A few weeks ago, after finishing my third lot of counselling (CBT) I decided I needed to try another 'route' with my mental health recovery. I am on another waiting list for high intensity CBT but sadly I don't hold much hope for that, nor do I even know when it will surface. So, I sat down with my boyfriend and spoke about the idea of hypnotherapy - although it's really expensive, I'd seen some positive reviews. And, without me knowing, he very kindly booked me in a free consultation at a local hypnotherapist who specialises in anxiety with a 75-80% success rate.
My appointment was last night at 6.30pm, and although I had a little anxiety I was looking forward to it - strange for me.
This company carries out all their hypnotherapy in the comfort of their own home; a beautiful cottage in a local village. I went in, up the stairs, and sat down in a comfy leather chair in a warm & cosy little office. I spilled my problems to this man, Paul. Paul was very lovely and settling, and listened to everything I had to say.
We discussed counselling and how he believed it didn't work for me as all of my anxieties and mental health troubles seem to be subconscious and that counselling only deals with the conscious mind. I'm able to speak about my anxiety as if it were another person's struggles and not my own - I completely dissociate from it. (He did say that CBT can be very powerful though.)
After I finished talking about me he took me through some information on what he does. He discussed hypnosis and how it worked, which was very settling. Apparently we enter a state of hypnosis at least 15 times per day - for example when you're driving and completely forget the last 10 minutes of the drive. I've never experienced hypnotherapy before but he really comforted me with the idea of it - expressing that I would always be in control, aware of my surroundings and able to get up and walk out should I need to.
An interesting metaphor he discussed with me was the idea that our minds have doormen between our conscious and subconscious, and hypnotherapy allows us to bypass those doors that stay firmly closed during typical, talking therapy. This allows us to visit our subconscious and our memories to better understand why we are the way we are, etc.
A particular technique he spoke with me about was 'regression'. Where you are able to revisit a 'traumatic' experience in your life that may have caused you to have anxiety. He was very clear on the fact that the 'trauma' needn't be anything particularly serious or eventful.
For example he discussed one guy who visited him with anxiety, used the regression technique and brought him back to a memory of when he was just three years old (?!) and dropped his lollipop in a supermarket which traumatised him. Apparently from the ages of 0-10 we are completely subconscious and have no gauge on what is and isn't truly traumatic, so anything can be a trigger point really.
He discussed cases of where a man fell under a wave as a ten year old boy, feeling trapped and was triggered inside a lift in his 70s and a lady who was dropped off at her Nan's at the age of 18 months and developed separation anxiety and fear of abandonment much later on. I was absolutely FASCINATED with these stories. He said he had a colleague in the states who had dealt with someone who's trauma stemmed from the birth canal. I was so amazed.
After I booked an appointment for 8th November, I left feeling very positive and excited for the sessions ahead. They're £60 per session and usually people don't need any more than three - I'm trying not to get my hopes up too much but here's hoping I find some true help here!