and successful sex life we can reconnect with that.
We can teach the unconscious those things it doesn’t know.
We can deal with underlying issues such as fear, depression, or anxiety, trauma or lack of confidence.
We can start to see ourselves as a sexual being again with the capability of gaining and sustain an erection and achieving climax.
We can practice Pelvic Floor Exercises – 6 second contractions with feet turned in to each other and then turned out. 6 repeats of that. Then hold a contraction for 20 seconds.
Perfect your technique. Tighten your pelvic floor muscles, hold the contraction for three seconds, and then relax for three seconds. Try it a few times in a row. When your muscles get stronger, try doing Kegel exercises while sitting, standing or walking.
Graham Howes Hypnotherapist for Sexual Dysfunction in Ipswich Suffolk
Anger Management with Advanced Hypnotherapy and NLP in Ipswich Suffolk
Anger is a normal, healthy emotion. It has a purpose. However, it could be a problem if you find it difficult to keep it under control. You can learn to control your anger, and you should: anger directed towards a job not done, or a promise broken, is understandable, sometimes anger will express truthfully how we are feeling – but it should never get out of control because it leads to bad or unintended consequences such as a loss of trust or even a relationship. Worst is when it is used as a means of control of others which is not only unfair but also can be the worst form of domination. Anger can be a useful way to blow off steam but should not lead to harm of others – unless in the rare event that we are actually under physical attack.
Dealing with your Anger
Everybody has a physical reaction to anger: But you should be aware of what your body is telling you, and take steps to calm yourself down, because it will generally lead to a better outcome.
Learn to recognise your anger signs
Your heart beats faster and you breathe more quickly, preparing you for action. This is based in the fight or flight mechanism. When we were Hunter Gatherers or Farmers many millennia ago we became hard wired to either fight an adversary or run away. We would pump adrenaline and lash out or run as fast as possible.
An angry response may also be rooted in past behaviour. If losing your temper got you out of trouble in the past, or you “got your way” as a child or teen, then it might have seemed like a successful strategy.
You could also notice other signs, such as tension in your shoulders or clenching your fists. If you notice these signs, then you need to get out of the situation if you have a history of losing control.
Count to 10 .. slow breathing down .. and learn how to anchor a calm state
Counting to 10 gives you time to cool down, so you can think more clearly and overcome the impulse to lash out. Anchoring calm enables you to slow down and think.
Breathe out for longer than you breathe in, and relax as you breathe out. You automatically breathe in more than out when you’re feeling angry, and the trick is to breathe out more than in. Anchor your calm state. This is something you can learn to do. This retrains you to be calmer. This will calm you down effectively, and help you think more clearly. Your adrenaline will stop pumping. You will learn that being calm gets better results.
If you lose your temper there will be many times when you do or say something you regret. It will often lead to unfortunate consequences: Relationships break down, trust is lost, at worst – you could end up in legal trouble.
Most people regret who they become when they are angry and may feel that they: “cannot help it.” However they can and should for their own sake and those around them – there is really no excuse for lashing out verbally or physically when there are better ways to handle the matter.
Managing anger long term
Once you can recognise that you’re getting angry, and can calm yourself down, you can start looking at ways to control your anger more generally.
Exercise helps with anger
Bring down your general stress levels with exercise and relaxation. Running, walking, swimming, yoga and meditation are just a few activities that can reduce stress. Exercise as part of your daily life is a good way to get rid of irritation and anger.
Practicing self hypnosis will help you train yourself to be mindful and calm and learn how to deal with the issue in the best way rather than the worst way – lashing out.
Looking after yourself may keep you calm
Make time to relax regularly, and ensure that you get enough sleep. Drugs and alcohol can make anger problems worse. Consider asking for help with managing alcohol and drugs. They tend to lower inhibitions and, actually, we need inhibitions to stop us acting unacceptably when we’re angry. Learning self hypnosis is a great way to relax.
