Tony Cook is a registered nurse who was always drawn to the healing process. He became interested in hypnotherapy techniques after meeting a healer in his mid 20′s who used guided visualisation therapy to successfully treat his childhood trauma.
It changed my life completely. If I was to divide my life in half that would be the line – before I saw this healer and after I saw her. I thought if I could do that for people that would be an amazing gift.
Over years I tried a lot of different therapies. Some worked and some did not work well for me. A few years ago I signed up to do a hypnotherapy course and during that course I realised that what the healer I worked with in my 20′s had done was hypnotherapy. I finished the course and did some further training in hypnotic induction, PTSD, addiction, depression and anxiety. After that I searched for the woman who helped me in my 20′s and did some training with her – she’s since retired.
I’m a hypnotherapist, which means I practice guided healing using relaxation techniques. I guide people through letting go of traumas, hidden belief patterns, traumatic memories and fears. Basically we are feeling people – everything we do is based on how we feel. So if we want to achieve something in the future and we keep procrastinating, that depends on how we are feeling. There’s a feeling that is getting in the way, whether we are aware of it or not. For example, if someone comes to see me to manage their procrastination, I would look at what’s behind the procrastination. It’s often fear holding them back to some degree. Different kinds of belief patterns like: “I’m not good enough” or feeling like a failure. Anxiety is a big one. Any kind of anxiety is resolved quite quickly and quite well with this process.
When you are in hypnosis your brain is in a Theta brainwave pattern. You’ve got Beta which is a normal day to day brainwave pattern and Alpha which is a light day dream and theta, which is deep day dreaming. When you are driving your car and you don’t remember the last set of traffic lights – that’s Theta. Theta brainwaves are also present in REM sleep so when you’re dreaming it’s like deep hypnosis. There’s nothing magical about hypnosis, the only thing that makes it hypnosis and not daydreaming is having a hypnotist there to guide you into a receptive mental state.
Hypnosis makes you more in tune with what you are feeling and the therapy is what comes after the hypnosis. We use guided visualisation which makes the visualisations more vivid and more tangible. All hypnotherapists will work differently and have different tools and skills. In order to solve a problem some hypnotherapists will put positive ideas on top of some negative feelings and thoughts whereas what I will do is address the negative feelings and thoughts and remove them.
Putting the Past Back in the Past
As an example, when someone has experienced a traumatic event they are traumatised in an instant. People believe they have to live with these events their whole lives. However, if something can happen in an instant it can be undone quite quickly as well. So when people experience a trauma often they will carry it with them and when they think about it the memory will be quite vivid. From my own experience these traumas can be carried like they are a part of you. Once a trauma is resolved through this process the memory fades and loses detail and actually gets put back in the past so when you think about it the event will actually feel like something that happened a long time ago rather than something more recent. Once that happens the memory goes from your short term memory to your long term memory where it becomes simply something that’s happened, no longer something affecting you or holding you back.
Managing Ongoing Stress
Consider that everything is a reaction to the past so if something is making you stressed now it’s because it reminds you of something that’s happened in the past. Often there’s some memory, you don’t need to know what the memory is, you don’t need to know why you are stressed. If you address any past stresses you address what is happening now. If it’s something that’s actually happening now and this is something new that you’ve never experienced before, again it’s just a feeling in your body that you are dealing with. So I would just guide you to letting go of that feeling in your body. If suddenly you find yourself overwhelmed with a lot of things to do in a short time and things aren’t going right, if you just let go of how you feel about that, what’s left is just things to do. The overwhelm is just a feeling, fear is just a feeling. It’s not that feelings aren’t important, they actually determine the quality of your life, but the feelings aren’t you. You can actually just let them go. It’s a process, I guide people to let go of these feelings and as the feelings leave their body then they start to be able to live outside of the negative feelings.
The process varies depending on the person. When someone comes in very stressed to begin with I’ll talk them through relaxing and that in itself is enough to put them in a hypnotic trance. Hypnosis doesn’t feel any different to not being hypnotised. It’s similar to a deep daydream and no one ever comes out of a day dream and says “that felt weird”. The hypnotherapy I do is not like stage hypnosis, it’s not anything magic. The session will start with me getting the person in touch with how they feel and talking them through relaxing. Sometimes if there’s a lot of feeling in their body I just get them to focus on how they are feeling and this will immediately put them in a hypnotic trance. Sometimes I’ll do a hypnotic induction which in a few minutes will guide them into a hypnotic state.
Typically most people will have three sessions. Almost everyone will experience a profound change after one session and for some people one session is enough. Usually in three sessions you can change someone’s life and the whole problem can be resolved.
Hypnosis can be used in a clinical setting to treat issues such as:
Depression and anxiety
Drug and alcohol problems
Consider that most problems are a reaction to how you feel whether you are aware of it or not. If you can address how you feel then the problem can just disappear.
People who come to see me who have seen psychologists in the past say that it was helpful when they were seeing the psychologist but when they stopped seeing the psychologist the problem was still there. So I will actually address the problem and address how you feel, not give you ways to manage the problem, but actually resolve the problem.
Done correctly hypnotherapy is a powerful tool that provides a pathway to the subconscious where deep and lasting change can take place – Tony Cook