Hypnotherapy for Women is an intriguing name for a company, I’ve never tried hypnotherapy, so I decided to meet with Alexandra Rickard, founder of the company to find out more about this therapy and see if I was brave enough to try it myself! As soon as I met Alexandra on a rainy afternoon at her London-based treatment room, she put me immediately at ease.
Sitting in a comfortable cream leather reclining chair, with the rain drumming outside and a cosy warmth in the treatment room, I felt instantly relaxed. But before my treatment started, I needed to find out more about this often misunderstood complementary therapy:
Can you describe what hypnotherapy is?
“Hypnotherapy is a powerful form of therapy which involves putting a person into a deep state of relaxation (the trance state) in order to affect positive changes in their life. When we are in this state we can gain access to our subconscious mind which is where all our behaviours, belief systems and habits are stored. Whether it’s helping you to sleep better, to feel less stressed or to overcome a phobia, all of these changes and more can occur during hypnosis at the subconscious level, resulting in quick, lasting and positive changes in your life. Using a computer analogy, imagine that your mind is a hard drive, during hypnosis we simply help update it with new and beneficial software, replacing the old and redundant programs that aren’t working so well that might be keeping you trapped in negative or harmful thought patterns.”
Are some people easier to ‘go under’ than others?
“The higher your intelligence and the stronger your self-control, the more easily you are hypnotised. That’s because entering a hypnotic trance is all about concentrating. However finding it hard to enter a hypnotic state doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. People naturally vary in how susceptible they are to hypnosis. Studies have shown that around 30% of people are relatively resistant to being hypnotised. Although, with effort, the state can usually be achieved eventually.”
What sort of conditions do you treat?
“I’ve been successful in helping with a multitude of issues, such as insomnia, anxiety/stress, overcoming phobias and bad habits, low confidence, procrastination and many more. I also have a passionate interest in helping women deal with the stresses of motherhood. Since becoming a mother myself, I recognised how effective hypnotherapy was in helping me to deal with the challenges I faced. As a result I created a range of targeted hypnotherapy sessions designed to address mother-related issues e.g. lack of sleep, stress, colicky baby and depression.”
How many sessions do clients usually need?
“On average 6 sessions, but anywhere between 3-12 as it all depends on the client’s goals. Some clients come to me with one issue, but then find other things they want addressed too.”
What sparked your interest in hypnotherapy?
“Whilst working in a demanding and stressful marketing role I learnt the valuable skills of hypnotherapy to help me deal with insomnia and other stress related issues. On discovering firsthand the benefits of hypnotherapy I changed career and now happily practise full time as a clinical hypnotherapist.”
What is the most unusual complaint you have resolved?
I was ready. All of my questions had been answered, I’d used the bathroom (well, I didn’t want to intrude on my trance with a loo break did I?!), I’d signed the consent form and a small monitor was now attached to my index finger to monitor moisture levels in my finger tips. If I was deeply relaxed, the normal sweat level from my finger would drop to a below the normal level. This would indicate that I was fully in a trance state.
“Wake up!, wake up!” I could hear Alex’s voice but didn’t want to leave that beautifully relaxed state. When I came to, feeling deeply rested and relaxed, Alex told me I was under for half an hour and had apparently entered a deep state of trance. I remember wanting to scratch my head at one point but somehow being able to ignore the feeling. In fact, for someone who can be quite a fidget, I can’t believe I stayed motionless for more than thirty minutes! It felt like my eyes had been closed for about five minutes.
Before I was hypnotized, we had discussed some of the issues I wanted to open my subconscious mind to. After the build up, the session was over all too soon. Alex gave me a CD copy of the session to provide a top up treatment when needed. I felt reassured by having the CD to listen, it was also a physical record of what was said to me in that highly suggestible state. A good thing to have.
Hypnotherapy is a hugely fascinating area to explore and as with all therapies that involve the brain and people who are feeling vulnerable, a degree of caution is required. Alex was keen to stress that she doesn’t make any medical diagnoses or advice clients to change any existing medication without first consulting their doctor. She takes a full and thorough health and well-being assessment before starting the treatment to ensure she’s 100% clear about what your needs are. Like any therapy, there is always a degree of cooperation and trust required to get the best out of it.
Based on my experience, I would certainly recommend it to hypnotherapy ‘novices’. I can also see why Alex has chosen to specialise her area of practice for women. Women experience a variety of chemical and hormonal changes throughout their lives which can leave them feeling off-balance and emotionally unstable. Not to mention our sometimes misplaced thinking that we need to try to be all things to all people. The obvious example is pregnancy and childbirth and the potential for depression and anxiety that this life-changing event can have on the whole family.
I give it a thumbs up and I will definitely have hypnotherapy again – and if you are stuck for an interesting or unique gift, I would say try it.
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