Getting creative and Learning new things
Writing, making music, dancing or painting or enjoying a sport can help release tension and reduce feelings of anger. Finding a new project or hobby. Perhaps you once wanted to explore photography or learn a language or write a local history. Many a client has gone on to find a new, enjoyable, and even profitable avenue to explore. Extending skills also makes you more employable. Some clients have set up one person businesses. Channeling energy into something new.
Maybe you want to master a sport more fully or channel any aggression productively.
Perhaps you could join a rambling group and walk for miles, or a book club, and make new friends?
There are many classes available to channel energy.
Talking about how you feel
Discussing your feelings with a friend, or a Professional Hypnotherapist, can be useful and can help you get a different perspective on the situation. Many people go through similar situations but you might find that they are much better at resolving them than you. Borrow their experience.
Let go of angry thoughts
I can help you change unhelpful ways of thinking. Thoughts and projections such as: ‘It’s unfair,’ or ‘People like that shouldn’t be on the roads,’ will just make anger worse.
Learning to change your thought processes like this will keep you focused on whatever it is that is triggering your anger. When you are mindful of this, and let these unhelpful thoughts go, it will be easier to calm down. You will find that these new ways of thinking and behaving work much more satisfactorily than the old ways. Life is a long process of learning where we should take the lessons from failure and experience and not repeat what has failed!
Try to avoid using phrases that include:
always (for example, “You always do that.”)
never (“You never listen to me.”)
should or shouldn’t (“You should do what I want,” or “You
shouldn’t be on the roads.”)
must or mustn’t (“I must be on time,” or “I mustn’t be late.”)
ought or oughtn’t (“People ought to get out of my way.”)
not fair (“It’s not fair – why should they …)
Anxiety, Fear and Anger
Sometimes when people talk about “anger” what they actually mean is aggression, says Dr James Woollard, a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist. “Often when people experience or appear to show anger, it’s because they are also feeling fear or perceive a threat, and they are responding with a ‘fight’ response to this.” “Asking yourself, ‘What might I be scared of?’ can give you a different set of choices about how to respond,” says Dr Woollard. “You might be angry that something has not gone your way. But you may also be scared that you might be blamed or hurt as result. Recognising this might allow you to think and act differently.”
Read more on how to manage your anxiety.
“Managing your anger is as much about managing your happiness and contentment as your anger,” adds Dr Woollard. “It should be a part of developing your emotional intelligence and resilience.”
Domestic Violence and Anger
If uncontrolled anger leads to domestic violence (violence or threatening behaviour within the home), there are places that offer help and support. You can talk to your GP or contact domestic violence organisations such as Refuge, Women’s Aid or the Alternatives to Violence Project. Read about getting help for domestic abuse.
If you feel you need help dealing with your anger, I can help you to learn how to handle your anger, understand why you get angry, and deal with any past issues that may trigger the angry response.
Anger management programmes
A typical anger management programme involves one-to-one counselling and working together to find the best strategies for YOU. The programme is usually three ninety minute sessions. In some cases, however, it may be over a couple of months.
I offer a free assessment and then you can decide for yourself.
I am quoting, in full, as a public service a scholarly article from 2009 on the efficacy of hypnotherapy in assisting with pain management and relief.
I would add that NLP is also extremely effective in this regard and also to promote healing.
It is also important to empower the sufferer to have a positive attitude to recovery.
This type of Pain Relief Hypnosis and NLP is available from me. It can be effective with Back Pain, Parkinson’s and Stroke Pain, Cancer Pain, and Motivation for Wellness, as well as the other areas of pain mentioned below.
Article on the efficacy of Hypnosis in Pain Relief:
Int J Clin Exp Hypn. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2009 September 25.
Published in final edited form as:
Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2007 July; 55(3): 275–287.
Hypnotherapy for the Management of Chronic Pain
Gary Elkins,1 Mark P. Jensen, and David R. Patterson
Author information ? Copyright and License information ?
