Frequently asked questions

How many sessions will it take?

Many issues can be completely dealt with in two to three sessions, and I always aim to help people to make a significant, positive change, right from their very first session.

What is hypnosis?

Hypnosis is a form of communication which allows positive suggestions to become a tangible, embodied experience.

Think of it like this. If I simply ask you to “relax”, and you nod your head and agree that “relaxing” sounds like a good idea, that’s not hypnosis. That’s just an intellectual discussion.

But if I ask you to focus your attention, to take a deep breath, and then to really allow your shoulders to loosen and relax… then those words are more likely to create a direct experience of relaxation in your body.

When words turn into actual experiences, that’s the beginning of hypnosis.

For therapeutic purposes, hypnosis is a very powerful tool for helping you to directly experience states of relaxation, self-acceptance, mental focus and optimism that you can then take with you into your life.

Will I be able to be hypnotised?

If you mean:

Will I be able to go into a profoundly deep state of hypnosis, where I lose track of time, drift out of my body, and feel like I’ve had an amazing, really unusual experience?

Then maybe. Some people do seem to naturally go into deeper trance states than others.

Hypnosis can sometimes be like daydreaming on a long train journey, where you’re deeply relaxed, drifting from thought to thought, but you can still hear the words being said to you. It doesn’t necessarily feel like something special and “out of this world”.

But if you mean:

Will I be able to use hypnosis to create new mental and emotional habits for myself, where I notice myself naturally responding differently after the session?

Then very probably. In my experience, just about everyone can use hypnosis as a practical, therapeutic tool to make lasting changes in their lives.

How do you hypnotise people? Do you use a swinging pendulum?

I’m afraid not! Most often I will start by asking you to just close your eyes, take a few, slow, deep breaths, and let your body relax.

Will I lose control?

No. No more than when you’re really enjoying a good film, or reading a great book, you are “controlled” by the actors or the author. It’s always your choice how much you become involved in a film or a book, and hypnosis is exactly the same.

What’s more, there is a long history of people using hypnosis to gain control over things that are unconscious for most people. This includes deliberately accessing states of peak performance, confidence and relaxation, and even controlling their blood pressure or the level of pain they feel during surgery.

Will I reveal anything I don’t want to in hypnosis?

No. The type of therapy I do does not involve unnecessary digging into childhood memories or finding “hidden subconscious forces”.

In solution-focused hypnotherapy we always concentrate on the goal you bring to therapy, and on the simplest steps to getting you there. You only need to discuss what you believe is relevant to therapy, and what you are comfortable talking about. The reason for using hypnosis is not to find out more information, but to reinforce the changes we have agreed on and to help them become instinctive for you.

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Joe Kao DHypPsych(UK)
Cambridge brief therapist and hypnotherapist


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