Answering the Question? “Yes Hypnotherapy DOES Work”
Caught the tail-end of Petrie Hosken’s show on LBC this evening. She was giving Hypnotherapy a terrible pasting, and I was moved enough by the misinformation being hurled around to try and join the fray. She kindly let me on, but resolutely wasn’t going to let me convince her. I am never too comfortable being in the position of advocate for Hypnotherapy anyway – there are many far more articulate than me; but I decided to write her an email anyway. I’ve copied it here for those of you interested enough to hear another point of view, and I’ll leave for you to decide if at the end she agrees that “Yes Hypnotherapy DOES work”.
We spoke briefly just now on your show – I am Paul the Hypnotherapist from Highgate. Firstly I must say that I fully understand your scepticism. There’s nothing like a bad experience to put you off, but I do feel that there is genuinely much that perhaps you might want to know about the therapy that would possibly enable you to arrive at a different view.
It is absolutely the case that anyone barring those with extreme psychological disorders can be hypnotised. And yes, of course you would have to want to be. Hypnotic suggestibility is not an indication of mental weakness or low intelligence, or that it somehow requires a gullible subject; and the assumption that this is the case is a view point that the medical profession abandoned many years ago. A Hypnotherapist could not MAKE you become hypnotised, or make you do anything under hypnosis that you didn’t want to do. But why should this fact somehow be a proof of its ineffectiveness?
The point of any therapy, surely, is to facilitate change for anyone who is currently unhappy with whatever his or her particular issue happens to be. If someone is suffering from a fear of flying for example, it is perfectly possible to live a more or less normal life, and not desire to change this. If however, this fear prevents them from engaging in something they would otherwise like to do, and therefore they wish to change it, then they will seek help to do so. They are now at the point where they WANT to change. They can seek help, and if they find a competent Hypnotherapist, their fear will be alleviated. But if they DON’T want to change this fear response, then they won’t seek help. Why should their desire to change somehow render the treatment invalid?
Thankfully, you are not in the position of wanting to change anything in your life to a degree where you need assistance in doing so; but what of the thousands of people who suffer from insomnia for example? These people (and I have helped a great number of them) want to go to sleep at night. They want desperately to be able to close their eyes and drift away. Of course they do. So why don’t they? Why isn’t the just the fact that they want to go to sleep enough for them? Why doesn’t their GP or anyone else just say to them ‘Look, if you want to go to sleep – just go to sleep?’ Surely then, problem solved?
Or the countless thousands enduring I.B.S? Why can’t we just say ‘Well surely if you wanted to not have the crippling pain and the crucifying embarrassment that goes with this condition, then you just wouldn’t have it would you?’ Again, what treatment might they seek to help them with this from their GP? Precious little I am sorry to say. Why not look up what Peter Whorwell, Professor of Medicine and Gastroenterology in the School of Medicine and Director of the South Manchester Functional Bowel Service, has to say about I.B.S. and the help that Hypnotherapy has given to so many? He really doesn’t come across to me as a psychotic dreamer!
As for smoking cessation, please, I urge you, look up the statistics for every single intervention and method that smokers employ in order to help them quit. What is the single most effective approach? No, it will not work for everyone, and Hypnotherapy is no different from any other branch of medicine in this regard; but to pigeon-hole a highly effective and accessible therapeutic intervention along with the necromancers and quacks that we all know are quick to prey on the less fortunate, does not do justice to your own high journalistic standards.
I would dearly like to meet you to discuss this at any time, and you would be more than welcome to contact me. I would also invite you to perhaps browse my website for more information if you feel inclined.
With kind regards