The publisher’s final edited version of this article is available at Int J Clin Exp Hypn
This article reviews controlled prospective trials of hypnosis for the treatment of chronic pain. Thirteen studies, excluding studies of headaches, were identified that compared outcomes from hypnosis for the treatment of chronic pain to either baseline data or a control condition. The findings indicate that hypnosis interventions consistently produce significant decreases in pain associated with a variety of chronic-pain problems. Also, hypnosis was generally found to be more effective than nonhypnotic interventions such as attention, physical therapy, and education. Most of the hypnosis interventions for chronic pain include instructions in self-hypnosis. However, there is a lack of standardisation of the hypnotic interventions examined in clinical trials, and the number of patients enrolled in the studies has tended to be low and lacking long-term follow-up. Implications of the findings for future clinical research and applications are discussed.
Pain that persists for longer than 6 months is referred to as chronic pain (Keefe, 1982). Unrelieved chronic pain can cause considerable suffering, physical limitations, and emotional distress (Turk, 1996). Further, chronic pain is one of the most common reasons for seeking medical care but often persists despite treatment with analgesics and physical modalities. For example, epidemiologic studies indicate that approximately 11% to 45% of individuals in the United States experience chronic back pain (LeResche & Von Korff, 1999), 75% of patients with advanced cancer suffer persistent pain (Bonica, 1990), and chronic pain is the most common reason for the use of complementary and alternative therapies (Astin, 1998; Eisenberg et al., 1993).
Interest in hypnosis for pain management has increased with recent evidence that hypnosis can reduce pain (and costs) associated with medical procedures (Lang et al., 2000), and there are now an adequate number of controlled studies of hypnosis to draw meaningful conclusions from the literature regarding chronic pain (Jensen & Patterson, 2006; Montgomery, DuHamel, & Redd, 2000; Patterson & Jensen, 2003). Hypnosis in the treatment of chronic pain generally, but not always, involves a hypnotic induction with suggestions for relaxation and comfort. Posthypnotic suggestions may be given for reduced pain that can continue beyond the session or that the patient can quickly and easily create a state of comfort using a cue (i.e., taking a deep breath and exhaling as eye lids close). The focus of hypnosis in the treatment of chronic pain also often involves teaching the patient self-hypnosis or providing tape recordings of hypnosis sessions that can be used to reduce pain on a daily basis outside the sessions. In our experience, some patients experience an immediate reduction in pain severity following hypnosis treatment, whereas others can obtain reduction in pain with repeated practice of self-hypnosis or hypnosis sessions.
The purpose of the present paper is to evaluate the efficacy of hypnosis for the treatment of chronic pain as determined by a review of controlled prospective trials. Studies are reviewed with regard to types of chronic-pain problems treated with hypnosis. This state-of-the-science review includes some recently published clinical trials that have not been included in any previous reviews, as well as a discussion of the implications of the findings for future research and clinical applications.
Controlled Trials of Hypnosis in the Treatment of Chronic-Pain Problems
Thirteen studies, excluding studies of headaches (note: hypnosis in the treatment of headaches is reviewed elsewhere in this issue) were identified that compared outcomes from hypnosis in the treatment of chronic pain to either baseline data or a control condition. Hypnosis has been applied to a variety of chronic-pain conditions including those from cancer (Elkins, Cheung, Marcus, Palamara, & Rajab, 2004; Spiegel & Bloom, 1983), low-back problems (McCauley, Thelen, Frank, Willard, & Callen, 1983; Spinhoven & Linssen, 1989), arthritis (Gay, Philippot, & Luminet, 2002), sickle cell disease (Dinges et al., 1997), temporomandibular conditions (Simon & Lewis, 2000; Winocur, Gavish, Emodi-Perlman, Halachmi, & Eli, 2002), fibromyalgia (Haanen et al., 1991), physical disability (Jensen et al., 2005), and mixed etiologies (Appel & Bleiberg, 2005–2006; Edelson & Fitzpatrick, 1989; Melzack & Perry, 1975). These studies are reviewed in regard to research design and outcomes for each chronic-pain condition.
