What is Hypnotherapy?

A conversation with Ewa (pronounced Eva) Litauer C.C.H.T., clarifies some of the mystery surrounding hypnotherapy.

Who seeks hypnotherapy?

There are two areas of clientele. One group would be those who are interested in resolving issues that they have been holding onto for a while; like relationship patterns that no longer work, or trauma-- such as emotional abuse, physical and sexual abuse, as well as people who have witnessed or experienced violence and/or persecution. The other group would be those who come in for a very specific issues, such as habit abatement (that is, smoking cessation, nail biting), people dealing with weight, body and food issues, or people recovering from surgeries, or chronic illnesses-- such as insomnia, migraines, pain management. I also help people with a specific skill set, like athletes who want to improve their performance, students studying for exams, public speakers who want to improve their ability and effectiveness. Finally, I help clients to develop tools which allow them to respond creatively to stressors in their lives, allowing them to move more confidently through life's challenges.

Why did you choose hypnotherapy as a medium?

I was trained as a psychotherapist, and once I discovered hypnosis as a medium, I realized how it rapidly engages the clients' own inner resources and wisdom, which significantly shortens the time spent in therapy. Clients become empowered, are less dependent on the therapist, and are able to use the tools that they have acquired in hypnotherapy when faced with future life challenges and transitions.

What is a session like?

In the first session I do a thorough intake, related to the presenting issue. We talk about any experiences that the client has had in the past with therapy or hypnosis, expectations, and goals. Then the client has his or her first hypnosis experience. We start with the breath and using the breath to bring the mind and body into a relaxed and safe place. I do work interactively, so I may ask questions, and the client may describe to me their experience. We often work with visualization, related to the goal that the client has set for him/herself. This relaxed state can last for 20 to 40 minutes, and then the client is brought out of the trance. Any new insights are integrated into practical and realistic life changes. I'm always amazed at the level of creativity that people come up with in addressing and solving their own issues.

What results can a client expect to see?

Probably one of the biggest, and most satisfying results is to see people release traumas and old stories that have held them back for so long. And seeing that sense of lightness and freedom is very inspiring, and it makes me feel hopeful. The more we do this work, the more we can release the traumas that have been caused by generations past, perhaps the less harm we do going forward. More concrete results? People simply feel better. They sleep better, they spend more time being pain and stress free, they can manage their emotional lives in a way that is satisfying and rewarding.

How many sessions does a client need to participate in before seeing results?

Usually people already feel some improvement or relief in one session. For something like habit abatement or lifestyle changes it takes about three weeks, or 4-6 sessions, to have the changes solidify. Those with severe trauma might need more time in order to release the issues at hand. For health conditions such as cancer, ongoing support is most effective as an adjunct therapy. For those wanting to lower their blood pressure, for example, or improve their general state of wellbeing, I see initial results after the first session. But sustained change requires a commitment to doing the work at home as well. The nice thing about hypnosis is that you can take the skills home with you, and it is effortless and enjoyable.

Excerpted from a 2007 Schizandra Health Center Newsletter