Some people when they speak to me are brave enough to admit to me “I don’t believe hypnotherapy works”. Well, in that case it’s unlikely to - for them. Belief plays an important part in making any change.
The role of belief in feeling better
Take pills to fix your headache.
You’re in the supermarket and see the cheap own brand paracetamol alongside a branded packet in its shiny packaging, which is much more expensive. If you believe the more expensive branded pills will work better, even though they have the same ingredients as the supermarket own label, then they may well do.
Eh, how can that be? It’s because of the placebo effect – i.e. the level of your belief in a treatment effectively affects its effectiveness. In a similar way if you give someone a sugar pill and they believe it’s paracetamol it may well work.
You may well have used the placebo effect as a parent. Ever kissed a bruised knee “better”?
Did you know there’s an opposite effect as well?
By the way the opposite is also true – if you give someone a sugar pill and tell them it’s going to have nasty side effects, then the person may well start to notice those side effects. That’s the opposite of the placebo effect and is called the nocebo effect.
If you think about it, all this demonstrates the wonderful power of the mind to create change. And it’s the mind we’re using when we work together with hypnotherapy, to make the changes a client wants.
Being sceptical is OK!
So, I never accept a client who says they don’t believe it will work. I advise them to keep their money and invest it in something they believe in.
Now of course being "skeptical", "not sure", "curious" or just "interested", is a whole different thing to "not believing". Many hypnotherapy clients start off in those camps.