Spiegel and Bloom (1983) assigned 54 women with chronic cancer pain from breast carcinoma to either standard care (n = 24) or weekly expressive-supportive group therapy for up to 12 months (n = 30). The women randomised to the group therapy condition were assigned to groups that either did or did not have self-hypnosis training as a part of their treatment. The hypnosis intervention was directed toward enhancing patient competence and mastery in managing pain and stress related to cancer. Hypnotic training included suggestions to “filter out the hurt” of any sensations by imagining competing sensations in affected areas. Patients were also given instructions for using self-hypnosis outside of the group-therapy sessions. Both treatment groups demonstrated significantly less pain and suffering than the control sample. Hypnosis was not the main focus of the expressive-supportive group-therapy sessions, however, patients who received hypnosis in addition to group therapy reported significantly (p < .05) less increase in pain over time (as cancer progressed) compared to patients who did not receive the hypnosis intervention.
Elkins et al. (2004) conducted a prospective, randomised study of 39 advanced-stage (Stage III or IV) cancer patients with malignant bone disease. Patients were randomised to receive either weekly sessions of supportive attention or a hypnosis intervention. Patients assigned to the hypnosis intervention received at least four weekly sessions in which a hypnotic induction was completed following a standard transcript. The transcript included suggestions for relaxation, comfort, mental imagery for dissociation and pain control, and instruction in self-hypnosis. In addition, patients in the hypnosis intervention were provided with an audiocassette tape recording of a hypnotic induction and instructed in home practice of hypnosis. The hypnosis intervention group demonstrated an overall decrease in pain (p < .0001) for all sessions combined. The mean rating of the effectiveness of self-hypnosis practice outside the sessions was 6.5 on a 0-to-10 scale.
pain relief with hypnosis
McCauley et al. (1983) conducted a prospective trial comparing hypnosis and relaxation training for chronic low-back pain. Seventeen outpatients were assigned to either self-hypnosis (n = 9) or relaxation (n = 8). The baseline was an EMG-assessment session and 1 week later the patients began eight individual weekly sessions. No significant change in any outcome measure was observed during the 1-week baseline period. Patients were assessed 1 week after the completion of treatment and then again 3 months after the treatment ended. Patients in both groups were found to have significant reductions in pain as measured by the McGill Pain Questionnaire and visual analog ratings of pain. Patients given the hypnosis intervention reported significant pre- to posttreatment (percent improvement in the three pain measures were 31%, 25%, and 25%, respectively) and pretreatment to 3-month follow-up improvement. However, both the hypnosis intervention and relaxation were effective; neither proved to be superior to the other.
Spinhoven and Linssen (1989) compared training in self-hypnosis to an education program for chronic low-back-pain patients using a crossover study design. Forty-five patients with low-back pain were assigned to receive one of the two treatments first, followed by 2 months of no treatment/follow-up, then the treatment that they had not yet received, followed by another 2-month follow-up period. A pain diary was used as a measure of pain intensity, up-time, and use of pain medication. Distress and depression were assessed using the Symptom Checklist-90 (SCL-90). Patients in the hypnosis condition received hypnosis that included a variety of suggestions such as relaxation, imaginative inattention, pain displacement, pain transformation, and future-orientated imagery. Patients were taught to use self-hypnosis and in the fifth session they were given an audiotape to facilitate continued self-hypnosis practice. Patients in the education condition received lectures and facilitated discussion to induce an attitude of self-control of pain. A number of patients dropped out of this study; however, the data that were available from the 24 patients who completed both phases of the study (and therefore received both treatments) showed significant pretreatment to 2-month follow-up improvement on all outcome measures except pain intensity. Further, the post hoc analyses did not reveal any significant differences between the two treatment conditions on any measure. It was concluded that the treatment package was effective in teaching patients with chronic low-back pain to better cope with their pain and to achieve improved adjustment to chronic pain.
