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Questions and Answers (general public)

1. Misconceptions about Hypnosis

Do not expect to go to sleep or lose touch with reality, you will be aware of everything that is going on around you and you cannot be made to do anything which goes against your deepest beliefs and morals. What you have seen on Hypnostage shows is true, but keep in mind that the hypnotist asked for volunteers, and these people expect to do funny things to entertain the audience, they are extroverts and are willing to follow fun suggestions.

2.What is Hypnosis then?

A: A simple definition of hypnosis is that it is a state of increased concentration, relaxation and suggestibility. A perfectly natural state, which we all go through at least twice a day, just before we fall asleep and just as we are waking up.


3. Can anybody be hypnotized?

A: Firstly we need to mention that all hypnosis is in fact self hypnosis. It is a natural state through which we go several times a day, certainly on our way to sleep, and just before we are waking up. Most of us have driven a car and then sometimes don't consciously remember certain parts of the trip, or being so absorbed while reading or watching a movie that we don't pay attention to anything else happening around us - these are all the states of selective awareness. So in principle everyone has the ability to go into a state of hypnosis with the only exception of severe disorders such as schizophrenia. However some people are naturally more suggestible than others. It is those people who, for example a stage hypnotist will select for his show .

The main reason for people not to enter freely the state is usually apprehension and lack of awareness that they indeed do have this ability, which, like any other talent, can be trained. In the therapeutic environment it is the task of the hypnotherapist to dispel any misconceptions and a skilled professional will usually then have no problem facilitating the state for his or her client.


4. What makes an ideal candidate for hypnotherapy?

Q: What makes an ideal candidate for hypnotherapy? (e.g. imaginative/creative?) What kinds of people are not good subjects? (highly logical/analytical?)

A: The ideal candidate only needs to bring a sincere wish to participate. Again, a skilled hypnotherapist will understand whether his client should be approached through his enhanced ability of imagery or via his analytical thinking. Highly analytical people usually are very good subjects once they understand that they always maintain control and are in charge at any given time.


5. What enhances the probability of success in hypnotherapy?

Q: Please give me some idea what the pre-requisites are to enhance the probability of success in hypnotherapy?

A: Definitely motivation! If a client for example attempts to change a behaviour because others have asked him to, it is quetionable whether a lasting success will be achieved. Prospective clients also need to be very honest with themselves, as they may have a "secondary gain" from their behaviour, symptom or habit. For example a person with chronic pain may on the one hand wish to be free of it and on the other hand fears to lose the attention he receives because of the symptoms.


6. Are the results permanent?

Q: How permanent are the results? e.g. if hypnotherapy makes you give up smoking/lose weight, is it likely that you would "relapse" to your old habits after 6-12 months or more?

A: Once an idea has been fully accepted by the subconscious mind it will remain. That is partly the reason why it is so difficult to overcome habits. For example the smoker may have the subconscious belief that smoking the cigarette will relax him, reward him, or will help him to overcome his shyness when with other people - then these beliefs are fixed and it can be extremely difficult to override these programs with willpower and discipline. Therefore, if a new idea is fully accepted and there is no contradicting belief system, it will remain for good.


7. How does hypnotherapy work on the brain?

Q: Explain in very simple terms how hypnotherapy works on the brain, possibly using an example. ?

A: Most of us remember a time when we received our driver's license and how difficult it was at the time to coordinate all the different tasks and be observant to the traffic around. Yet over time, with practice, we became more and more proficient to the point where shifting gears and any other task involved with driving became automatic. This is because we create neuro pathways in our brains. Once these pathways are created and and strengthened with practice, we tend to operate this way without effort. Part of hypnotherapy will be for the client to create new ways of thinking, new neural pathways.

The subconscious mind does not differentiate between " reality" and imagery or visualization. Therefore we can rehearse a new behaviour and strengthen new, fragile neuro pathways. After the session(s) when the client finds himself in a situation which previously prompted him to have a certain behaviour or habit he now has the ability to follow a different pattern quite easily.


