“How many hypnotherapy sessions will I need?”
For a moment, imagine that you’ve hurt yourself. You were bending over one day and you just felt something go ‘snap’ in your back and the pain has been quite substantial. You organise to go to the physiotherapist and they begin work, discussing how the injury happened so that they can piece together what could be going on and then they begin work by manipulating the injured area. At the end of that session, they tell you that it will probably take a few weeks to repair the damage that has been done and they then give you some exercises to do at home.
You can feel that the pain is there so you don’t question it, you just let them do their work until you can feel relief.
Yet it isn’t uncommon for many people to come to a therapist (especially a hypnotherapist) with the expectation that their issue is going to be resolved in one session.
So, will it take more than one session then?
Now, this isn’t to say that there may not be times when relief or even resolution can be achieved in one session. There have certainly been instances of that happening. However, it isn’t as common as people would like to think.
Consider this though, if you went to the physiotherapist for a session and left feeling that pain, would you say that their work had been unsuccessful? Or would you consider it to be part of the treatment process?
Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there who make promises that hypnotherapy will resolve their problem in one session, especially around smoking. If someone is ready to quit, then a single session may be all that is needed however hypnotherapy often relies upon repetition and supporting sessions in order to be truly effective.
What actually happens during a session?
There could be many factors as to why someone may require more than one session to achieve the result they’re looking for. This could be anything from the person’s relationship around their ability to control the situation through to the undesirable behaviour being a coping mechanism which might be linked to secondary gains. The hypnotherapist will want to do some investigating into what you’ve come to change, how you would like to be instead and what resource is currently missing for you in order to have that outcome achieved. When you consider all these things, you can understand why this may need to be broken down and worked on over several sessions.
As with other therapeutic approaches, there is also a certain amount of ‘testing’ in the real world involved and often those moments will present their own insights with additional information that may help to bring the person closer to their outcome. You may have gone to see a hypnotherapist around smoking and only after that first session found yourself in a situation with a trigger that you hadn’t realised had been there before. This may require work in the subsequent sessions.
Recently, BuzzFeed posted a short video of a guy who tried hypnotherapy for the first time in an attempt to deal with a life-long nail-biting issue. The great thing about this video is that it truly highlighted that there is a need for supporting sessions in order to achieve the outcomes the client wants. You wouldn’t go and see a psychotherapist and expect them to have resolved behaviours and issues stemming from beliefs form during childhood development so why would there be the expectation that a hypnotherapist is going to have a ‘magic bullet’ strategy that does it all overnight?
Hypnosis, in itself, actually doesn’t do anything. It is simply a better platform under which therapy can be performed and utilising a natural state where the unconscious is more open to positive suggestions and able to make changes. It isn’t capable of making someone do anything against their will. If you have deep-rooted beliefs that are holding your issues in place, then there can be a certain amount of detective work in ensuring the issues are unpacked correctly and resolved in a way that is appropriate.
The best hypnotherapists are not going to make unrealistic promises and tell you that your ‘issue will be done in three sessions’. They’re going to give you a guide as to how long it might take however the hypnotherapist is only one-half of the equation; perhaps even less because the other half is you! If people are unprepared to do the tasks that your hypnotherapist might set out of session or to listen to an audio that has been prepared for you, then how do you really know if the hypnosis is working for you or not?
There has been enough research to show that hypnosis has a solid track record in achieving results compared to other therapies alone. As with any form of therapeutic approach, the strength is going to be in the relationship that you build with your hypnotherapist and in the trust and faith that the process works. For countless people, hypnotherapy has been able to provide them with the relief and resolution that other approaches were unable to provide. When you go with the process, commit to the work and understand that it isn’t a case of ‘putting you under and suggesting the issue away’, then you’ll have every possible chance of making the outcome you want a reality.
You might also like to read:
How Does Hypnotherapy Work With Weight Loss?
Breaking Addiction Through Counselling and Hypnosis
The Truth About Hypnotherapy and Quitting Smoking
What Therapy Is (And Isn’t)