Gay et al. (2002) compared the effectiveness of hypnosis and Jacobson relaxation for the reduction of osteoarthritis pain. Thirty-six patients with osteoarthritis pain were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: hypnosis, relaxation training, and a no-treatment/standard-care control condition. The hypnosis intervention consisted of eight weekly sessions that began with a standard relaxation induction followed by suggestions for positive imagery, as well as a memory from childhood that involved joint mobility. The subjects in the standard-care control condition were administered the outcome measures and were offered treatment after their last follow-up assessment. Patients in the hypnosis treatment showed a substantial and significant decrease in pain intensity after 4 weeks of treatment, which was maintained through 3 months and 6 months of follow-up. In comparison, patients in the no-treatment control condition reported little change in pain during the 6 months of this trial. However, although significant differences between the hypnosis and the standard-care control condition were found mid treatment (4 weeks after treatment started), post treatment, and at follow-up, the differences between the effects of the hypnosis intervention and the relaxation control on pain reduction were not statistically different.
Sickle Cell Disease
Dinges et al. (1997) enrolled 37 children and adults with sickle cell disease (SCD) who reported experiencing episodes of vaso-occlusive pain into a prospective 2-year treatment protocol. A pre- and post experimental design was used and participants were asked to complete daily diaries during 4 months of baseline and during the 18 months of treatment that involved weekly (for the first 6 months), bimonthly (for the next 6 months), and once every 3 weeks (for the final 6 months) cognitive-behavioural intervention that centred on self-hypnosis training and practice. The hypnosis intervention included suggestions for ideomotor responses (e.g., hands moving together, arm becoming lighter and rising) and encouragement to develop individualised metaphors and self-suggestions to use for pain management. Results indicated the self-hypnosis intervention was associated with a significant reduction in the number of pain days. There were significant baseline versus treatment phase differences observed on: (a) the percentage of days during which both SCD pain (from 20 to 11 days) and non-SCD pain from (19 to 6 days) were reported by patients, (b) percentage of days of non-SCD pain that medication was taken (from 6% to 1%), and (c) percentage of “bad sleep nights” on non-SCD pain days (from 8% to 2%). No significant changes were found in the percentage of days of SCD pain that medication was taken or on the percentage of bad sleep nights on SCD pain days, however. The authors concluded that the overall reduction in pain frequency was due to the elimination of less severe episodes of pain.
Temporomandibular disorder can be associated with chronic pain related to dysfunction of the masticatory musculature, the temporomandibular joint, or both. Simon and Lewis (2000) examined the effectiveness of hypnosis on temporomandibular pain disorder in 28 patients. Measures of pain symptoms (pain intensity, duration, and frequency) were assessed on four separate occasions: during wait list, before treatment, after treatment, and at 6-month follow-up. The hypnosis intervention consisted of education about hypnosis and five sessions that involved an eye-closure induction, relaxation imagery, suggestions for limb catalepsy, metaphors, suggestions for hypnotic analgesia and anaesthesia suggestions, and suggestions that muscle tension would serve as a cue for relaxation. Patients were also instructed to practice self-hypnosis daily with audiotaped recordings of the hypnotic treatment. The results indicated a significant decrease in pain frequency (p < .001), pain duration (p < .001), and an increase in daily functioning. Analyses also suggested that the treatment gains were maintained for 6 months after treatment with reduced pain and improved daily functioning.
Winocur et al. (2002) compared “hypnorelaxation” to the use of an occlusal appliance or an education and advice condition for the treatment of temporomandibular pain. The study sample consisted of 40 female patients who were randomly assigned to the three treatment groups: (a) hypnorelaxation (n = 15); (b) occlusal appliance (n = 15); and (c) education/advice (n = 10). The hypnorelaxation intervention included progressive muscle relaxation suggestions and self-hypnosis training for relaxation of facial muscles. Patients in the occlusal appliance condition were provided with a full-coverage, hard acrylic appliance constructed to fit the maxillary arch. Patients assigned to the education and advice condition were provided with recommendations regarding how to manage activities and diet in order to better manage pain. Pain intensity (current and worst) was assessed before and after treatment using visual analog ratings. Both active treatment modes (hypnorelaxation and occlusal appliance) were more effective than education/advice in alleviating sensitivity to palpation. However, only patients in the hypnosis condition (not the occlusal appliance condition) reported significantly greater decreases in pain intensity: 57% reduction for current pain intensity and 51% reduction for worst pain intensity compared to patients in the education/advice condition.
