Been thinking of going for hypnotherapy in Singapore, but aren’t sure what to expect? This article will walk you through what hypnotherapy is and how it works. It also discusses some of the common concerns and questions around hypnotherapy, and gives you an idea of what you can expect out of your session.
This Article Contains:
What Is Hypnotherapy?
1.1 What Is the Difference Between Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy?
Specifically, hypnosis is characterised by a state of mind where one is highly relaxed, yet intensely focused. In this state, the mind is receptive and open to suggestions from others. The hypnotic state in itself is not therapeutic. Indeed one can think of instances where hypnosis is used by performers for entertainment purposes.
Hypnotherapy, on the other hand, is a type of therapy employed by trained and certified mental health professionals that uses hypnosis to help an individual tap into their subconscious mind. The therapeutic approach allows us to access our core beliefs, thoughts, and emotions which may be embedded deep in the subconscious mind. In doing so, hypnotherapy aims to modify unhelpful, or even, self-destructive behavioural patterns and alleviate symptoms of mental health issues (APA).
1.2. What Is Hypnotherapy Used For? / What Can Hypnotherapy Help With?
Hypnotherapy can help with a variety of issues and conditions, and is particularly useful for:
In addition, hypnotherapy is also effective as an adjunctive therapy. That is, it is often used as a secondary intervention concurrently with a primary intervention to enhance effectiveness of treatment (APA). An example would be employing hypnotherapy alongside Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to work through trauma or post-traumatic stress.
1.3 Hypnotherapy Myths and Misconceptions
When one mentions ‘hypnosis’, you may think of people clucking like chickens in a magic show at the magician’s behest. Alternatively, hypnosis is also portrayed as being a form of ‘mind control’ in media such as movies. Depictions such as these may lead you to think that hypnosis is a way of forcing people to act against their will.
These portrayals, however, are very much incorrect. Here, we dispel some common myths around hypnotherapy.
1.3.1. People cannot resist or oppose suggestions given under hypnotherapy
A common belief is that those who are hypnotised act like programmable robots, unable to refuse the suggestions of the hypnotherapist. In truth, this depends on the expectations built prior to hypnotisation around whether the participants are to retain voluntary control during the process.
As a participant on a stage hypnosis exercise, a person often has the intention and expectation to relinquish control.
In contrast, in a therapeutic environment, the client is aware, remembering and in full control of the hypnotic state they are in. The aim of hypnotherapy sessions is, in fact, to help the client regain control of their lives, and achieve their therapeutic goals.
1.3.2. Hypnotherapy is a quick fix to problems / Hypnotherapy is useless
It is neither true that hypnotherapy is a silver bullet to problems, nor that it is completely useless. There is certainly scientific evidence for the efficacy of hypnotherapy particularly for certain issues, as discussed below in 3.1.
It is, however, important to recognise that as with most psychological interventions, the effectiveness of hypnotherapy may vary from person to person. What works for one may therefore not work for another.
1.3.3. People are either hypnotisable or they are not
While it is true that people can differ in their responsiveness to hypnotic suggestions, the depth of hypnosis can fluctuate within the hypnotherapy session itself. In fact, studies have suggested that hypnotic responsiveness can depend on the suggestion being made, and that hypnotic responsiveness can increase with greater evidence-based training of the hypnotherapist.
In general, though, it has been theorised that only around ten percent of the population can be considered ‘highly hypnotisable’. Of the remaining population most people can be hypnotised to some extent, varying on the individual’s cognition.
1.3.4. Hypnotherapy is generally a stand-alone treatment
Contrary to common belief, most practitioners of hypnotherapy combine it with other forms of therapy such as CBT. Recent meta-analyses have also focused on the effects of hypnotherapy in combination with other interventions, reinforcing the position of hypnotherapy as a complementary treatment.
1.4. When Should Hypnotherapy Not Be Used?
Hypnotherapy may not be appropriate for people with severe mental health issues, including those who have hallucinations and delusions. Users of drugs or alcohol may also wish to avoid hypnotherapy. Additionally, caution should be taken when using hypnotherapy to manage stressful events from one’s early life as it runs the risk of creating false memories.
