You are getting sleepy…
How are those New Year’s Resolutions going? Dry January proving a bit of a challenge? Struggling to give up other bad habits? Just not focusing on the things you want to be doing? You know, lots of people turn to hypnotherapy for a bit of extra help for that sort of thing and at this time of year. I’d never tried it and – to be honest – was just the teensiest bit sceptical about the whole thing. But, my willpower having long-ago dwindled to next-to-nothing, and ignoring Mr C’s oh-so-hilarious comments about looking forward to watching me cluck like a chicken every time he said ‘trombone,’ I booked in for a session with Heather Hall Hypnotherapy. And no, I’m not going to admit which terrible habit I was trying to quit…
I was actually properly nervous. Visions of swinging watches and revealing my innermost secrets in a zombie-like monotone had me sitting on the edge of the couch, but Heather did a great job of putting me thoroughly at ease after not long at all really. The first part of the session was a lot about my background, who I was, my family and so on. Not in loads of depth – I wasn’t baring my soul or anything – but enough for her to get a sense of who I am.
Cognitive Hypnotherapy can help with a whole range of problems – breaking habits, quitting addictions, conquering phobias, restoring self-confidence, that sort of thing. Heather even works on things like pain control, healing, PMS, childbirth, and so on – things that you might think about as more physical than something that could be addressed by a hypnotherapist.
The session moved, then, to talking about what it was I wanted her to address. We talked in quite a lot of detail about the things I wanted to change or was unhappy with, and she encouraged me to close my eyes while that was happening. I was a bit self-conscious at first, but then I relaxed back into the very comfortable couch and it started to feel quite relaxing. There was something about having my eyes closed which felt like it let me concentrate more, tune into what I really wanted to say.
Heather practices in three locations – her base in Hemel Hempstead, at Carmenta Life in Berkhamsted, and in her London treatment room at No. 1 Harley Street. I saw her in Hemel, where she has a large airy treatment room at the front of her house. She trained in both Cognitive and Analytical Hypnotherapy, and her experience as a nanny means she’s happy working with children as well. It was seeing a friend quit smoking by using hypnotherapy that inspired her to find out more about it, and that led her to where she is now.
Once we’d talked about what I wanted to focus on, Heather encouraged me to talk in very positive terms about how I’d like to be afterwards – not “I don’t want to be doing X” but “I want to be doing Y” – and envisioning positive changes.
And then the actual hypnotherapy ‘bit’ started. Heather asked me to lie down on the couch, made sure I was warm enough, told me off – very gently! – for crossing my arms and ankles, and then asked me to close my eyes and focus on her voice. And she counted down from 5.
Now, the inside of my head is usually quite a busy place, so focusing on just one thing at a time is always a bit of a challenge. She’d warned me about that, though, and encouraged me just to notice when it happened and bring myself back to her voice. It took a bit of doing at first, but as she talked I found it increasingly easy to let go of the thoughts and keep listening to what she was saying. She talked, gently, sort of hypnotically (funnily enough…) about all the positive things I’d been talking about earlier, describing the sorts of changes I wanted to make.
The bit that took me most by surprise was how I felt physically. The more she talked, the heavier my body started to feel. I sort of lost the sensation of the couch I was lying on, but was very aware of the weight of my arms and legs – but not in an uncomfortable way, just in a very relaxed and peaceful way. When she counted me back up, 1 to 5, to consciousness, I actually found it quite hard to open my eyes, and it took me a moment to feel like I could move again and sit up. I sat there for a quite a while afterwards, feeling extremely relaxed and a bit bleary-eyed.
I had no idea how long I’d been ‘under’ – it felt like it could have been minutes, could have been hours – but it was apparently about half an hour. And I felt the physical effects – the relaxation, the energy – for the rest of the day. The changes we’d talked about? Them too. I saw Heather well before Christmas, and – almost unbelievably – I still feel like it’s having an effect. Honestly. Heather usually recommends more than one session, so I can only imagine the effects of 5 or 6 sessions.
So, I’m converted. I’m feeling better about the things I wasn’t feeling good about. And I’m recommending hypnotherapy to just about everyone. For everything. And I’ve not clucked once since…