In a controlled study, Haanen et al. (1991) randomly assigned 40 patients with fibromyalgia to groups that received either eight 1-hour sessions of hypnotherapy with a self-hypnosis home-practice tape over a 3-month period, or physical therapy (that included 12 to 24 hours of massage and muscle relaxation training) for 3 months. Outcome was assessed pre- and post treatment and at 3-month follow-up. The hypnosis intervention included an arm-levitation induction and suggestions for ego strengthening, relaxation, improved sleep, and “control of muscle pain.” Compared with patients in the physical therapy group, the patients who received hypnosis showed significantly better outcomes on measures of muscle pain, fatigue, sleep disturbance, distress, and patient overall assessment of outcome. These differences were maintained at the 3-month follow-up assessment and the average percent decrease in pain among patients who received hypnosis (35%) was clinically significant, whereas the percent decrease in the patients who received physical therapy was marginal (2%).
Jensen et al. (2005) examined the effects of 10 sessions of standardised (script-driven) hypnotic analgesia treatment on pain intensity, pain unpleasantness, depression, and perceived control over pain in 33 patients with chronic pain secondary to a disability. Outcome measures were assessed before and after a baseline period, as well as after treatment and at 3-month follow-up. The hypnosis intervention consisted of a hypnotic induction followed by five specific suggestions for alteration of pain: diminution of pain, relaxation, imagined analgesia, decreased pain unpleasantness, and replacement of pain with other non – painful sensations. Also, posthypnotic suggestions were given for daily practice of hypnosis but the patients in the study were not given any practice tapes prior to the 3-month follow-up assessment. Analyses indicated significant pre- to post treatment improvement in pain intensity, pain unpleasantness, and perceived control over pain (but not depressive symptoms) over and above change that occurred during the baseline period. Improvement was also maintained at the 3-month follow-up. Hypnotisability and concentration of treatment (e.g., daily vs. weekly) were not significantly associated with treatment outcome. However, cognitive expectancies assessed after the first session showed a moderate association with pain reduction.
Mixed Chronic-Pain Problems
Melzack and Perry (1975) examined the effects of hypnosis and neurofeedback in 24 patients who had a variety of chronic-pain problems. Baseline data was collected during two no-treatment (baseline) sessions, and patients were then randomly assigned to one of three treatment conditions: four sessions of hypnosis alone, eight sessions of neurofeedback training alone, or both hypnosis and neurofeedback training. The hypnosis treatment consisted of a taped hypnotic induction with suggestions for relaxation, ego strengthening, a feeling of greater tranquility, and of being able to overcome things that are ordinarily upsetting and worrying. No direct suggestions for pain control were included in the hypnosis treatment. The McGill Pain Questionnaire was administered before and after each of the baseline, training, and two post training practice sessions. There was a reduction in pain observed during the hypnosis training (range, 21%–32% improvement; median improvement = 23%), however, none of the observed changes in either the neurofeedback or hypnosis conditions were statistically significant in comparison to the baseline phase.