Though rare, it should be noted that hypnotherapy may also cause some short-term side effects. These effects, however, usually fade away quickly after the hypnotherapy session has concluded. Some of the side effects reported include:
2. How Does Hypnotherapy Work?
2.1. What Happens During Hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy sessions usually take place in a quiet, comfortable, and private environment. Generally, in the first session your hypnotherapist will review the treatment goals of the hypnotherapy session and answer any questions you may have. Your hypnotherapist may also gather personal information relevant to the hypnotherapy session, such as medication usage and other lifestyle information. Primarily, your hypnotherapist will focus on making you feel comfortable and safe.
During the session proper, your hypnotherapist will lead you into a deeply relaxed yet focused state. This is sometimes referred to as a trance-like state, or also as a hypnotic state. You will, however, remain generally aware and in control of what is going on. In this state, your attention is shifted from the external environment and its disturbances to your inner experiences.
Once this hypnotic state is attained, your hypnotherapist will use several approaches to help you achieve your treatment goals. Towards the end of the session, your hypnotherapist will bring you out of the hypnotic state and review your progress with you, answering any questions you may have.
2.2. Hypnotherapy Techniques
Suggestion can be defined as “a form of communicable ideation or belief, that once accepted has the capacity, (like other strong beliefs) to exert profound changes on a person’s mood, thoughts, perceptions, and ultimately their behaviours” (Halligan and Oakley, 2014).
The process of suggestion starts first by leading the individual into a hypnotic state, where the individual feels both more relaxed and more receptive. Once in this state, the hypnotherapist may deliver suggestions that influence the individual’s beliefs and thoughts. Through these suggestions, the hypnotherapist encourages a gradual, positive change in the individual’s behaviour and thought patterns. These suggestions may be verbal (ie expressed through sounds or words) or nonverbal (ie expressed through gestures).
In a therapeutic setting, such suggestions or positive affirmations may address client’s concerns around anxiety, fears and phobias, as well as habit-breaking.
2.2.2. Age Regression
Age regression involves taking the individual back to when they were younger (often to their childhood) when they have experienced negative or traumatic life events. During hypnotherapy, age regression is induced to not only help with trauma recovery, but also to help manage anxiety, fears and phobias, and stress.
Through revisiting childhood memories or accessing repressed or forgotten information, the hypnotherapist guides the individual in tracing the possible root of an issue they may be facing at present, and finding a way to overcome it. In particular, research has found that providing the adult client access to their childhood experiences while nurturing the childhood self can be a “powerful catalyst to change” (Price, 1986).
Nonetheless, age regression is not without its limits. Some recollections retrieved may be inaccurate, resulting in the creation of false memories.
2.2.3. Forgiveness Work
Have you ever attempted to forgive another person, only to find that you aren’t emotionally satisfied after doing so? Forgiveness work taps into the subconscious to help the individual work through their unresolved negative emotions. These negative emotions are held to have knock-on effects on one’s well-being by preventing them from obtaining complete closure. Through helping the individual to work through these emotions, forgiveness work leads the individual to let go of these emotions and move on.
Relaxation refers to a state where both body and mind are free from stress and anxiety.
At first blush, it may seem surprising to undergo hypnotherapy for relaxation alone. Being able to relax, however, is vital for proper self-care. For some, ongoing external demands, troubles or difficulties may make it challenging to relax easily.
Hypnotherapy in such circumstances may help. Regular sessions of hypnotherapy help to release pent-up tension and worries.
During relaxation hypnotherapy, the hypnotherapist guides the individual into a hypnotic state and leads their attention away from everyday troubles. In doing so, they create a space of peace and tranquillity for the individual to relax in. During the session, the hypnotherapist may also offer suggestions to the individual, encouraging attitudinal changes for longer-lasting stress relief.
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3. Common Questions on Hypnotherapy
3.1. What Is the Success Rate of Hypnotherapy?
There is significant debate around the success rate of hypnotherapy. A commonly referenced review from 1970 found that in terms of changing habits and thought patterns, hypnosis has a higher success rate of 93%, with fewer sessions attended as compared to psychotherapy and behavioural therapy (Barrios, A. A. 1970).
While these results may be dated, recent studies continue to corroborate the effectiveness of hypnotherapy. For instance, a study published in 2021 concluded that hypnotherapy was at least as effective as CBT in treating mild to moderate depression. Treatment response (ie symptom reduction) was 44.6% in hypnotherapy and 38.5% in CBT (Fuhr et. al, 2021). There were also evidence suggesting that hypnotherapy is helpful in providing relief to the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (Rotaru & Rusu, 2015).
