Barbara Neill

Hypnotherapy; busting one of the biggest myths

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How many sessions are needed to achieve success?

If you are truly ready to make a change in your life, whether it’s to stop smoking, pass a job interview, eat more healthily, kick a drug habit, lose your fear of flying etc. you can do exactly that in less than an hour! There is absolutely no reason why you should need to arrange a series of hypnotherapy sessions to deal with one situation.

I am in the privileged position of having known about hypnotherapy all my life. My father, Bob Neill, was a pioneering hypnotherapist, and had been practising since 1950, albeit it on a part time basis, until the nineteen seventies when hypnotherapy started to become more accepted, (largely thanks to him; certainly in the South East of England). It was from then that he practised hypnotherapy full-time until he passed away in 2006.

Although I had been trained by my father, (as well as informally, by helping him in his practice for many years), I didn’t start my own hypnotherapy practice, formally, until 2010. There were several reasons for this, one of which was that I realised I had a lot to live up to by following in my father’s footsteps. It was, initially, a daunting prospect because he had an excellent reputation. He always aimed for complete success in one session of hypnotherapy, but accepted that sometimes a second session might be needed. Of course, in order to continue my father’s good work, I do exactly the same. Both my father and I have had countless successes in which only one session was needed.

In the past two days, alone, I have heard about successful outcomes for some of my previous clients. One of them came from someone who wants me to help them stop smoking because a friend of theirs successfully stopped smoking several years ago, after a single session of hypnotherapy with me. I was also contacted by an extremely relieved mother of a son who has successfully kicked a drug habit, after one session of hypnotherapy with me. Recently, a young man, who had been offered a job interview, lost his nerve and failed to attend. He was given a second chance and, after one session of hypnotherapy with me, he attended the interview and got the job. These are not isolated situations. It is normal for people to achieve their goals after one session of hypnotherapy, or at least, it should be.

I’m not suggesting for a moment that other hypnotherapists, who expect their clients to have more than one session for the same situation, are deliberately misleading clients. It saddens me to say that I’m quite sure many, if not all, of them genuinely believe that more than one session is necessary, because that is how they have been taught. The problem with that assumption is that it filters through to the general public and, as a result, becomes widely accepted that more than one session will be needed to achieve success. When that acceptance evolves into a belief, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If a client believes he or she will need more than one session of hypnotherapy, guess what; he or she will need more than one session! The subconscious is very powerful, as well as being subject to suggestion (which is, of course, what makes hypnotherapy so useful in the first place).

As human beings, each of us has the power to make positive changes in our lives but sometimes we need a little help to access that power. That’s where hypnotherapy comes in. It’s a very useful means of empowering people to make those positive changes, provided they are ready to do so and, frankly, if they are ready, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t achieve complete success in one session of hypnotherapy.

Just as some people can be convinced that a series of sessions will be needed, the client who believes it’s possible to stop smoking, pass a driving test, kick a drug habit, pass a job interview etc., after one session of hypnotherapy is most likely to succeed, after one session.

Even in those situations in which a second session is needed, if the role of the hypnotherapist is to empower the client, shouldn’t it be the client’s decision to have a second session, rather than the hypnotherapist trying to predict whether or not a second session will be needed? Even when I explain to my clients that some people find a second session is necessary, I always liken it to a safety-net; the option is there, should it be needed, but there should be no expectation that it will be needed.

I have yet to hear a convincing argument in favour of offering a client more than one session of hypnotherapy from the outset and, as far as I’m concerned, the only reason a series of sessions would be needed, when dealing with the same issue, is if the client is not yet ready to tackle that issue. My role, as I see it, is not to convince a client that he or she needs to make a specific change, but to empower them to make that change when they are ready to do so.

I would far rather work with one of the many people who genuinely want to make a change, and are prepared to commit to it. That’s when they are ready. Hypnotherapy is a means of helping them to unlock the power needed to make that change and, to genuinely empower them to do so, it should be done as simply as possible; in one session.

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