Edelson and Fitzpatrick (1989) evaluated hypnosis and cognitive-behavior therapy for treatment of chronic pain. Twenty-seven patients with various chronic-pain problems (back pain being the most frequent) were randomly assigned to: cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) alone, CBT plus hypnosis treatment, or an attention control (supportive, nondirective discussions). The hypnosis and CBT treatments were identical with the exception of a hypnotic induction. It is noteworthy, however, that the CBT intervention used in this study included some what might be considered “hypnotic components.” Specifically, the CBT intervention encouraged the participants to: (1) avoid using the “pain” label to describe their sensations; (b) reinterpret pain sensations as “numbness” through the use of imagery (this component, in particular, might be considered as a hypnosis intervention); and (c) monitor and restructure negative self-talk. The results indicated decreases in pain intensity for both the hypnosis intervention and the CBT treatment that were sustained at 1-month follow-up. However, only the CBT treatment resulted in significantly lower pain rating scores in comparison to the attention control condition. In this study, adding a hypnotic induction appeared to have little positive effect. In fact, in this study the CBT treatment minus the induction had a greater effect on pain behaviors. Given the “hypnotic characteristics” of some aspects of the CBT treatment used in this study, this finding is somewhat puzzling. However, this does suggest the possibility that a hypnotic induction may detract from some forms of CBT for chronic pain.
Appel and Bleiberg (2005–2006) investigated the association between hypnotizability and hypnosis for treatment of chronic pain. Twenty-seven patients with a variety of chronic-pain problems (15 lumbar pain, 7 rheumatological pain, 3 cervical pain, 1 peripheral neuropathy, 1 gynecological-related pain) received hypnosis treatment sessions directed at “teaching self-regulation of the affective and sensory components of pain.” The word hypnosis was not mentioned during the intervention, which included relaxation training, autogenic statements, guided imagery for pain alteration and health and healing, and individualization to use images “in a way that is best for him or her.” The results indicated a significant reduction in pain ratings pre- and posttreatment. Measures of relaxation and suffering were not related to hypnotizability. However, changes in pain ratings were significantly correlated with hypnotizability (r = .55, p < .001) as measured by the Stanford Clinical Hypnotic Scale.
This review identified 13 published controlled articles that evaluated the efficacy of hypnosis for chronic pain. With the exception of two articles (Appel & Bleiberg, 2005–2006; Melzack & Perry, 1975), the studies reviewed included a control condition for comparison. In each of the studies, the hypnosis intervention was demonstrated to be significantly more effective than a no-treatment condition in reducing pain in chronic-pain patients. Moreover, the efficacy of hypnosis in reducing pain was consistently confirmed for a wide variety of different chronic-pain conditions (e.g., cancer, low-back pain, arthritis pain, sickle cell disease, temporomandibular pain, disability-related pain).
However, there have been a relatively small number of studies conducted for each of the different chronic-pain conditions (in some cases only one study). Although it is encouraging that 13 controlled studies have reported on the use of hypnosis with chronic pain, there are a number of basic research design weaknesses that tend to run throughout most of these reports. The number of patients enrolled in the studies tends to be low, bringing up issues of power to detect group differences. Control conditions used usually have lacked credible controls for placebo and/or expectation. Multiple measures of outcomes are seldom employed as are follow-up assessment of sufficient duration (i.e., long-term follow-up). Thus, although the findings provide support for the general applicability of hypnosis in the treatment of chronic pain, considerably more research will be needed to fully determine the effects of hypnosis for different chronic-pain conditions (e.g., neuropathic, sickle cell disease, arthritis, etc.).
Studies of hypnosis in the treatment of chronic pain have often included instructing patients in self-hypnosis as a way of coping with pain and gaining greater self-control over pain (e.g., Dinges et al., 1997; Elkins et al., 2004; Gay et al., 2002; Haanen et al., 1991; Jensen et al., 2005; McCauley et al., 1983; Simon & Lewis, 2000; Spiegel & Bloom, 1983; Spinhoven & Linssen, 1989; Winocur et al., 2002). This usually includes providing patients with tape recordings of hypnosis sessions and instructions in home practice of self-hypnosis. However, research has yet to determine the importance of and the best ways to provide instruction in self-hypnosis practice. For example, it is unknown whether standard tapes are as effective as individualized recordings. Also, the necessary frequency of practice has not been determined or even if home practice is as effective as “live” sessions. Our clinical experience suggests that patients who are more actively involved in self-hypnosis practice benefit more and may have more long-lasting gains (see Elkins et al., 2004; Jensen & Barber, 2000). In clinical practice, we recommend to patients that they practice at least once a day. To facilitate this, we provide them with tape recordings of the sessions. We also give them instructions for practicing self-hypnosis without the use of a recording. Some patients choose to practice by listening to a tape, and some choose to practice self-hypnosis without a tape; many do both.
