We recently caught up with Fiona McKeand, a hypnotherapist from Solution Centred Hypnotherapy. We learnt more about her therapist experience including her journey into complementary therapy, her perspectives of hypnotherapy and what you can expect as one of her patients.
1. Can you tell me about your journey into hypnotherapy and why you chose it?
After being a teacher (primarily adults) for nearly 20 years, I wanted to find a way to use the coaching and guiding skills I had but work at a deeper level with people in pain and experiencing a range of problems. I chose hypnotherapy as it has been recognised by the British Medical Association and the American Medical Association since the 1950s and has a wealth of scientific research supporting it. As part of my initial training in 2009 I had some very powerful experiences in hypnosis that opened my eyes to the scope and depth at which it can heal. Although I am now aware of what it can do for people in very many areas of life, it still moves me a great deal to see the extent to which it can create lasting shifts.
2. How would you explain the benefits of hypnotherapy to someone unfamiliar with it?
In a hypnotic state (familiar to everyone; it is the ‘daydream’ state, the state we are in when we become absorbed in a story or just before we drift off to sleep) the subconscious mind – seat of all habits, emotions, memories, controller of all systems such as the digestive system, the endocrine system, the fight/flight response etc – is particularly receptive to suggestion and we use this to persuade it or teach it to make beneficial changes. People tend to find it deeply relaxing, too, which is an added bonus – particularly for people who need the rest. We can also use hypnosis to heal emotions resulting from past trauma and to help uncover reasons for blocks in moving forward (great for phobia release, PTSD, weight management and so on).
3. What do you wish more people knew about hypnotherapy? What is the biggest misconception?
The biggest misconceptions are that either it does not work or is just for stage shows, or that it will do all the work for you. It does work – millions of people every year get fantastic results using hypnosis in areas ranging from anxiety to IBS, pain relief, getting rid of unwanted habits, infertility and performance improvement. It does, though, require some commitment and a willingness to create some conscious changes between sessions that will support the subconscious shifts.
4. What advice do you have for individuals interested in exploring complementary health options including hypnotherapy for their own wellness?
Don’t be afraid to ‘shop around’ to find a therapist you feel really comfortable with; come with an open mind and a willingness to create change; and finally, use whatever works in whatever combination suits you – hypnotherapy works very well alongside other therapies and mainstream healthcare.
5. How do you approach appointments with your patients?
I send an intake form before the appointment that asks for key information. I do this for two reasons. Firstly, it helps me plan the session so it is tailored to the individual and secondly, there are some things I really do need to know to be able to help you and I do not want to spend your session time going through initial questions, I prefer to get started on the therapy as soon as possible. I do, however, use part of the first session picking up on anything from the form or our correspondence that I need more information about and – very importantly – I provide time for asking any questions. A lot of people can be nervous in their first appointment and need reassurance that they are in safe hands – indeed that they are a partner in the process and nothing will happen that they do not wish to happen. I usually record the hypnosis part of the session and provide it for my clients to listen to in order to reinforce the work we have done (the subconscious loves repetition – this builds habits). I have had some lovely feedback about these recordings. In subsequent sessions, we take note of changes experienced and build on these with further work. I use a range of approaches and tailor these exactly to the situation.
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