I get lots of questions about the first session. This is normally because hypnosis is still fairly unusual as a therapy and so often potential clients wonder how the first session works, how it is structed and what they can expect.
My blog on FAQ answers some of the main questions about Hypnosis and you can click on this link below for general questions. In this blog I am going to focus on the structure of a first hypnosis session and why we do some of the things we do.
The first thing that happens is a comprehensive client intake form is emailed to the client. This form is a bit long but has lots of information. In fact, the session starts when you start filling in this form. It has been constructed specially to focus the clients mind on their concern. This is always sent back to me in advance so I can prepare fully for each session. Hypnosis is special and it takes preparation.
Another thing to note is that often when we take any steps to change our ego mind will start to talk to us negatively. Sometimes we find ourselves questioning our choices, wondering if we made the right decision, etc. This is normal and often happens with many therapeutic processes. The trick is just to calm the mind and proceed.
When we meet for the first time we use this first session to discuss as much as possible the presenting concern. This is called the pre-talk. What the hypnotherapist must do is understand fully the issues and the triggers. We try to build up a picture of the client’s birth family, their current family and their general lifestyle. Understand, that hypnosis is not therapy so we use a particular style of questions and reflections. We are really trying understand the client’s concern from a hypnosis point of view. This take about 30 – 45 minutes and we use the same amount of time at each subsequent session, so the information builds.
Occasionally, in the first session some clients will go in and out of hypnosis. This is because often it is the first time that the mind is being exposed to this modality and as such the rational mind often stays a bit more alert. This is normal as we all have protective instincts that are aroused when we encounter something unfamiliar. Once familiar the client will experience deeper hypnosis as the sessions progress.
The hypnosis component takes about 45 minutes. In our first session we use it to explore the client’s concerns and to help them develop stronger and better resources in themselves. Often, clients come to hypnosis having explored many other modalities and they are tired or have been dealing with this issue for a long time and feel depleted. We build their mental strength using various techniques. The aim is for the client to leave feeling stronger and more hopeful and confident to resolve what is bothering them.
We do a debrief at the end of the session to understand anything that needs to be processed or prepared for the next session. Of particular importance in hypnosis is language. We want to ensure the client was comfortable with the words used and felt supported and to discover if there is anything they would like to change for the next session. Rapport is very important in hypnosis.
Our subsequent sessions drill down into the presenting concern and we use deeper and longer hypnosis to achieve this.
Most concerns are resolved in two to three sessions. Clients will report feeling a lot of relief after the second session. Hypnosis often brings a holistic healing in that many things can suddenly spontaneously resolve themselves once we the subconscious mind to agree to effect change. This is a really surprising and happy experience for the client.