The wonders of hypnosis

In the last decade or so an insurgence of research is starting to redefine the stereotypical ‘crystal-ball-chicken-walking-humiliation’ that is often associated with hypnosis. As a clinical hypnotherapist and psychotherapist, the reality is quite different and, interestingly neuroscience is now starting to prove that previously regarded ‘hippie-weird stuff’ i.e. meditation, yoga and deep relaxation (hypnosis) can be extremely effective to reduce stress and anxiety, increase happiness and build resilience.hypno-graphic

Research into the importance of the ‘default mode’, which is what we capitalise on during hypnosis, is just coming to the fore in relation to stress, anxiety and depression. This ‘default mode’ is what we engage when we are deeply relaxed or involved in a task that demands our single channelled attention. How many of us go into a bit of a trance when we get in our car? How many of us do our ‘best thinking’ when we go for a run or a walk? How many of us completely forget about everything when we are reading a book or engrossed in a film? Hypnosis is a form of deep relaxation or ‘trance’ that utilises this ‘default mode network’ and, it turns out that the more time we can spend effectively engaged in our default mode, the easier it will be for us to cope with whatever it is that life throws at us.

I learned first hand just how powerful the default mode can be. When I developed pre-natal depression, hypnotherapy came to my rescue. I felt desperate, terribly sad and quite frankly, on the edge. It was a scary place to be. I was signed off of work, put on a strong dose of anti-depressants and referred to a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist. All of which had a considerably underwhelming effect on my mental health. I’d effectively had hypnotherapy to treat IBS in the past so in a moment of desperation, picked up the phone and booked an appointment. The rest, as they say, is history.

Fascinatingly, we can actually reverse some of the effects of the ageing process, train ourselves out of a range of phobias and unwanted behaviours and dramatically increase our performance, through regular and deep, relaxation. Research is really starting to demonstrate that we can become the master of our lives if we learn how to master our minds.

If you are feeling anxious, depressed, like you have lost your confidence, would like to lose weight or have a phobia or physical problem (IBS, chronic pain syndrome etc) that is holding you back, hypnotherapy can help. We can also enable people to quit smoking, to improve performance in sport, with public speaking, or, for childbirth.

Annabel runs clinics at The Bell Surgery on Tuesday morning’s and at her home based clinic in central Henley on Monday andWednesday evenings. She works from The Spire in Reading and runs corporate lunchtime de-stress sessions regarding how to promote performance and reduce stress at Green Park in Reading.

Initial consultation and ‘lunchtime de-stress’ session tasters are free. To enquire or book a 1:1 appointment or a lunchtime de-stress session, please email To access free relaxation tracks, hints and tips to stay calm, sign up for our newsletter: Annabel will be writing regular features for us in the coming months.