In-person hypnotherapy vs recordings

I have been using mind training recordings from time to time for a few decades. And yes, for convenience I am using these terms interchangeably: mind training, mindset training, hypnotherapy, self-hypnosis, guided visualization. It’s all a practice of listening and visualizing that marshals the imagination to shape our physical, mental and emotional state.

I discovered self-hypnosis decades ago, I have periodically enjoyed the deep relaxation and inspiring visualizations. But I wondered if I could unlock more benefit (and more tailored to my situation) by working in person with a hypnotherapist. I spoke with one of the leaders in the field and he recommended someone local to me in Berkeley, who I saw four or five times. Here’s my take:

  • I think you can likely get the full benefit with just the recordings I’m recommending.  Unless you find it impossible to sit through one of these recordings (perhaps you find yourself arguing with things you hear on them, or your mind wanders constantly). In those cases you might find it easier with a live hypnotherapist. But first I would counsel patience and try them a few more times, but in early morning before your mind really engages with the world and your day.
  • Senses and Customization: One concrete benefit of in-person sessions was being guided to engage all the senses, which the recordings don’t emphasize. When I imagine my dog laying his head on my lap (during one of the opportunities to recall a loving feeling), I imagine the softness of the fur on her ears, the earthy/woody smell of her, the little sighing exhalations she makes. Recording the sessions meant that I had customized recordings that incorporated imagery and language that I found particularly resonant.

So in the interest of economizing somewhere, I would recommend trying the recordings twice daily and seeing if your experience deepens over time. If it doesn’t, get some support from me or a hypnotherapist with this essential element of your healing.

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