Sara Longmuir - frequently asked questions Sara Longmuir - Clinical Hypnotherapist
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Frequently asked questions about hypnosis and hypnotherapy

questions What do people see a hypnotherapist for?
What is hypnosis?
Can everyone be hypnotised?
What does hypnosis feel like?
What happens in a hypnotherapy session?
Can I have someone there with me?
Will I be asleep?
Is hypnosis safe?
Will I be in control?
How long does it take?
If I stop smoking with hypnosis, will I put on weight?
Will I be able to remember what happens in the session?
Do you provide hypnosis CDs so I can practise at home?
How do I choose a hypnotherapist?
How long do the effects of hypnotherapy last?
Are "top-up" sessions available?
How much do sessions cost?

If your question isn't answered here, please phone Sara on 07941 015 866 for a personal reply.

What do people see a hypnotherapist for?
Many things including: anxiety, assertiveness, audition nerves, bereavement issues, binge-eating, blushing, bruxism (jaw-clenching or tooth-grinding), bulimia, compulsive behaviour, confidence boosting, creativity enhancement, dental anxiety or phobia, eczema, emotional difficulties, exam nerves, fear of flying, headaches, improving concentration, insomnia, interview nerves, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), nail-biting, nightmares, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCDs), over-eating, pain control, panic attacks and panic disorder, performance anxiety, phobias, post-operative recovery, pregnancy and child-birth, pre-operative nerves, procrastination, self-esteem enhancement, skin conditions, sleep difficulties, snoring, stop smoking, stress-related conditions, tinnitus, trichotillomania (compulsive hair-pulling), weight loss, writer's block...
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What is hypnosis?
Hypnosis, also called a hypnotic trance, is a natural state, rather like daydreaming. We go in and out of similar states many times a day, naturally and safely. For example, when you're lost in a book, TV programme or film, or when you've driven a familiar route and arrive at your destination but can't remember all the details of the journey - you were on automatic pilot. In hypnotherapy, we use this daydreaming-like focused state of attention to help you to make the changes you want to make in your life. In this hypnotic trance-state you are more suggestible and can more easily begin to act on the suggestions, like being a non-smoker, for example.
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Can everyone be hypnotised?
Yes, but only if they want to be. Even when hypnotised, if you didn't want to follow any of the suggestions given to you, you would just disregard it.
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What does hypnosis feel like?
People experience it differently - some feel very light, as if they were floating, others feel as if they are sinking down into the chair, their limbs heavy. Generally people feel as if every muscle in their body is relaxing. It's a pleasant, comfortable feeling. Your breathing will usually slow down, as you relax more. You can move and make yourself comfortable, even talk, in the "trance-state", although often people feel so comfortable that they just can't be bothered to move.
When you "wake" you will feel relaxed and calm, but also refreshed and energised.
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What happens in a hypnotherapy session?
This is the way that I work:
Sessions last an hour and a half. The first session starts with you talking to me about the issue you want to resolve and what you want to achieve. I'll want to find out all about you before the hypnosis part of the session begins. Then I can decide on the most appropriate therapeutic techniques for you. I'll discuss with you what techniques I'll use as it's important for you to feel comfortable before we start. Hypnotherapy is a partnership where you and I work together to deal with your issue.
You'll be able to ask any questions before the hypnosis part starts. When the hypnosis begins, you sit, or recline, in a comfortable chair while you relax, physically and mentally.
Even when hypnotised, you are in control and cannot be made to do anything you don't want to do. You can speak and move, although sometimes it feels as if it's just too much effort to do so, you are so relaxed.
I will ask you to do "between-session assignments". These will involve you beginning to think and do things differently outside the therapy room, so that you take on new positive habits to replace the old ones that are no longer working for you.
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Can I have someone there with me?
Yes, if you wish. Most people are more comfortable just with the therapist because they may be talking about personal and private things. Some people like to bring someone along when they come to the first session, just to meet the therapist too. The friend/family member then leaves before the session starts and returns to meet up with you at the end.
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Will I be asleep?
I may use phrases like "deep, deep sleep", but in fact, although hypnosis is like sleep, it's not sleep. Your brain works differently when you are in a hypnotic trance to when you are asleep. You will feel very relaxed. At the end of the session, the nice thing is that you won't have that groggy feeling you can get if you doze off during the day, you will feel refreshed and awake instead. Some people go very deeply relaxed and may feel as if they have been floating on the edges of sleep. That's fine, the suggestions will still be effective and the person will always "wake" when asked to by the hypnotherapist.
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Is hypnosis safe?
Hypnosis is a natural state of relaxed body and focused mind. Our bodies like to relax, it's one of the ways our nervous system deals with stress. The medical profession is increasingly understanding the benefits of hypnosis and doctors are more frequently referring patients on for hypnotherapy.