8. Do medical aids pay for hypnotherapy in SA?

A: We need to make a distinction between the clinical hypnotherapist, who needs to be a qualified psychologist, and the “non medical” hypnotherapist. For medical aid to recognize a treatment, the hypnotherapist needs to be registered with a practice number. This is not a requirement for a non-medical hypnotherapist.


9. What should you look for in a hypnotherapist?

Q: What should you look for in a hypnotherapist? How do you know he/she isn’t a dangerous amateur? (e.g. qualifications, member of SAIH, etc)

A: Non medical hypnotherapy is self regulated in South Africa, unlike Europe or the United States where it became regulated as early as 1956. This of course means that anybody, with any form of training (or the lack of it) could advertise him or herself as a hypnotherapist. This could be a problem. Although a hypnotherapist is strictly speaking only the facilitator to assist the client to find his own solutions, this requires skills, responsibility, sensitivity and experience.

Hypnotherapy, or being in the state of hypnosis is not dangerous as such because the client does remain in control at any given time, but it can be ineffective. A prospective client should ascertain the professionalism of the therapist as one would when looking for any service provider. If they are a member of a reputable organization such as the South African Institute of Hypnotism, then the client can be assured that the standards have been checked and a code of ethical conduct has been signed and agreed to. Most members of the South African Institute of hypnotism have been trained with the Mastermind Training center which is the training arm of the Institute. This training has been provided since 1998 and this long track record speaks for itself.

When contacting a hypnotherapist for possible sessions ,the client should not hesitate to ask relevant questions such as how along the therapist has been practicing, where he was trained, to which body he belongs, whether he is experienced with regards to the specific concern, fees and approximate number of sessions. It is very important to feel comfortable with the therapist. Considerations as to the gender and/or age of the therapist might be important to the client is well.


10. Can you hypnotise yourself successfully? (e.g. with a CD)

Q: Can you hypnotise yourself successfully? (e.g. with a CD) Explain the benefits or drawbacks of self-hypnosis

A: As mentioned, all hypnosis really is self hypnosis and we enter this state naturally. However if one is not aware of the difference between the states, one usually continues to question whether one actually is in hypnosis or not. The only sure way of retraining those natural skills is really with a professional who can explain how the mind works, answer questions, explain what to expect and most importantly, assist the person to get to and understand this powerful state. This is why our Institute office regularly offers courses in “Self-mastery through Auto hypnosis”, a one-day workshop during which anyone can be initiated into the use of self hypnosis. There are certainly CDs available that could assist a person to reach the state of hypnosis.

What is very important here is that once the subconscious mind is ready to receive new suggestions or ideas the listener may not be able to fully recognize the subtle messages. It is advisable to be cautious with what messages one is ready to program one's mind. This is precisely why it is beneficial to understand self hypnosis. We all know deep within what is best for us. The limitations of self hypnosis are reached when we attempt to deal with deeply embedded programs and/or suppressed emotions. For any other applications self hypnosis can be extremely beneficial.


11. What is Regression therapy?

A: At the beginning of any process towards self-improvement stands awareness. If we are not aware of what is holding us back, giving us certain symptoms or habits we will only work on the surface with minimal and temporary results. It is through regression in hypnosis clients have the opportunity to uncover the real original cause and onset of their concerns. It is usually a surprisingly easy and fast process for clients to work through this and oftentimes changes their lives for the better - for good.


12. Number of Hypnotherapy sessions required

Q: Please give me some idea of how many sessions may be required. I have experience with "never-ending" therapy approach and I am hesitant to enter such an arrangement again.

A: It is said that Hypnotherapy is the fastest therapy there is; Sigmund Freud referred to it as the "shortcut". The numbers of sessions depend on a variety of factors, like how long the therapists schedules for each session. These can vary from 1 to 2 hours or more. Much depends on the trust between the client and therapist and how willing the client is to work on the issue. A skilled Hypnotherapist can bring about change in the shortest time. A therapy plan is usually discussed between the therapist and client after the initial consultation.


13. Past Life Regression Training

Q: I would like very much to do past life regression therapy - I have such a strong pull in this direction. What are your suggestions on how to start?

A: Past Life Regressions are fascinating and can bring a lot of healing and - confusion, if not facilitated in a proper manner.

