WHAT’s holding you back?
New Year is a time for fresh starts.
GARRICK ALDER talks to a specialist whose job is to help you change your life.
STAGE hypnotists who make idiots out of spectators are one reason why most people will say ‘No’ to being hypnotised.
Hypnotism seems like magic and taps into a basic fear – letting someone else inside your head.
Sue Wilson, a qualified hypnotherapist and psychoanalyst, says: “Anyone can hypnotise someone else. It’s what you do with the experience that matters.”
In her Bedford High Street studio, Sue, 43, does a lot with hypnosis – from stopping smoking and helping mothers give birth to investigating personal problems.
Phobias and depression are Sue’s favourite subjects. She is in favour of drug therapy for depression but says hypnotherapy can speed recovery. “It’s lovely to see the difference when a depressive person has finished their therapy. “You wish you could show them before and after photographs of themselves.”
As for phobias, Sue is unshockable. “Fear of vomiting is a suprisingly common one. I’ve also seen people who are terrified of buttons or bridges. No phobia is a laughing matter for the person who has it.”
Sue says phobias are never what they seem to be. “The original cause of the phobia is different from the concious trigger (spiders for example). The original cause takes place in childhood and is later forgotten – and is what Sue aims to find.
Sue says: “Phobias link themselves to other parts of life, without you realising. I mentioned fear of vomiting. This can start out as a fear of choking, but gradually changes. Journeys become stressful for some of these people because they dread someone being travel sick. Some women just won’t have children due to their fear of morning sickness.”
I originally went to Sue to stop smoking. At my free consultation, a screening exercise (not under hypnosis) turned up a couple of phobias. To my suprise, Sue said flatly that she would not stop me smoking. She said that smoking was how I dealt with anxiety and that if I was stopped from smoking, my anxiety would worsen. If I wanted, she said, digging our the anxieties would eventually help me quit on my own accord.
And so I embarked on a course of hypno-analysis. The closest thing I can find to describe hypnotic recall is the way that unexpected smells can trigger sudden memories. We’ve all had it – a whiff of an old perfume (for example) and suddenly your transported back years – but just for a moment.
Under hypnosis, this flashback is sustained, allowing you to explore memories in great detail. Over eight sessions, spread over two months, Sue gently helped me trace my way back through my mind to locate the cause of my anxiety.
And eventually, we got there. What did I find? That’s for me to know. Your answers would be different.
For the money I spent I could have had ten decent nights out and would have achieved nothing.
My only regret about consulting Sue is that I didn’t do it years ago.