Hypnosis for Body Image

Source : http://www.refinery29.com/hypnotherapy-body-image

“Everyone gets stuck sometimes. I regularly get emails from people who feel as though they’ve hit a wall, whether it’s in the intuitive eating process, in eating disorder recovery, or just in attempting to change their food and fitness behaviors. Because I get stuck all the time myself, I’ve learned that there’s a common-denominator issue underneath all these other issues: body acceptance. Yes, there are myriad triggers and causes behind our individual histories, but the bottom line is that, unless you can find a way to accept (even if you don’t like) your body, it is virtually impossible to change the way you feed and move it. So, when I get stuck, I know the way out begins with rolling up my sleeves and jump-starting the ol’ body-image engine.

This fall, finding myself in need of a good jump-start, I decided to try something new and slightly scary: hypnotherapy.

Hypnosis has been dogged by controversy and myths ever since 18th-century doctor Franz Mesmer first began using it to treat patients (first in private, then on stage). But the truth is that the hypnotic state is totally natural and requires no trickery. You know that almost-asleep phase you hit right before nodding off? Or when you find yourself driving down the highway on autopilot? That’s it. In this state, your mind is at its most suggestible, but you’re in no way unconscious. The magic of hypnosis is that it allows suggestions to cross the barrier between conscious and sub-conscious, rooting them deeply into your mind.

“Essentially, hypnosis works by shifting negative beliefs about ourselves at the subconscious level,” says Theresa Walker, C.Ht., the hypnotherapist I began working with in September. Because it’s such a powerful tool for changing behavior and thought patterns, hypnotherapy is often used for things like quitting smoking, managing anxiety and compulsions, improving concentration, etc. Walker is particularly invested in body image work, since changing self-perception is such an enormous challenge for so many people.

“What I’ve learned is that it’s usually a call for a strengthening of self-worth,” she says. “I always start by becoming clear on what my client’s definition of improved body image and self-acceptance would mean for them, because it’s different for everyone.” Then, once Walker and a client have clearly defined their goals, Walker introduces those ideas during hypnosis, planting them in the fertile ground of subconsciousness. “The change starts first within the mind,” concludes Walker, “and ultimately manifests in conscious, awake life.”

That’s my kind of magic.

I did my first session with Walker in her Los Angeles office, where she walked me through a series of suggestibility tests — noting that, while everyone can be hypnotized, we all have different ways of taking in information. The fact that she made hypnosis sound not unlike those “learning style” tests from elementary school was oddly comforting. (I’d been looking forward to this for weeks, but upon entering this cozy, quiet room, I found myself suddenly nervous.)

Next, we got into goals.

“Um, body image,” I said. “Like, a better one.”

I now realize how absurd my expectations were, but I kind of thought Walker would just have the magic words to address my personal sense of self-perception and reinforce my specific body-image goals. But though she is highly trained and experienced, she couldn’t literally pop open my mind and look around. I’d have to actually do some of the work. A lot, in fact.
This is what’s so great (and so annoying) about hypnotherapy — about all therapy, but much more so in this particular process. It forces you to get specific about the issue you want to address and really envision what success would look like. I started by launching into my general history, but with each query, Walker led me deeper into the details. What is it I don’t like about my body — or that specific body part? What is it about my stomach I don’t like? When and how do I criticize my stomach? What does that critical voice say? Whose voice does it sound like? How would I like to feel about my stomach? No really, what are the words?

It took forever.

Once we’d mapped out my suggestibility, overall goals, and specifics to focus on in that first session, Walker eased me into hypnosis. I quickly understood what Walker had meant when she described hypnotherapy as “a permission-given” therapy. “The truth is, when you are in hypnosis, you’re in control the entire time. You will never do or say anything you don’t want to,” says Walker. “Everyone has the ability to be hypnotized — but it is a willing state. You have to allow it.”

I was still nervous, but having talked to Walker for over an hour, I felt comfortable enough to allow myself to ease into that not-quite-sleeping state of relaxation, guided by her voice and instructions. It was both strange and totally comfortable, like being in a deep dream state, yet simultaneously aware that you’re sitting in a chair, in an office, on a Tuesday afternoon.

The session began with a simple visualization of walking down a path in a peaceful environment (the details of which Walker directed me to select to suit my preference). She wove in the language and intentions we’d discussed, anchoring them in symbolic visuals and actions for me to take within the scene. There were bonfires into which I threw old, unnecessary behaviors, and a glass full of liquid self-assurance or something. As with a dream, it was difficult to recall the details after I “woke up.” But the feeling of calm and clarity resonated in me for days.
Have you ever said something to yourself aloud, just before sleep, in an effort to remember it in the morning? I do that trick sometimes, saying, “laptop” or “phone charger” to myself, and, upon waking, the thought pops up instantly, as if I’d left it on my bedside table. That’s what it was like after my first hypnotherapy session, and each of the sessions that followed.

