Bob came to see me to improve his sleep pattern which he knew was affecting his health and energy. He had seen his GP and had tried to follow the advice. However, despite understanding the changes he knew he needed to take he was unable to break his long-term habits of waking in the night and relying on sleeping tablets. Bob had been a taxi driver working night duty in his younger years and he had been unable to change his sleeping habit once he retired from work.
Bob would also lie down on the sofa in the afternoon and sleep, which frustrated him as he wanted to be more productive during the day.
At the first session, I explained how habits are ingrained in our brain and hypnotherapy is a way of teaching the unconscious mind new habits and telling it that it no longer needed to use the old brain pathways. I described habits as being like pathways in a bush setting where well-worn paths had been repeatedly trodden and the brain took these paths automatically, however in hypnosis we can tell the unconscious mind that it no longer needed to use that path and he can build a new pathway and let the old pathway become overgrown.
Bob asked questions about being under my control as he had seen stage hypnotists and was concerned over their ‘power over the victim’ and that he would be made a ‘fool of’.
I reassured him by describing that there are different types of people who go to these shows; the introverts don’t put their hand up and the extroverts make themselves well known to the hypnotist by waving madly in the air to say ‘PICK ME’. The hypnotist knows that they’re an exhibitionist; I explained that nobody does anything against their core values or their own wishes.
After getting to know Bob it became clear that he hadn’t considered how the body repairs and restore function whilst asleep. Bob’s underlying belief is that sleep is a waste of his time; he is very aware of his advancing years and feels every moment is precious. It was important for Bob to understand that quality sleep would give him more energy during the day.
Hypnotherapy was used over three sessions, on his second visit, Bob reported that “nothing much had changed”. On further questioning Bob realized that he hadn’t fallen asleep during the day at all and he had slept through the night. He seemed surprised that these changes had happened without even being aware, this is because changes feel very natural as if it has always been this way.
Various hypnotic suggestions and techniques where used over the next two sessions, which not only addressed sleep but general confidence and his outlook on growing older.
Bob feedback after being re-orientated after each session was that he didn’t remember being able to visualize much when I described any stories or images to him, like waking up from a strange dream but he knew that he was in the room with me all the time. He felt it was a nurturing and comforting feeling which was very relaxing.
Everybody has a different experience in hypnosis as everybody is very individual, the therapist is providing the therapy but the client is creating their own internal world.