Hypnotherapy: how does it help?

Lyndall Briggs is a leading clinical hypnotherapist in Australia, with over 20 years of experience. She is the president of Hypnotherapy Australia, an organisation of hypnotherapists in the country. Here she talks to Her Collective about the practice and how it can be used to improve lives.

How does hypnotherapy help better our lives?

We look at your goals and how to reach them. We help you deal with past experiences that affect your present. A hypnotherapist helps you get into that relaxed state. We don’t always want to be in a relaxed calm state, but sometimes the danger isn’t physically there, it’s in the past.

People tell me where their stress levels are highest (work, home, marriage etc) and how they deal with stress. Together we find a better alternative to help them deal with the stresses in their lives.

You have patients who are mums, what do you work with them?

I work with parents to calm them down because that will influence how they deal with the child. The child picks up on the anxiety that mums feel.

As a parent, the original hypnotherapist is a mother. They rock a baby and sing lullabies and that lulls the baby. All that is in a tone that helps a baby go into a relaxed state. The mother goes into a relaxed state and takes the baby with her.

Lyndall Briggs.
Lyndall Briggs.

What qualities do we need to find from a hypnotherapist?

A good hypnotherapist is also a good counsellor. We just don’t ask patients to jump on the chair and be hypnotised. We need to know more about them. We find where their strengths lie and how they can use them to deal with their stresses.

Ours is more solution focused. We need to understand their history, look at the issue in the past and turn down the emotional response to it to focus on the present and the future.

What do you think about common misconceptions like hypnotising someone into robbing a bank?

I think it’s hilarious. Could I personally make you do anything you don’t want me to that is illegal or morally against your beliefs? I would be the king of the world if I can do that! You have to want to do it. No one else can make you do things through the power of suggestion. But I would say there are people more suggestible than others.

Can you help people with stuff like losing weight and quitting smoking?

If someone comes to me to lose weight, first of all, I need to know if they have gone to the doctor about their issues. If they’ve had blood tests and check ups done and so on. Most people can lose weight but if it’s an emotional issue, we need to address that. We need to overcome those reasons in the first place. Hypnotherapy will not stop you eating if you really want to push past that and if you haven’t dealt with the issues. It’s not magic.

If someone wants to stop smoking, I ask about why they started smoking in the first place. We look at the reasons behind it and tackle each reason individually. We need to see their model of the world.

Most of the mums who come to me need help and are overwhelmed with things. Sometimes people come in for smoking and we figure out that the reason they smoke is so they can leave and go outside just to get a breather. They go out and shut the door and smoke, that’s why they do it. I tell them they can still have a breather just without the smoking, and we work on that.

How do you find a good hypnotherapist then?

It is terrifying how many hacks there are out there. You can put your sign up tomorrow if you wanted. I strongly suggest you go to a legitimate organisation like Hypnotherapy Australia and look at the members. You know that the person has fulfilled the code of ethics. If you have a problem with them, you can go straight to their association and report them and the board will take action.

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