A client’s story, which I have permission to share
“Well, I get it now!” She exclaimed at the beginning of our session.
“Get what?” I asked.
“Self-hypnosis. I get how it works!”
I knew that she had been using it to help her relax into sleep each night, but she had yet to use it for the focus of our work together.
Her revelation about the power of self-hypnosis came during a medical crisis. Her doctor was explaining that she might have a serious medical condition, and she could feel her blood pressure rise just thinking about the possibility. It occurred to her that if she could use self-hypnosis to help her sleep, she might be able to use it to calm down in the doctor’s office. It worked! She successfully used it again when she was sent to the hospital for tests.
Thankfully, she is okay. This experience made her realize that she has the ability to relax herself at will and shift her negative thinking anytime she needs to. She recently sent me an email letting me know that self-hypnosis has helped her through the stress of the holiday season. She is also using it to reinforce her goals.
I teach self-hypnosis to all of my clients and suggest that they practice it a few times a day for a week or so—at times when they don’t really need it—so that it will be second nature when they do need it. I believe that my client’s ability to calm herself at the doctor’s office was made easier by the fact that she had practiced self-hypnosis before she went to bed each night.
What is self-hypnosis?
Self-hypnosis is the process of inducing a trance state in oneself in order to achieve a focused awareness or positive selective thinking that can be used for self-improvement.
Actually all hypnosis is self-hypnosis. Even in a hypnotherapy session, it’s the client that does the real work—a hypnotherapist serves as a guide.
How to do simple self-hypnosis
- Get into a comfortable position. Most people prefer to sit or recline, but you can also do self-hypnosis while standing.
- Stretch your eyes up towards the ceiling to make them tired.
- Take three deep breaths.
- With the 3rd exhale, close your eyes.
- Count from 10 down to 1, saying the words “deeply relaxed” between each number. You can count and say “deeply relaxed” either out loud or silently. Focus on getting into “the zone” (let all distracting thoughts fall away, and focus your concentration on relaxing your mind). If you have had the experience of being guided, by a hypnotherapist, into a trance state, remember that your body and mind have a memory of what that’s like.
- When you get down to 1, you might imagine yourself releasing any negative thoughts or feelings you are having. You can bat them out of the ball park, or let the ocean waves lap up on shore to dissolve them—there are no limits to the symbolic ways you might release. Then you might imagine what you want to be thinking and feeling instead. Make that come alive inside of you.
- You might alternatively, or additionally, repeat a simple mantra or affirmation about 10 times, e.g., “I release stress from my life, and I feel calm and relaxed, healthy and free.” (You can come up with the words that you find helpful.)
- Count from 1 up to 3.
- Open your eyes.