Nonetheless, it is important to keep in mind that people respond to hypnotherapy in different ways. Therefore, the success rate of hypnotherapy is dependent on several factors such as:
- The individual’s willingness to undergo hypnosis
- The individual’s dedication to going through the process
- Trust in the hypnotising therapist
3.2. How Much Does Hypnotherapy in Singapore Cost?
The average cost of hypnotherapy in Singapore ranges from S$150 to S$350 per hour long session. The wide range indicates that fees often take into account factors such as the length of training and experience of the hypnotherapist, and the duration of session.
3.3. Is Hypnotherapy Safe for Children?
Yes, hypnotherapy works well for children and young adults. In fact, it has been suggested that children respond well to hypnosis because of their imaginativeness. Hypnotherapy may also be used to manage some common issues faced in childhood such as stress or anxiety.
3.4. What Is Self-Hypnosis? Is Self-Hypnosis the Same as Hypnotherapy?
Unlike hypnotherapy where a hypnotherapist leads the individual into a hypnotic state, self-hypnosis is an individual practice. Self-hypnosis involves the use of techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation to help oneself enter a hypnotic state. Once this self-induced hypnotic state has been achieved, the individual then introduces suggestions to themselves on ways to achieve their goals. The practice of self-hypnosis can be helpful in directing one’s focus for the purposes of self-development, and is viewed as rather similar to meditation.
It should be noted, however, that learning to perform self-hypnosis correctly can be challenging. A core feature of self-hypnosis involves getting oneself to relax and focus while giving themselves instructions. This can be difficult, especially when one is distracted by other pressing troubles. For people who struggle with maintaining their focus during self-hypnosis or are may be experiencing anxiety, seeing a hypnotherapist may prove to be more effective. Alternatively, they may consider trying out self-hypnosis apps such as Reveri.
3.5. How Long Does the Effects of Hypnotherapy Last?
The duration of hypnotherapy varies person to person, and depends on your treatment goals and the issues to be worked through. For example, a person looking for help with relaxing or phobias may need a shorter time to see lasting changes, as compared to another struggling with negative money mindsets or unhealthy relationship patterns.
You may wish to clarify the number of sessions you will need with your hypnotherapist during your sessions with them.
3.6. How Do I Know My Hypnotherapist in Singapore Is Reliable?
A good way to start is to check if the hypnotherapist is certified and has the proper training needed to conduct hypnotherapy.
As trust is a central part of the therapeutic relationship, asking questions is also a good way to find out more about your hypnotherapist. A good hypnotherapist will:
- Explain the practice of hypnosis to you
- Assure you that hypnosis won’t make you do anything you don’t want to do
- Never promise to perform miracles
- Review your past experiences with hypnotism and answer your questions
Don’t let the myths surrounding hypnotherapy hold you back. If you’re interested, reach out to us today.
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Barrios, A. A. (1970). Hypnotherapy: A reappraisal. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research & Practice, 7(1), 2–7. https://doi.org/10.1037/h0086544)
Lynn, S. J., Kirsch, I., Terhune, D. B., & Green, J. P. (2020). Myths and misconceptions about hypnosis and suggestion: Separating fact and fiction. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 34(6), 1253–1264. https://doi.org/10.1002/acp.3730
Fuhr, K., Meisner, C., Broch, A., Cyrny, B., Hinkel, J., Jaberg, J., Petrasch, M., Schweizer, C., Stiegler, A., Zeep, C., & Batra, A. (2021). Efficacy of hypnotherapy compared to cognitive behavioral therapy for mild to moderate depression – results of a randomized controlled rater-blind clinical trial. Journal of Affective Disorders, 286, 166–173. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2021.02.069
Halligan, P. W., & Oakley, D. A. (2014). Hypnosis and beyond: Exploring the broader domain of suggestion. Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice, 1(2), 105–122. https://doi.org/10.1037/cns0000019
Price, R. (1986). Hypnotic age regression and the reparenting of self. Transactional Analysis Journal, 16(2), 120–127. https://doi.org/10.1177/036215378601600207
Rotaru, T.-Ș., & Rusu, A. (2015). A meta-analysis for the efficacy of hypnotherapy in alleviating PTSD symptoms. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 64(1), 116–136. https://doi.org/10.1080/00207144.2015.1099406