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Hello and welcome! I’m glad you’re here, exploring hypnotherapy as a way of improving your experience of the world and your quality of life.
You might be looking for relief from a variety of challenges.
You and I haven’t met yet, and it’s tricky for me to say whether hypnotherapy will be a good fit for you. I can, however, make a case for what I think is going on — and, if it sounds accurate, looks good or feels right, let’s organise a 15 minute chat (free!) and talk specifics.
This might be the moment you start on the path to relief, free from that old problem, and enjoying life more!
What to expect: hypnotherapy
If you’ve watched some ridiculous movies with hypnosis, it might be surprising to find out that you don’t just turn up, lie down, and an hour later you’re miraculously cured — although sometimes the results make it appear so.
Hypnotherapy isn’t about raking up past misery and stewing in it. I think most of us do this too much already. It’s not about domination, willpower or secrets. You don’t even need your eyes closed for it.
So what’s it like?
Hypnotherapy is a collaborative experience where you and the hypnotherapist work together so you can change and outgrow patterns of thought and behaviour like those mentioned at the top of this page.
The hypnosis part of hypnotherapy has been described as a state of focused relaxation. I don’t think this is the full story, but it’s a great starting point for describing ‘eyes closed, formal hypnosis’ in a therapeutic context.
When we use formal hypnosis, my clients tend to feel very relaxed and calm. There’s often a moment where they think they ‘fell asleep’, though it’s probably more accurate to say that the conscious part they use to talk to themselves took a well-deserved rest.
When we find a solution that works, more enjoyable, desirable thinking becomes easier and more automatic — like your thinking and actions are lined up and working together, rather than fighting against yourself.
Sessions take around 60 to 75 minutes and are pretty conversational.
We’ll have a chat, find out what you want help with, and explore how you can get there. If it’s valuable, I might even ask you to close your eyes, get comfortable and explore some ideas that can help.
How many sessions are required?
That’s a little tougher to answer and depends on a few factors. I’ve helped people outgrow lifelong phobias in under 5 minutes, others have taken several sessions. I’ve outgrown crippling shyness myself, with some changes happening quickly and others over the course of years.
Hypnotherapy is not mechanistic. If it was as simple as reaching in and rewiring people, I could make promises about speed and results — but would either of us really be comfortable with the idea of ‘making’ someone feel better? Whether they wanted to or not? I’m not comfortable with that idea.
Hypnotherapy is a collaborative experience, and it’s as much art as it is science. The results depend on you, me, and how we work together.
Now we’ve got a more realistic idea of hypnotherapy, let’s explore what’s going on ‘under the hood’ of some of these problems.
I’m not an emergency service. Hypnotherapy is considered a complementary therapy and is not intended to replace qualified, professional medical or psychological care.
If you think you might need more help , please seek it out. Your local GP or physician is probably a good place to start. Go ahead, I can wait!
What is hypnotherapy
In 6 simple steps
What do we mean by hypnotherapy, and how does it work?
Let’s start with some foundations and figure it out:
1. Change is possible
I remember being taught in school that after some age, early 20s or so, your brain was done growing. The brain only prunes; it creates nothing new. It was all downhill from there. Yet look around: people change, learn new skills, get a new job, learn a new language.
Not only is change possible, it’s happening all around us and we ourselves are changing. Staying the same takes quite a lot of effort, especially if it’s causing us discomfort.
2. There’s more to us than the conscious mind
If we did everything consciously, we’d get overwhelmed. We need somewhere to store all our memories, habits, vocabulary and so on. Somewhere … other-than-conscious.
You might have heard of the subconscious or unconscious mind. I like to call it the ‘Other-Than-Conscious’, or ‘OTC’, after the work of Dr. Dave Dobson and Barb Stepp (my friend and mentor). <If you’re curious why I prefer this name, I’ve written about it here>.
3. You can communicate with this ‘Other-Than-Conscious’ (or subconscious mind)
This often seems like the biggest leap to make, yet it’s such a cornerstone of being human that you’re already doing it!
You don’t consciously control how much you salivate — but, if you were to imagine a sour lemon, the zesty spray and scent as you cut it in half, and then the sharp tangy citrus juice in your mouth… you’d probably notice your mouth watering.
