Friday, 6 July 2012

Which treatment is best - Hypnotherapy?

There is a question that we are often asked, 'I have a fear of flying, what do you think is the best treatment?'  We are often asked about many different types of therapy interventions.  Today is the beginning of a few blogs around the main types of help that we hear about. 

The sort of things that we hear people have tried to beat fear of flying:

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy
Implosion Therapy
Psychodynamic Therapy
Solution Focused
Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP)
Thought Field Therapy (TFT)
Emotional Freedom Therapy (EFT)
Others if they come up over next few weeks...

The last blog in this series will discuss what sort of techniques fear of flying courses tend to use and why.  So, does hypnosis cure fear of flying?

Before we start, there is a theme that will run throughout all of this series. It is this:

'There is no best therapy - just the one(s) that work for you!'
As it happens, Paul (Co-Founder) is a trained Hypnotherapist.  However, we never use hypnosis on our courses - he trained because he was curious to learn more about it.

Potted History

Hypnos is from Greek word meaning sleep. Another word that people often think is synonymous with Hypnosis is Mesmerize.  This is from a chap called Anton Mesmer who believed the trance like state was linked to channelling an occult force.  This was around the 1890s, James Braid thought this was all tosh and proposed Hypnosis as a very different thing. Hypnosis is where the person appears to go into a slight sleep state and in that state, there is an ability to make positive suggestions to them. This is a curious thing isn't it? 

Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of many clinical people that use hypnosis as a tool for recovery, a lot of the 'Mesmer' reputation has stuck with it. 

Hypnosis versus Hypnotherapy

A lot of people, maybe quite rightly, are worried about hypnosis. They say things like, 'I won't go under - no-one can hypnotise me!'  Some people resist so much the hypnotic induction, that they tense up and intellectualise. Some hypnotherapists believe that anyone can be hypnotised, it is just that some recipients go really deeply quickly; Others may go into a very light trance or feeling of well being.  This is almost impossible to tell.  It does actually take practise and you can do self-hypnosis so you remain in control the whole time!

Here's a thing. A lot of people are worried that they are giving over control to someone else. That in some way, this person has the power to make them bark at the postman the following morning with no awareness of it.  This is what psychologists called 'poppycock' or just nonsense. The hypnotist only has as much control as you allow. 

Hypnosis is the stuff of the stage. Paul Mckenna (before his conversion to more mainstream NLP) did hypnosis shows. They were hilarious.  The subjects he used from the audience were those that were easily suggestible - in other words, with a few simple tests, you can tell how 'up for it' someone is.

If hypnosis is used for treating conditions such as smoking or fear of spiders, it can actually be very effective very quickly... But not always.

Hypnotherapy is when a practitioner has trained in hypnosis combined with psychology and maybe psycho dynamic theory.  A hypnotherapist works using hypnosis but in a more clinical and curious manner. They may combine hypnosis with free association for example.

So, how does that work?

When a person is hypnotised by a hypnotherapist (not hypnotist) and they have built trust with the therapist, something amazing can happen. The conscious mind for want of an expression, 'clears off' for a bit. This leaves easier access to the subconscious part of your brain - the software that runs you.  When there is trust, the client will say whatever comes into their mind and just follow up it with guidance. Amazing things (unknown to the client) can pop up. Once they are brought up, they can be analysed by the grown up person and then dealt with appropriately.  This gives the client the opportunity to review the <whatever> that has happened to them and look at it with the benefit of hindsight.  This can take anything between 6-12 sessions to get to the root of where someones anxiety lives.  Most people expect instant results in one session.  This is an unrealistic expectation of a hypnotherapist. This is where a hypnotist comes in!  They will promise to rid you of your fear in 10 minutes or something very short term.  For some people this works.  For others it does not last or doesn't even work to begin with.  There are many, may theories why this might be but for now, why don't we just settle on the idea that 'we are all just different!'

It is up to you what you try.  If the hypnotherapist is good and explains this all properly, there is no reason why they can't help you. If they do 'one session is all you need...' you might be lucky. 

That's it for this blog.  Next blog, we will examine another popular therapy that gets mentioned to treat flying. 

Take care
Paul & Richard
Virgin Flying Without Fear

Future dates:

Gatwick 8th July
Gatwick Children’s course 8th July
London Luton 26th August
Birmingham 14th October
Manchester 11th November
Edinburgh 25th November
Southampton 2nd December
Leeds Bradford 13th January 2013
Newcastle 3rd February 2013


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