hypnotherapy - Christine Totterdell
Dip Hyp CS, MHS
I'm an experienced hypnotherapist who understands that anybody – even the most secure or 'together' people – can hit an impasse. When this happens, it's tempting to put a problem on the back burner. We do the best we can and get on with it. And that can work, unless the problem starts to spill over. I’ve helped many people who felt they had exhausted all their options take back control of their lives. If you know in your heart that it's time to make a change for good, perhaps I can help you too.
What is Hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is a collaborative effort between client and hypnotherapist that uses hypnosis, and related approaches, to bring about a desired change from the unconscious mind (the part of the mind thought to house our emotions, beliefs and habitual responses).
There are many ways to approach hypnotherapy. This is because the hypnotic state itself is not therapeutic: it’s the vehicle for change. For this reason, many hypnotherapists (myself included) integrate a variety of techniques and frameworks from related fields into their individual practices, depending on their own particular interests or specialties.
My approach to hypnotherapy is cognitive-experiential based. It’s an approach that’s informed by neuroscience and places emphasis on addressing the emotional meaning of a learned pattern or memory likely to be driving a problem.
Yet, the work we do will be less about following a bunch of protocols, and more about a personal, engaging and meaningful experience. And essentially, that’s what effective hypnotherapy aims to do: facilitate a compelling experience that brings about deep and lasting change.
Specific conditions treatable:
The majority of people I see come to work on fears/phobias, letting go of past hurts, nail biting or help in giving up (or cutting down) on sweets and crisps.
Other areas in which I’ve helped clients manage or overcome include: stress, anxiety & worry, exam/presentation nerves, selective/picky eating, weight issues, lifestyle changes/adjustments, relationships, management of perceived pain, shyness, confidence/self-esteem issues, sports and creative arts performance and sleep problems.
It’s a varied list representing the last several years, but it’s not exhaustive. If you have a particular problem not listed, you are welcome to contact me with any queries.
How it works:
You might be familiar with the idea that the mind works in distinct yet complementary ways, e.g. rationally/emotionally, controlled/automatically and so on. The conscious and unconscious mind that hypnotherapy typically refers to embodies this concept:
In basic terms, the conscious mind is the part of the mind that operates in a rational, deliberate and effortful way. It’s your better judgement – the voice of reason. It analyses and questions things. It takes its time and plans ahead. When you learn something new, solve a problem, set a goal or exert your will, you’re using your conscious mind. In short, anything that you do that requires reason, mental effort or willpower falls under this construct.
In contrast, the unconscious mind operates in an emotional, visceral and impulsive way. It’s a gut instinct or a snap judgement. Sometimes, it's irrational – but it means well. It’s beating your heart and blinking your eyes for you right now. When it detects an injury it alerts you via the pain response. It frees you to do many things such as walking, without having to think about it, once learned and committed to memory. It's also where your beliefs and habitual patterns reside.
While we tend to think decisions and behaviours are made on a purely conscious level, the unconscious can play a role too. To help illustrate, the conscious mind is like a rider steering a horse (the unconscious mind). It’s the one in control; it decides where to turn, when to stop and so on. However, if the horse gets scared, hungry or tired, it can kick up a fuss or derail the rider with great speed and force. (Parents, and perhaps cat owners, can likely relate!)
When things become problematic, it’s not so much the idea that the unconscious mind is trying to sabotage our efforts, as it is a matter of efficiency and economy. However, a response that once proved useful may no longer be relevant or in our best interests. An example of this is when the unconscious mind keeps firing off the fight-flight-freeze response when rationale insists there’s nothing to fear.
Simply put, hypnotherapy works by appealing to the unconscious mind in a 'language' it understands: metaphor, imagery, stories, i.e. sensory-rich experiences and associations vs. logical arguments and hard facts. When both parts of the mind are working from the same page, change can happen more readily.
What happens in a session?
Potential clients are first offered a free telephone assessment and consultation before making the journey for a full session. It’s an opportunity for you to discuss your problem confidentially and to gain a better insight into hypnotherapy and whether it’s right for you. You’ll also have a better idea as to how I work and what you can expect from the initial and any subsequent sessions. If you decide that you'd like to work with me, it will be with a clear and informed understanding and with a mutually agreed goal in place. (In-person assessments and consultations are also available by request and are subject to a fee.)
Each session is distinct and varies from person-to-person. Whether we use waking hypnosis or a deep hypnotic state alongside any number of interventions – it will be specific to you and your goals. I believe in a balanced approach that promotes your autonomy, so I’ll aim to work with you on both a conscious and unconscious level. This can take the form of incorporating insightful and experiential exercises into sessions to showing you some tools you can use going forward.
In all instances, you can expect to be supported in a thoughtful and non-judgemental way. While I take the work we do seriously, I have a down-to-earth manner and often bring some lightheartedness into sessions; humour can have an uplifting effect on the mind and body. Plus, it's a great way to get a message across to both the logical and emotional parts of the mind.
Some clients, understandably, feel some apprehension at first, but it subsides when they realise that they are aware and in control at all times.
How many sessions?
On average, I see clients 2-4 times, but it can vary either way. As a general guide, specific fears/phobias (flying, spiders) and habits (nail biting, chocolate) can be resolved in as little as 1-2 sessions. Other issues such as sleep problems may require more. In experience, clients often notice improvements after the initial session.
Hypnotherapy is a brief therapy, and I aim to make every session count. So, while we might agree to a certain amount of sessions, we’ll review your progress so that, at any time, you can make a valued judgement – it’s your life, after all.
Please contact Christine for available days/times.
Length of sessions:
Initial session: 90 min
Subsequent sessions: 60 min
Prices per session:
Initial session: £95
Subsequent sessions: £75