You might have been taught mental rehearsal. It’s essentially just repeatedly imagining success so that you’re more likely to achieve it. It’s been used in sports (such as a basketball free throw), business (a successful presentation), or even just throwing some scrunched-up paper in a wastebasket.
For bonus points, you might even have noticed this same communication in different, less-than-delightful contexts: catastrophisation or ‘what if’-ing. These are when we imagine the worst possible outcomes, or ask ourselves questions like ‘what if this all went horribly wrong?’, ‘what if they don’t like me?’, and so on. It’s the same process!
Have you noticed that there’s nothing special about these examples? We do them automatically. It’s just how we function as humans; it happens all the time.
And, if you’re a human, the chances are that some of the communication you’ve been using with yourself hasn’t been productive at all.
4. We are made up of patterns
What’s a pattern?
Imagine learning to drive. Thinking about the gears, movement, hazards and navigation, it’s too much to handle consciously. We create patterns, like coordinating the clutch and gears or signalling and turning, then automate them to make our lives easier.
We have patterns for everything, from how we walk to how we think. I’ll bet you don’t even have to think about which sock you put on first in the morning!
Having these automated patterns lets us walk, talk, breathe and think all at the same time. Thank goodness we do. If we had to relearn how to walk and talk every day, we’d never get anything done.
These patterns aren’t just about physical actions — they can be mental processes, how we think and respond, and so on. The patterns are automatic and quick; we don’t have to think about them.
Some of these patterns are helpful:
See a red light on the road? Danger; stop.
Other patterns are not helpful:
Hear someone shouting? Assume we’ve done something wrong — when we know we haven’t, and even when we’re not even part of the interaction!
Sometimes, we use some patterns in inappropriate ways:
When I was young, I somehow learned that if I just thought hard enough about something, I would eventually figure it out. I tried this approach for getting to sleep. It turns out sleep doesn’t work that way!
5. You can change what patterns you use
Learning and finding solutions to challenges is not restricted to the classroom. We’re hardwired to learn and problem-solve; it’s one of the hallmarks of being human!
Whether behaviour or thought, if you’ve learned it and automated it then it’s a pattern you can change.
You can learn to brush your teeth using your other hand.
You can learn to drive manual, even if you’re accustomed to automatic.
You can learn to outgrow a phobia or overwhelming fear — even if you’ve had it for decades.
You really can change.
Beware: a trap
It’s often tempting to think, ‘If it’s so easy, why haven’t I stopped doing this yet?’
It’s a very understandable experience. I’ve gone through it many times. It’s a trap in two parts:
First, the mind is very accommodating. Remember the bit about communication (3 in the list above)? Ask yourself for reasons you’re stuck and you’ll come up with plenty. Some might even be true. They’ll all keep you stuck.
Second, sometimes it’s not easy. Simple and easy are not the same thing. Sometimes it takes awareness, skill and determination. Getting all three of these can take time and effort.
What if, instead, we asked a question like, ‘How soon will I outgrow it’ or ‘I wonder what a more valuable response is’.
Now we’re looking for solutions. Something like …
6. Communicate with this ‘Other-Than-Conscious’ to change patterns
If you’ve learned it, it’s a pattern — whether it’s a habit, belief, response, behaviour or way of thinking. Sometimes these automated patterns don’t work well for us.
We can change these patterns, just like we can learn to brush our teeth with our other hand. But…
This problematic pattern isn’t something you do consciously or deliberately. Thinking harder, trying to be more rational or logical about it, hasn’t helped.
By communicating with this ‘Other-Than-Conscious’ we can find better solutions to problems and outgrow old patterns — giving you freedom to find new, more valuable solutions!
What's hypnotherapy like?
Some people love diving in and getting results and relief fast. If you’re not one of these people, maybe you’re looking for a bit more information so you can make an informed decision. After all, you want the best help you can get!
If you haven’t yet experienced hypnotherapy or formal hypnosis, it can be a little bit daunting for some people. I’ve set things up here at MindSpa Odyssey so you can check me out, how I work, and whether you’d like to work with me.
You can check me out at a distance via social media and you can listen for free to the most recent recordings of my live MindSpa Weekly events on the MindSpa page.