Looking in the mirror, I’d think, Oh right, I accept and appreciate myself, just as I am in this moment. It wasn’t as if I had instant, totally positive body image after one session (or even after six). But the habits and thought patterns I consciously strived to ingrain in my mind were made more accessible. Though these moments of self-acceptance weren’t totally automatic, all of a sudden they weren’t as much of a stretch, either.

I did the rest of my sessions with Walker back in New York, via Skype. I was surprised to find that falling into hypnosis was even easier via this medium, perhaps because I could do it while in the comfort of my own home (and sweatpants). What was not surprising was just how many other subjects arose during our sessions. After all, body image is interlocked with so many other personal issues: stress, relationships, childhood, parents. When one of those emotional minefields got tweaked, I could immediately see the aftershocks rippling through my perception of my body. And with each hypnotherapy session, Walker helped me to take a closer look at all those areas, too. But no matter what we worked on, I always left a session feeling more clear and grounded in myself. Funny that diving so deep into my own head is what helped me get out of it.

It was as if my mental path had been swept clean of those needless, nagging thoughts and patterns I kept getting stuck on. Each time I came out of hypnosis, I found that I could move more easily and see where I needed to go.

Hypnotherapy isn’t a spell that makes everything better with a few magic words. It’s a process that teaches you to find your own magic words — and remember them. It’s not a party trick; no one’s going to make you run around barking and acting like a dog. If anything, hypnotherapy is a tool that lets you be yourself, achieve your goals, and free yourself from all the old nonsense that’s keeping you stuck.

Maybe it sounds like a shortcut — and maybe it is. But, really, what’s so wrong with a shortcut when you know exactly where it is you want to go?”

Article written by

Kelsey Miller



What Really Happens When You Are Hypnotized Revealed

What you thought you knew might not be true after all.

Source: What Really Happens When You Are Hypnotized Revealed

August 31, 2015
By First to Know

There is a lot of myth and misunderstanding that surrounds the practice of hypnotism and hypnotherapy. From fear of mind control to becoming lost in a trance, and of course the classic trope of being made to “cluck like a chicken” in front of an entire audience, it’s hard to sort fact from fiction for those new to the world of hypnosis.

For an outsider, the world of hypnotism sounds kind of scary! So we’re going to break it down for you, and explain what really happens when you are hypnotized.

In reality, hypnosis refers to a trance-like state into which a person can enter. Hypnotherapy is a calming, soothing practice that can reap a multitude of benefits to those who practice.

Hypnosis heightens the senses and focus of the individual. Often times this helps the patient get in touch with their subconscious mind. This aids in many things, including dealing with major physical and psychological struggles.

Frequently hypnotherapy is used by patients to cope with anxiety, pain, or to better control bad habits and sleeping disorders, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Usually the experience is guided by a trained hypnotherapist. The hypnotherapist will guide the subject into the trance and through the session using verbal cues, repetition, and mental imagery. It’s actually quite similar to meditation.

Then at the end of the session the patient is simply asked to awaken themselves from that state.

So here are a few common myths that are actually wrong, and instead what actually happens during hypnosis that prove it’s not so scary after all.

A person can be hypnotized against their will, or fall under “mind control” and do things they do not want to do.

According to the Hypnosis Help Center, this is simply not true. A person must be a willing participant in order to be hypnotized. Someone who has been hypnotized will not do something that they wouldn’t do while in a “waking state.”

So what happens during a hypnotism at a stage show, when a hypnotist make audience members do some really weird stuff?

While under hypnosis, a person may be more open to suggestion, but they always have control over their own behavior. A participant at a stage show may go along with “performance” commands—like clucking, or barking—but only if they are willing to do so.

Being hypnotized just means you fall asleep.

This is also not true, mostly. Entering into a state of hypnosis will make the subject more in touch with their subconscious. This heightens their senses. However someone who is already tired may fall asleep—like how someone might doze-off during meditation. At that point the person is no longer in hypnosis, simply a relaxed sleep.

You can get “stuck” in hypnosis.

Because you do not lose control of yourself when hypnotized, it is not possible to become stuck in a state of hypnosis.

Hypnosis Works – YouTube

Hypnosis Works!


Hypnosis registers pretty highly on most people’s skeptic scale, way up there with psychic readings and levitation. The fact that the average person’s exposure to hypnosis has been limited to a stage performer during their college orientation week doesn’t help much.

