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What Happens In a Session?

The first session is a little different and longer than the subsequent sessions that follow. 

What happens in the very first session?

We begin by discussing the reason you are seeking help.  This is the discovery process.  We try to determine what the specific issue is, how long it's been going on, what caused it (if known), how it affects your life and happiness, and get a sense of how motivated you are to try to fix it, etc.  This could be anything from fears and phobias like a fear of dogs, or dentists, or a fear of taking exams, or stage fright, or public speaking, etc.) to an addiction to smoking, drinking, gambling or food cravings for sugar and carbs, to behaviors like biting your fingernails or procrastination, or past-life regressions, or also improving personal performance for things like sports and athletics.  There is a very long list (Over 150 items) of all the things that hypnotherapy can help with. 


But there is also a list of problems that hypnotherapy alone cannot solve.  There is a large book called the DSM 5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Version 5) that lists out all those types of problems.  They may include things such as Schizophrenia, Paranoia, Psychosis, or family counselling, marriage counseling, sex therapy, etc. These things might require a different medical specialist such as a psychotherapist or psychiatrist.  Once we can identify what your need is, I can determine whether it lies within the scope of practice for hypnotherapy, or whether instead, I should offer a referral to a mental healthcare doctor in your area. 

Please know that I am a highly principled, highly ethical professional whose main interest is in seeing you get the right help to achieve the goals you would like to achieve.  Therefore I do not offer services which are deemed to be outside the scope of practice (industry defined) for hypnotherapy.  That said, there are still quite a lot of things that fall within the purview of "vocational and avocational self-improvement" which the standards for hypnotherapy state are within the normal scope of practice.  For example, your physician might tell you to stop smoking, or stop eating the wrong foods, or to exercise more in order to improve your health and lengthen your life, but they have no means to MOTIVATE you to follow that advice. That is where a hypnotherapist comes in. A hypnotherapist helps adjust your subconscious motivations to follow that advice so that you are emotionally driven to do it rather than just trying to follow it through sheer willpower.  It is very difficult, even impossible for some people, to quit an addiction using just their will power alone because of the way the mind works.  The subconscious mind is larger and more powerful than the conscious mind and it usually calls the shots in these areas.

In the first session only, I will explain the process, the capabilities, the limits, show you some diagrams on a microsoft powerpoint presentation to help you understand how the mind works and how hypnotherapy works, I will have an initial set of questions designed to deliver an "E&P Score"  and then we begin our initial induction into a hypnotherapy session. For this initial session, I will usually give a few general post-hypnotic suggestions, but not necessarily tuned to your specific problem yet, since that will require some time to build a treatment plan, write some customized scripts for you personally, etc..  Those will come in the 2nd and subsequent sessions.  That portion may be 20 to 45 minutes or so for this initial session. 

I then bring you back up and out of the hypnotic state.  We recap what we have discussed, what happened during this session and set a time for the next session, which will be shorter, but more precisely tuned to your specific problem or goal. 

What happens in the subsequent sessions after that first session?

In most sessions (after the first session), we start with a frank, open, completely confidential private session where we follow the progress so far toward the goals, perhaps we might dig a little deeper into causes and discuss any obstacles or new issues that have arisen since the last session.   This is called the "cognitive portion" of the session and might seem similar to sessions you might have with a psychotherapist.  In most cases, unless the client is a child accompanied by a parent or guardian, these sessions are one-on-one.  If the problem lies in the area of relationships then the analysis and therapy is based upon the person present.  Couples do not do hypnotherapy together.  For couples therapy, a Family Therapy doctor is recommended. 

Then we will have an induction process into the hypnotic state. This is a part of every session.  During this part, I am speaking and you are following my instructions in terms of breathing, visualizing, placing your hand in certain positions, etc. until I can tell you are in the correct state level for the kind of therapy you need.  Then, while you close your eyes and listen, I will begin speaking about a journey and you follow along in your mind's eye.  You are completely aware of everything and just following along.  While in this state, I begin to weave "Post hypnotic suggestions" into the narrative. These suggestions are where the therapy comes into the hypnotherapy process.  This is all explained in the first session, which typically lasts longer than subsequent sessions, because of the discovery, the explanations, the questionnaire, and initial set up work. Then the hypnosis session is brought to a close, I will bring you back up to normal waking (Beta wave) state, and we sign off. 

Most sessions normally last an hour or so. The very first session usually lasts 90 minutes, or sometimes longer.  This is because this includes the initial discovery, the E&P questionnaire and scoring for both suggestibility/ learning style, and personality compatibility, the explanations and presentation of how the Theory of Mind works, and what hypnosis and hypnotherapy are, so that you have a complete explanation of how everything works.  Also the first induction itself takes a little longer because it uses a different specific method which takes longer but is most effective for the first time and provides a leverage for future inductions.

Is it recorded?

No.  Not usually.  But you can turn on recording yourself, if you like, in case you want to view it again later.

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