For an in-person introduction over Zoom, on the first Tuesday of every month we have a free 30 minute relaxation experience. You’re welcome to turn up, get comfortable and drift comfortably as you get rid of stress and find a deep, nourishing relaxation.
MindSpa? Hypnotherapy? What’s the difference?
The MindSpa Weekly events are designed to be enjoyable, refreshing and playful experiences. They’re therapeutic, not therapy — even though each experience has plenty to explore and benefit from.
Hypnotherapy sessions and Odyssey coaching are where we get to work: figuring things out, getting you relief and freedom from those old, unwanted patterns.
So, how do you know what a hypnotherapy session with me is like? Well, everyone’s unique and no two sessions are the same. I can, however, offer you the wisdom and experience of others…
Client experiences with MindSpa Odyssey
“The reason I needed help from Fred was I couldn’t sleep . […] I was short of breath when I went to sleep I would wake up gasping for air so this made me feel afraid to sleep so when i went to bed I was afraid to close my eyes .
I lay awake for hours so I thought this must be in my head so I asked a friend if he knew a hypnotist and he put me in touch with Fred .
My first meeting with Fred he asked me what the problem was so I explained to him. He started talking about my problem ,he mentioned to me to think good thoughts for example holidays or what sport I enjoy .
On going to bed that night I felt quite relaxed I did fall asleep
I only wakened once during the night what a difference .
My second session with Fred was about my experience of trying different thoughts so Fred decided to try Hypnotherapy. I was all for it .
My Hypnotherapy session was amazing what a transformation my thoughts were more positive I felt like a different person.That evening when I went to bed I managed to sleep all night what a difference all my negative thoughts were gone.”
“I had a session with Fred a few weeks ago because I just was dragging with me what I felt was a gigantic weight in my heart…
I was insomniac, tense, and very much depressed about where my life was heading.
I was also fearful and anxious and felt that whatever I was doing was not improving my situation.
I am seeing a coach who advised me to see someone for this so I turned towards psychologists but to be honest the ones that I saw felt somehow disconnected and superficial in terms on how well they could help me…
I was lucky to have met Fred a few years ago online and begun following his beautiful mind spas odysseys in which I slept while in the session. It seems terrible but I can promise you it was amazing! I have been insomniac and having my body feel relaxed in such a way that I could listen to what my body needed was beautiful!
I begun to come more and more to the weekly adventures albeit not regularly (unfortunately) until I felt I needed to go deeper and Fred being an hypnotherapist and having the most beautiful heart-warming and deep understanding about people plus having the most soothing soothing voice, I felt curious to see if he could help me.
We met first to see if that would be the case and I definitely felt relieved in that he could hold space for me and help me dive in and face some of my issues.
During the session it was all pertinent questions and more importantly observing and listening to what my body was telling me.
The result is amazing as I felt the energy lifting enough to move along with my project and my outlook on life is so much brighter.
I can’t even imagine what his whole program would do for me (I only did one session with him but clearly intend on doing more).
If you resonate with all this, do yourself a favor and gift your beautiful Self a session or even better his program.
You won’t regret it and you will also have his scottish humor as a bonus. ;)”
“I was suffering from insomnia where at its peak I was sometimes sleeping half an hour a night after being in bed for 9 hours numerous times per week.
My body had forgotten how to relax when it was bedtime and I was regularly feeling anxious, generally down and my performance levels professionally were seriously suffering. Social occasions I was looking forward to had morphed into social nightmares and tests of endurance on 3 hours sleep in 4 days. I felt like a character from day of the dead.
A friend recommended Fred and the hypnotherapy I’ve received from him has been nothing short of life changing. Fred has genuinely given me my life back – I feel like me again!!
After the first zoom session the effect was immediate and profound.
After the second in person session I was getting 6-8 hours of beautiful uninterrupted sleep for the first time in 2 years.
Fred has given me the joy back in life, I cannot thank him or recommend him highly enough.”
“Lastly, I’d like to offer you my own experience. I’ve changed my life quite dramatically using hypnotherapy and the various techniques, philosophies and psychology I’ve studied, researched and applied.
Outgrowing painful shyness took a few months; figuring out how to enjoy socialising, being in large groups and parties, that took over a year.
Some things change quickly, others take time. You only get to find out which you’ll get by starting somewhere.”