While convincing a group of people to make animal sounds might catch our curiosity, the truth about hypnotherapy proves to be more nuanced. In this video, hypnotherapist Sasha Carrion unpacks the difference between charlatans and legitimate practitioners in the field. She goes on to explain how a person who’s hypnotized may not be prone to quacking like a duck, but they are more suggestible and therefore able to rewire longstanding neural pathways.

It’s a subject which most of us harbor questions about, and Carrion’s straightforward explanation offers up plenty of thought-provoking answers.







Hypnosis…Will I lose control?

Hypnosis…Will I lose control?

This is a question that often crops up when speaking to people who are uncertain about hypnotherapy. Will I be under your control and unable to resist doing anything you ask?

The answer is that in therapy, this is your process and my role in this is to help you uncover the underlying structures that serve to maintain any issues you have been experiencing and then to change them. Some forms of therapy may be more suggestive that others, but at no time would you be ‘in my power’.

Read the following journalists report as she experiences hypnotherapy for the first time.


For more information please call or email me.


Hypnotherapy vs Stage Hypnosis

The field of hypnosis has an unfortunate reputation for being ‘mythical and magical’. This can often undermine the scientific reasons behind it’s therapeutic uses and can put people off, who may be frightened that I could in some way control their minds while they entered into some zombie like trance. It would be of no benefit for you to dance like a chicken or perform some other random task in therapy, but every benefit to focusing on understanding the underlying mechanisms that have been causing you to think or behave in certain ways.

Clinical hypnosis, when used by fully trained therapists, can produce some amazing results simply by turning your outward focus in on yourself and giving your mind some new neural pathways to create the possibility for change.

It is one of the quickest forms of therapy, producing profound changes, often in as little as 4 sessions. During your treatment, I give you all the tools to enable you to gain new insights and break through old thought patterns, which may have been automatically occurring due to past perceptions.

If you are reading this, then you are considering the possibility of using hypnosis for the change you desire, so don’t be put off by those ‘showmen’ and do try it out for yourself!

I am based in Colchester and have appointments available weekdays, evenings and weekends to suit.


What is Hypnotherapy and How does it Work?

What is hypnotherapy and how does it work, is one of the key questions many people ask me before deciding on which therapy process will be the right one for them. There are so many treatments available nowadays and it is often difficult for people to understand what to expect and the science, if any, behind them.

There is of course much debate as to whether hypnosis is a specific state or if it is simply a deep meditative reflective process that enables the individual to focus on subconscious patterns of thoughts and behaviours to promote change. I will leave this debate to the hypno purists, but as far as science is concerned the brain wave patterns during relaxing hypnosis are very similar to those of REM sleep and this may indicate that the subconscious mind is more open during treatment.

There is extensive evidence that your thoughts can influence and control your body, placebo effect being the most obvious of these. Placebo works when a positive (or negative, nocebo) result is gained through belief or expectation rather than chemical or physical intervention. So often I hear people say ‘well that’s just placebo’ but what if you can capture the power of this amazing phenomenon and control it to your advantage to produce cure without medicines? It is not clearly understood how the process works exactly but it appears that the mind and body communicate best through subtle intervention and metaphors rather than simply demanding that you get better. Hypnotherapy tunes into this dialogue and through the treatment and self practice you can begin to understand your own inner communications and therefore make the desired changes.

Hypnotherapy can also provide relief from anxiety and reduce the occurrence of panic attacks through both mental and physical change. It has been widely recognised that hypnosis can produce something known as false memory but when this is used to release you from the effect of strong negative experiences the benefits can be profound. Negative emotions can become trapped inside and remain unprocessed which means that any current experience that touches on that trapped feeling will be experienced at a level which is way too high.  Of course you cannot actually change your past, but you can change the effect it has on your present so by carefully and sensitively looking at the memories that trigger attacks, the trapped emotions and automatic reactions can be understood and released.

Hypnotherapy can allow your body to relax which reduces the levels of stress hormones. You cannot be anxious and relaxed at the same time, so mastering the art of hypnotic relaxation will help you to reduce any anxiety related symptoms such as racing heart, lack of breath, hot flushes etc.

So what can you expect to feel when you are hypnotised? This is a very hard question to answer because it is such an individual experience. I am a hypnotherapist, not a stage hypnotist, therefore I have no desire or need to encourage you to dance like a chicken. Each person has there own level of comfort with the treatment, some people being very relaxed and able to go deeply into a reflective state and some people simply close their eyes and go through the exercise; it really doesn’t matter with regards to the effect of the therapy. You will gain a clearer understanding of your issue, whatever that may be and through the whole treatment process you will be given all the tools to make the necessary changes.

All you need is the desire to change, the belief that it is possible and an open mind for therapy to be successful for you so I encourage you to go for it!

Bunny Besley BSc (Hons) Clinical Hypnosis