Chronic pain is a complex phenomenon that may be affected by emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and physiological responses and a multimodal treatment approach may be important for some chronic-pain patients. However, there have been few studies that have evaluated the effect of hypnosis as an adjunct to other treatment modalities for chronic pain, including, for example, treatment programs designed to increase activity and to reduce the negative effects of pain on function (Patterson & Jensen, 2003). One study compared CBT to CBT combined with a hypnotic induction. In that study (Edelson & Fitzpatrick, 1989), only the CBT treatment alone resulted in significantly lower pain-rating scores in comparison to an attention-control condition. This finding is somewhat puzzling, because some aspects of the CBT treatment used in this study appeared to be very similar to a hypnotic intervention (i.e., the CBT intervention included instructions to reinterpret pain sensations as “numbness” through the use of imagery). However, this study suggests the possibility that the addition of a hypnosis induction may have detracted from an intervention focused on altering maladaptive cognitions. Further research is needed to determine the best methods of integrating hypnosis with CBT and other multimodal interventions for chronic-pain management.
The present review also reveals that there is a lack of standardization in hypnotic induction and interventions. There is a need to more clearly identify the components of a hypnotic intervention to better allow comparison across studies and to differentiate hypnosis from other “hypnotic-like” interventions such as relaxation training. For example, in the present review, treatments such as progressive muscle relaxation and mental imagery appeared to be approximately as effective as interventions that were labeled as “hypnosis.” It may be that these treatments are similar in regard to mechanism of action and effect. Research is needed to determine the efficacy of hypnosis and specific hypnotic suggestions and interventions. Jensen and Patterson (2006) proposed a basic chronic-pain hypnotic-analgesia intervention that consists of the following: (a) a standard hypnotic induction that includes a focus of attention and relaxation; (b) suggestions for alteration in subjective experience of pain; (c) hypnotic suggestion lasting at least 20 minutes; (d) four to seven sessions indicating “brief hypnosis treatment” and eight or more sessions to indicate “hypnosis treatment;” and (e) instruction in daily home practice of self-hypnosis. Greater standardization in hypnosis research protocols for chronic pain would allow for greater specificity of treatment and clearer identification of innovations in the development of particularly effective hypnotic interventions.
The current review indicates that hypnotic interventions for chronic pain results in significant reductions in perceived pain that, in some cases, may be maintained for several months. Further, in a few studies, hypnotic treatment was found to be more effective, on average, than some other treatments, such as physical therapy or education, for some types of chronic pain. These findings are encouraging for an initial wave of studies, but a more sophisticated body of research including larger sample sizes and more rigorous controls would be far more convincing. Further, most studies have focused on how hypnotic suggestion may be used to achieve analgesic effect, but hypnosis may also have other benefits for chronic-pain patients such as reduced anxiety, improved sleep, and enhanced quality of life (Jensen, McArthur, et al., 2006). These targets for hypnosis intervention with chronic-pain patients warrant further investigation. Research to date has been very promising and continued research is needed to fully evaluate the effects and mechanisms of hypnosis interventions for chronic pain in randomized trials and clinical practice.
Gary Elkins, Texas A & M University College of Medicine and Scott and White Clinic and Hospital, Temple, Texas, USA.
Mark P. Jensen, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington, USA.
David R. Patterson, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington, USA.
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Afterword from Graham Howes – Hypnotherapist for Pain Management in Ipswich Suffolk
In the UK: I would also point to the work of Professor L G Walker at Hull University with regard to treating aids and cancer with hypnotherapy.