‘I can’t be hypnotised’, ‘but what if I cluck like a chicken?’ and other bizarre hypnomyths
Hypnosis has been portrayed in the media, movies, literature and on stage, for entertainment, therapy and crime.
Hypnosis and forms of hypnotherapy have been around for thousands of years. Even today academics, therapists, experts and all the people who have benefitted still can’t agree on what exactly hypnosis is. That’s plenty of room to gather myths and misinformation about it!
Let’s dig into some of the myths…
Will I need to stare at a pocket watch or pendulum?
Nope, not with me. Both pocket watches and pendulums have been used in the past. They went out of fashion once we realised it was ritual and pantomime.
You can get the same effects (eyes getting tired and closing) by asking people to stare at a spot above eye level — or by just asking them to close their eyes!
Will I cluck like a chicken?
Ah, this old chestnut. The short answer is ‘Nope, not with me!’
This is about context.
In stage hypnosis shows, people are selected for responding well to suggestions and invited up on stage. Once there, they’re asked to act as if an onion tastes like an apple, stuck to a chair — and sometimes they’ve been asked to pretend they’re a chicken, or can only respond like one.
People get up on stage to perform. We’ve long and strong associations between stages and performances, from school to theatre and film. The stage offers a world where acting isn’t just permitted, it’s expected of us! It’s a strange experience, getting up on stage and being ourselves.
In the context of acting on a stage, it can be fun and liberating to join in.
In a therapeutic context, I and my clients have never had reason to cluck!
There is a longer answer — a little more nuanced and surprising. I’ll write a post about it and link it here. Importantly, the hidden question here is that of control, of self-determination and self-agency. So, let’s answer that one in brief…
Will I lose control? Will I be under your control?
Nope, not with me!
From the outside, it often looks like a formally hypnotised person is just passively following along, being reprogrammed. This is not how hypnosis works. At all. People are not computers. Hypnotherapy is a collaborative process.
There is a longer answer, and it may surprise you. I’ll write a post about it and link it here. If you don’t take responsibility for your own mind and learn how to direct it, there are plenty of people who will happily step up and use your mind for you. They might not always have your best interests at heart.
Figuring out how to direct our minds, choosing how we respond to experiences, is one of the most valuable things we can do. It’s the journey of a lifetime — an odyssey, filled with success and challenges.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, it’s one of the reasons this is MindSpa Odyssey! If you’ve a growing list of fears, unhelpful responses and habits you want to outgrow, check out my Odyssey coaching programme: fortnightly sessions with support between them, make changes at a pace you can manage, and discover how to keep making more changes by and for yourself.
I can’t be hypnotised
This myth often comes in three flavours:
- a misunderstanding about what hypnosis is;
- fears around not being in control; or
- not having a healthy, trusting relationship with the ’hypnotiser’.
Hypnosis is a natural and foundational part of being human. It isn’t something we ‘do to’ others, it’s something we do for ourselves.
Are you using your own hypnosis constructively?
If you cannot give up control and take it back later, were you ever in control in the first place?
Fears around control can make us easier to manipulate. Are you aware enough of your own patterned thinking to effectively evaluate other people’s suggestions?
It’s OK not to trust someone. Take great care when choosing someone to help you with your mind. There aren’t that many ways to get to know a therapist before you pay for a meeting. This is one of the reasons I host weekly events and host recordings — so you can get to know me, ask me questions and make an informed decision about working with me.
Hypnotherapy is for the weak-willed
Whether due to erroneous beliefs that hypnosis is about domination or because their willpower is not strong enough, this is a myth that keeps people trapped in all sorts of problems.
Hypnotherapy is a collaborative experience — we work together to help you get your desired outcome. There’s no battle of wills. A coach or therapist without instruction and support is just a bully, and there are enough of those in the world without going out and paying for one.
Willpower is often the graveyard of good intentions. The hope is that you’ll make the new response or behaviour automatic before you run out of willpower, patience or focus.
If you’re using willpower to force some change, the moment you stop paying attention to it you’ll often backslide. Using willpower isn’t impossible; it’s just hard work. My grandmother gave up smoking 80 cigarettes a day using willpower at 80 years old. Imagine if you could get the same results, more reliably, and without the cycle of struggle and beating yourself up.