Firstly to connect to our past (or future) we need to understand how this information is stored, may affect us, and can be accessed.

You need to know how to take a person into an "altered" state, or hypnosis and most important what to do with a client when you have them in this state. Clients are highly suggestible in Hypnosis and there lies a lot of responsibility with the therapist.

I suggest that you attend our courses to learn all the techniques and then attend the Past Life Regression course. Once you have done this you will find that the work of Newton and Weiss does not really deviate from common Hypnotherapy practice. Clients do regress into Past Lives and even into Lives between Lives sometimes automatically and knowledge and understanding of certain procedures and semantics are vital.

You do not have to complete all the other courses before doing the Past Life Regression course, but it is recommended that you have some background to get the full benefit.


14. Enhance my discipline to lose weight

Q: Please give me some idea of how many sessions may be required to enhance my discipline to lose weight.

A: Hypnotherapy is applied to find out : the reason as to why one overeats. When this is dealt with the desire to overeat will diminish by itself. Enhancing discipline is then just an aspect of Hypnotherapy to deal with the habit side of a "craving" which will subside quickly once the cause is dealt with. Number of sessions depend on the trust between therapist and client and trust towards the clients has to herself.

A skilled Hypnotherapist can bring about change in the shortest time. You will find that weight issues usually have an underlying problem of which the person usually is not aware. That's why Hypnosis is so valuable. There are no known side effects or concerns with regards to the use of Hypnosis. As to the structure of the sessions, rates and success rates, you will please need to consult the therapists of your choice from our website.


15. Issue around commitment in my relationship

Q: I have an issue around commitment in my relationship. Can Hypnotherapy help?

A: It seems that the "pain" which you might have encountered ( or witnessed) in the past or fear in the future outweighs the "pleasure" of having a relationship. Often the "negative" belief systems are unconscious, we are not aware of the deep inner programs which run our behaviour. With Hypnotherapy this can be explored, examined and reassessed.


16. Does Hypnotherapy always work?

A: There is no guarantee for any modality or therapy to always work. The first session will establish quickly whether the client and therapist are suited to each other and whether the client is indeed willing and open to change. Fear of being hypnotised will prevent the client from entering this natural state, but a good therapist will dispel the myth and create a foundation of trust which is necessary.

Then there are conditions whereby the "benefits" derived from an unwanted habit outweigh letting go of it. For example fear of weight gain when giving up smoking. A professional therapist will cover these possibilities with the client and work through them.


17. I am not sure whether I want to become a Certified Hypnotherapist but could I attend the SELF MASTERY through AUTO HYPNOSIS?

A: The entry-level course SELF MASTERY THROUGH AUTO HYPNOSIS is beneficial to ANYONE of almost any age group. Most have heard about the Law of Attraction and how affirmations may bring about change. However if this happens on a superficial level the chances of successful implementation are minimal. The SELF MASTERY course equips participants to take them safely into and out of Hypnosis and it provides a good understanding on how the mind works and explains the language of the subconscious mind.

Most people struggle to learn Self Hypnosis from books or Cds because it is vital to experience the state in order to recognise it and very importantly, to deepen it. This is a very practical course, which forms part of the curriculum to study Hypnotherapy.

You will be able to make an informed decision after the course whether you want to continue on the path to the rewarding profession as a hypnotherapist.


18. Is it safe to go to any of the hypnotherapists?

Q: I would like to know if it is safe to go to any of the hypnotherapists that is listed on the website.

A: All therapists on our website have undergone substantial theoretical and practical training. We are affiliated with the US based IMDHA and train under their curriculum. Members have to submit a Code of Conduct and are encouraged to pursue continuing training.


19. Premature ejaculation.

Q: I suffer from premature ejaculation. I would like to find out if hypnosis could help with my problem. I've been to the men's health clinic for almost a year now with no change. Would really appreciate a response and some much-needed help.

A: If I understand correctly it seems that there is nothing "wrong" with you medically, which points in the direction that you have an underlying issue (which you most probably do not remember) which causes your problem. This is exactly where Hypnotherapy comes in. By working with the subconscious it is possible to retrieve these underlying issues and solve them.