Sean Heneghan BSc Hons, LicAc, MBAcC, HPD, DipCHyp, MBACP

Counsellor, Acupuncturist
& Cognitive Hypnotherapist

With extensive training and a range of
therapeutic experience, I can help
people with a range of physical and
emotional problems.

Hypnotherapy in Berkhamsted: What does it mean to be in a hypnotic trance?

When most people imagine a hypnotic trance they often think about people on stage, at a hypnosis show making a fool of themselves and being oblivious of doing so. The whole construct makes it look like hypnosis has an incredible power to take people over, reduce their awareness of what’s happening to themselves and make them do things against their will. This however is entertainment and much like a magic show, not all it seems. More importantly, it’s a million miles away from hypnotherapy for helping people with a problem they’re suffering from.

When people think about having hypnotherapy, they imagine much like the hypnosis show that the hypnotherapist will put them into this mystical state, give them suggestions which will cure the problem, bring them out and it’s all done. It’s a tantalizing fantasy and if people could be reprogrammed out of their suffering so easily all the mental health problems of the world would be solved. It’s understandable that we wish we could just give the problem of our suffering to a magical other who could cast a spell and disappear it completely but the actuality is somewhat different. I would also say the reality of hypnosis as it's used in cognitive hypnotherapy is also a lot more fascinating, and ultimately empowering.

Cognitive Hypnotherapy takes the original conceptions of what hypnosis is and brings it more into line with more modern ideas about how our attention works. In cognitive hypnotherapy, hypnosis is not a special, mystical state, it’s simply that experience that happens when we’re taken out of the present and the thoughts/feelings/experience inside becomes temporarily more dominant than awareness of external reality. We’ve all had the experience of seeing somebody walk down the street talking to themselves, and we’ve all had the experience of catching ourselves talking to ourselves as we’re consumed with some imaginary scenario or conversation. One could say that in such moments we are in a trance-like state - more with what we’re thinking and feeling internally than what’s actually happening in the present. We drift into hypnotic-like states when we drive and our mind disappears somewhere else completely and we drift into hypnotic-like states when we daydream, when we think about the future and of particular relevance for therapy, when we suffer. 

When people are gripped by powerful, difficult and painful feelings, they’re transported from the reality of the present situation to one of intense inward arousal. Whether a person is furious, anxious, panicked, hopeless, or depressed a stimulus from the environment has re-stimulated a whole associated network of thought and feeling inside, and the powerful state that’s evoked can be thought of as a trance. Often when we’re in such states we’re only partially aware of what’s happening. There is much about the experience that is unconscious. When people are angry for example, they’re often not that clear about what they’re angry about and when they get down through the layers of experience they can find that the roots are often different than they think. We often know we’re upset, but there’s much we don’t see and understand that’s evoked in the upset because there’s much we’re unconscious of when we’re emotionally hijacked.

Cognitive hypnotherapy is about helping you access more of what’s unconscious about those states so that you get underneath it all. It helps you to make the kind of discoveries about yourself that change how the state operates. Rather than handing over power to somebody else, cognitive hypnotherapy is about helping you become more aware of what happens to you, understand more of what’s it all about which in turn leaves you more able to live with, manage and change your experience.

Cognitive hypnotherapy helps all sorts of people with all sorts of problems, if you’re curious about how it could help you and you’re looking for hypnotherapy in Berkhamsted please feel free to get in touch.



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