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Will I be in control?
Absolutely - you will be in control. If you didn't like the sound of anything that I said you could be on your feet and out of the room in seconds!
Clinical hypnotherapy practised by a well-qualified hypnotherapist is different from the approach used by stage hypnotists. Stage hypnotists want to entertain an audience. Clinical hypnotherapists, on the other hand, use hypnosis for therapeutic purposes - to help someone deal with an issue that has been adversely affecting them. It is a private and confidential process.
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How long does it take?
Hypnotherapy is generally a short-term therapy. Something like stopping smoking may only take one session (see one-session stop smoking). For other issues, you may want to book a short series of sessions, each 1 to 1.5 hours long. I usually work with people for between 3 and 6 sessions. The length of time that it takes someone to make the changes they want to make depends on a number of things, such as, how long-standing is the issue, how motivated you are to change (although there are techniques that can help to improve motivation) and how much you practise the techniques between sessions.
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If I stop smoking with hypnosis, will I put on weight?
I use strategies that directly address this concern. In addition to the sheet of Tips for new non-smokers given out at the end of the stop-smoking session, I also provide you with written information about weight control for new non-smokers. After kicking the smoking habit using hypnosis, people can find that they are more in control of other habits too, like snacking.
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Will I be able to remember what happens in the session?
Some people remember in great detail and can almost relate every word I said! Some people are so relaxed that they don't bother to listen consciously to what I'm saying - that's fine - the suggestions will drift into their subconscious mind and affect them anyway. Many people drift in and out, their mind wanders off on to something else then they "tune in" again to what I'm saying, rather like turning the volume up and down on a radio.
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Do you provide hypnosis CDs so I can practise at home?
My method of working is to teach you tools and techniques that can help you to feel in control. So you will learn new skills and be encouraged to practise them between sessions. Then, wherever you are, you can use the tools and techniques unobtrusively without the need for any equipment or anything other than your mind.
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How do I choose a hypnotherapist?
There are a lot of hypnotherapists out there, with varying amounts of training and expertise. Check that any hypnotherapist is member of an organisation that governs the ethics and code of conduct of its members such as the British Society of Clinical Hypnosis (www.bsch.org.uk). On that website you'll be able to see the the requirements of membership and the code of conduct to which its members subscribe.
Check that the hypnotherapist is well-trained. I have lectured for the London College of Clinical Hypnosis (www.lcch.co.uk), the college where I trained, and have taught hypnosis to medical students. I have a Psychology degree, am a Certified Trainer of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and an accredited NLP Coach as well as doing a host of additional workshops and courses as part of my continuing professional development.
Get a shortlist of two or three therapists and phone them. Ask them any questions that may not have been answered by their website. Ask them about their fees, the number of sessions you may have, their methods of working etc. Make sure that you feel comfortable with the therapist you choose. A professional therapist will understand that you may feel nervous talking to them on the phone or at the first session and will want to put you at your ease.
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How long do the effects of hypnotherapy last?
The effects of hypnotherapy can be long-lasting or permanent as the suggestions are made directly to the subconscious part of your mind. Your actions also contribute to your ability to make long-lasting or permanent change. You have to put into practice the new ways of thinking and doing things. Then you leave old habits behind and take on new healthier ways of thinking and behaving. The techniques used in the sessions, which you may be asked to practise between sessions, will help to make this process easier.
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Are "top-up" sessions available?
Some people like to return for one or more "top-up" sessions to keep them on course. These may be 3, 6 or 12 months later, or whenever you like. It's like having a safety net there if you need support later on.
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How much do sessions cost?
It's a different rate for stopping smoking than for other sessions.

Stopping smoking is a 2 hour session, including phone and e-mail support with a free back-up session within 3 weeks if it's needed.
It costs approximately what your old smoking habit would have cost you over a couple of months, depending on how much you smoke. So, financially, you break even very quickly. Plus you get all the health benefits of being a non-smoker during that time too.
See one session stop smoking for more information.

For other one-to-one hypnotherapy it depends on how many sessions you want. People usually book on a session-by-session basis.
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If your question isn't answered here, please call me on 07941 015 866

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