A couple of years ago while working as a journalist I interviewed a former supermodel, once a household name. She was tall, slender, beautiful, intelligent and wealthy. She seemed to have everything. And yet she told me she’d had to give up her catwalk career because every time she went to strut down the runway in front of the crowd she felt as if she was about to die. Her heart beat alarmingly fast, she couldn’t breathe, her head spun, she felt sick and ready to collapse at any moment. Yet doctors could find nothing wrong with her and everyone was baffled. She began to think she was going mad. Today we know she was suffering from panic attacks but even ten years ago, the condition was little known.
These days, we have all heard about panic attacks and many people, especially women, with increasingly stressful and busy lives, have experienced them. But despite the number of sufferers rising rapidly, doctors have struggled to come up with an effective treatment for them. And this is where hypnotherapy can step in.
Although hypnotherapists are unable to cure panic attacks or guarantee to get rid of them completely, they have had a lot of success in helping people to cope with them and allowing them to lead normal lives. In fact, often the peace of mind that comes with knowing you can manage a panic attack and gain control should one try to take hold, eventually puts a stop to them. Perhaps best of all, as everything is achieved through relaxation and breathing techniques, visualisation, positive suggestion and mindfulness, it is completely drug-free and therefore has no nasty side-effects. Usually it only takes one or two sessions to start working and sometimes another few just to reinforce the message.
And it’s not just panic attacks that hypnotherapy can help with. During my time as a journalist I met a whole range of people from different backgrounds who had found hypnotherapy hugely beneficial in helping them with confidence and self-esteem issues, beating bad habits such as smoking, general anxiety, fears and phobias, insomnia and even weight loss. Hearing about their experiences gave me a real interest in the power of the mind and I began reading up on the subject.
When my own daughter was going through a stressful time at music college she found hypnotherapy really worked for her performance nerves and in the same way, helped her pass her driving test first time (having been convinced she would fail.) She had been anxious about trying hypnotherapy having seen “stage hypnotherapists” on TV leaving people clucking like chickens, but instead found it to be an informal and relaxing experience which she actively enjoyed. It was at this point that I became inspired to re-train as a hypnotherapist and I have not looked back.
So if there’s a demon in your life you’d like to conquer – anxiety and panic attacks, a phobia that’s stopping you doing something you want to do, quitting smoking or other bad habits – or you’d like to build confidence, shift some pounds or even just de-stress, I may well be able to help.
Here are my three top tips when choosing a hypnotherapist:
- Make sure they are properly qualified and a member of a recognised ethical body such as the National Hypnotherapy Society (recognised by the Royal College of Nursing and also the Professional Standards Authority – I am!).
- Go along for a preliminary chat to see if you feel comfortable with them – good rapport is important to the success of the therapy.
- Ask how many sessions they think it could take to achieve your therapy goal.