How Hypnotherapy Changed My Business and Life
My Experience with Hypnotherapy for Increased Self-Confidence and Anxiety Relief
This blog post goes alongside another one full of mindset resources I've used to overcome social anxiety and increase my confidence, you can read that one here (opens in a new tab).
Disclaimer: I am, of course, not a doctor so please take everything in this blog post with a pinch of salt. Always consult a doctor or qualified therapist for advice specific to you and your situation. This is my personal account of my experience with one solution-focussed hypnotherapist; they won't all be the same and you should conduct your own research before investing in any sort of treatment.
Spoiler alert: Hypnotherapy has nothing to do with chickens!
When someone first recommended hypnotherapy to me as a way of tackling my rock-bottom self-confidence and anxious feelings, I must admit my reaction was something along the lines of “Therapy? Moi??” followed by visions of a circus hypnotist making someone run around a stage acting like a chicken. Sound familiar? I shrugged it off that first time and proceeded to forget all about it, until I was at a networking event a couple of months later, wishing I would just melt into a puddle and disappear because I felt so low. And guess who I was sitting next to? Only a hypnotherapist (in fact, there were two of them – in case I wasn't quite going to get the hint!).
I got home and did my usual introvert-after-a-social event thing and curled up on the sofa under a blanket, but this time was different and I started to experience heart palpitations, panicked breathing and crying. In that moment, I heard these words in my mind “If you can't even talk to people at a networking event without having a meltdown, how are you going to make this business a success?” and seconds later, my phone was in my hands texting the hypnotherapist to book my free consultation. Enough was enough.
I was still slightly apprehensive when I went to that first meeting but I decided that the best way to approach this would be with a totally open mind, so that's what I did. I poured my soul out to the hypnotherapist and listened intently as she explained how it all worked and I studied the brain diagram and I knew that this would be the thing for me.
My hypnotherapist, Tara, was the most lovely, gentle, calming person to be around and I felt really seen, heard and understood by her straight away, so I had no doubts about booking my first paid session. The only nerve-wracking thing being that she told me I'd probably need 10-12 weeks of sessions (in the end I felt ready to finish after 8) and I calculated that this was potentially going to cost me £600. Bearing in mind that I was just 5 months into self-employment and already stressed about money, this was pretty daunting. But what did I have to lose? I could either keep my money and carry on going it alone trying to figure this whole anxiety thing out quick enough to become a confident business owner, or I could invest in myself and trust that with each session I would become more able to book work, thus giving me a great ROI. As it turns out, the momentum I created for myself during those two months was unbelievable and I made more money than I had in any previous month. Magic, eh?
If you're not sure what a hypnotherapy session entails (I had no idea either!), here's the gist of what a solution-focussed hypnotherapist like Tara would take you through:
- You arrive at the treatment room, which is usually in a clinic of some sort but doesn't feel too hospital-y
- Your hypnotherapist will ask you to share what's been going well for you over the past week
- You struggle at first because you're so used to thinking about everything that's gone catastrophically wrong and all the conversations you've had that went less than swimmingly and the awkward interactions you had eight years ago that still haunt you to this day
- Eventually, you think of one good thing, then another, then one more springs to mind off the back of the first couple
- You think “This week has been pretty great, actually! I'm kind of an OK person!”
- Just when you think you've shared everything you could possibly come up with, you'll probably get asked to add one more thing. Are you getting the idea of what this whole 'positive thinking' thing is all about yet?
- Your hypnotherapist may also ask you to come up with some potential solutions to the anything you mention that you're finding challenging that week and to commit to a deadline to make those changes
- The focus is always on how you want to feel, as opposed to how you don't want to feel (this took me a while to get used to)
- After about twenty minutes of realising you're not the most cringe-worthy and embarrassing human to walk this earth and you do actually function quite well as a member of society, you get on 'the couch'
- It's more like one of those high beds at the doctor's but you get to lie under a blanket and it's quite nice and cosy
- Your hypnotherapist will then put some on relaxing background music, ask you to close your eyes and speak to you in very soothing tones for about 25 minutes (See? There is no "Look into my eyes.."!)
- The first part of this is just lulling you into a semi-conscious (sometimes called trance-like) state, so she might talk about things like walking down ten steps or strolling through a field or sitting by a stream or possibly even floating on a rainbow – it doesn't really matter because this all serves to prepare your subconscious mind (the bit that runs the show in your life) to receive and accept the messages she's about to deliver
- Once you're feeling pretty sleepy (apparently it's good to feel like you might genuinely nod off so don't worry if this happens, I did that all the time!) she will start saying lovely, uplifting, confidence-boosting things to you
- The great thing about it is that everything she'll say will actually be believable because it's based on what you've told her about yourself. Sometimes these affirmations we see all over Pinterest and Instagram can leave you thinking “Yeah, I'd love to believe I was a total goddess/babe/queen but this is so far from how I actually feel about myself, I just can't relate”
- Hypnotherapy is the opposite of that, it's about affirming the positive traits that you really do have or that you know you can have, so things like “You can handle everything that life brings you” (You're here now, aren't you? You made it? So you can't argue with that!) She might also say things like “You feel better within yourself and about yourself” or “You're happier and more confident with each day that passes”, plus other things relating to scenarios you've talked about in your sessions
- In between sessions, Tara asked me to buy a notebook and leave it by my bed so that I could write down three things that had gone well each day before going to sleep. This is something I still do to this day and it reinforces the positive impact that my hypnotherapy sessions had on my mindset (see more about this technique at the end of this blog post about other useful mindset resources)
- I also listened to a relaxation track by Tara every night as I fell asleep. Not only did this help me get to sleep far quicker than I ever had, but it strengthened the new neural pathways that we were establishing in my sessions that reminded me that I AM a confident and socially capable human (as opposed to a socially awkward and anxious mess, like I'd been telling myself for years previously)
The combination of my hypnotherapy sessions, the sleep track and my “3 Good Things” journal started to have a real impact on my confidence and happiness more or less straight away and it just kept getting better as the weeks went on. The more I steered my brain towards the ways in which I was already being calm and confident in my life, the more calm and confident I felt. And those are some of my favourite feelings!
One of the most liberating and empowering things about having hypnotherapy with Tara was the way she showed me that my “socially awkward and anxious” persona wasn't the real me. I had become so wrapped up in feeling that way that I genuinely believed it was my identity and that I was condemned to struggle with those things for the rest of my life. Tara taught me that I had the power to undo those stories and retrain my brain to focus on all the great things in my life and all the things I've achieved so far, proving that I am totally capable of achieving even more.
I am so glad I found hypnotherapy when I did! It has changed my life in incredible ways and I hope that if you struggle with low self-confidence, anxious feelings, self-doubt, stress or overwhelm, that you might also see what it could do for you. It's not cheap but it shouldn't be. It's worth every penny to rewire your brain for the better and give you the tools you need to go out into the world and be who you were always meant to be.
If you've had experience with hypnotherapy too and would like to share it, please do so in a comment below so that others can benefit from your story. And feel free to get in touch with me if you'd like me to expand on anything I've written here or if you have questions!