you can’t go back and
change the beginning, but
you can start where you are and change the ending.
– CS Lewis
Cherie James |FAQs | Cognitive Hypnotherapy
frequently asked questions
Q: What do we mean by hypnotherapy?
People tend to think of hypnotherapy as something that is done to them. This couldn’t be further from the truth. You won’t be ‘under my control’, you will not lose control of your mind or body, and you won’t be going into a deep sleep. You’re in control. I’m merely there as a facilitator and guide. Sometimes you may close your eyes and listen to me, but you will always have the sense of where you are and what you are doing and can talk or open your eyes whenever you want.
These conversations with your unconscious mind lead you to leave our sessions feeling a little bit ‘different’ and you’ll notice changes starts to appear in the way you act & feel. While they start small, these little course corrections gradually grow into much bigger changes. You start to notice how you are thinking differently and behaving differently – moving towards your future self.
Q: Will it Work for Me?
Everyone is capable of change. Whether you will effect that change is largely down to you. Cognitive Hypnotherapy isn’t a sticking plaster or a miracle pill. It’s a process of mental reprogramming. Our sessions will guide you to learn how to think, behave, and feel differently.
Since I began practicing as a therapist, I’ve noticed some common traits among the clients who have made the most positive changes in their lives. They are curious, willing to learn about themselves, and being prepared to put in the work. I can guide you. And I will support you always. But nobody can do it for you.
Q: What is Trance?
Trance is an everyday phenomenon. Studies suggest that approximately 90% of our behaviour is unconscious. That means we are only truly in control of our actions one tenth of the time. In Cognitive Hypnotherapy, we see trance as a naturally occurring, everyday state. If you think of times you catch yourself ‘day dreaming’ or being ‘on auto-pilot’ – these are all examples of trance states where you are physically present, but your mind is somewhere else. So, if we’re at the mercy of our unconscious mind almost all of the time, then it stands to reason it’s the first lever to pull if we want to effect change in our thought processes, feelings and behavioural patterns. Cognitive Hypnotherapy helps you to understand these processes, and ultimately take control of the ones that serve you poorly. The work of the Cognitive Hypnotherapist is not to hypnotise you, but to help de-hypnotise you from these unhelpful states, and give you back control of your life.
Everyone experiences trance slightly differently. But in general, you will feel relaxed but still aware of whatever is going on around you – my voice, background noise, and the content of your thoughts. Although it is not the same as sleep, many people feel refreshed afterwards. Others feel little difference after being in trance. But most people comment on what a pleasant experience it was. Some of these trances are the result of significant emotional events in our lives. For example, a traumatic childhood experience with a dog that has led to a lifelong fear of dogs. It’s when you encounter a problem like this that you may find Cognitive Hypnotherapy life changing. Whatever it is, I will listen to your problem, and together we will explore how that problem has been affecting your life. We’ll then work together to disrupt that pattern, using interventions and hypnosis techniques. Together, we can undo the negative feelings you’re experiencing and move you towards your own personal solution state.
Q: Is it possible to get stuck in hypnosis?
No, this isn’t possible. Think of hypnosis as being similar to day-dreaming. You may day-dream, but you always re-focus, snap back, and become fully conscious of yourself again. Even if I were to leave you in trance and walk out of the room, you would in time either drift into sleep or open your eyes. The problem occurs not when we’re ‘stuck’ in hypnosis, but when we’re stuck in the fantasy our minds have created for ourselves, to protect us from whatever threat it is we perceive. Essentially, Cognitive Hypnotherapy helps you to snap out of the ‘trance’ state that is negatively impacting your life.
Q: Can I be made to do anything I do not want to do?
Even if I wanted to – which of course I do not – I cannot make you do anything against your will. The aim of our client-therapist relationship is not to control you in any way – it’s to free you from what does control you currently. Rest assured, that involves nothing but treating you in professional, non-judgmental, and ethical way.
Q: How many sessions will I need?
It’s not a case of X problem requires Y sessions. Every person I treat is unique, and so too is their own road to where they want to get to. We never know where any session may lead, or what it may uncover.
What I can say with certainty, is that one of the most significant things to impact the course of your treatment will be your willingness to commit to the process. Particularly your commitment in between sessions – working through the exercises I give you.
Q: Where are sessions held?
I can see clients in my therapy rooms (in Hersham, Esher or Wimbledon) or online using Zoom.
Occasionally I may see clients in their own home if their needs make this necessary, although it has to be a suitable environment for treatment to be effective.
Q: How do I book a session?
Please see my contact page to send me a message or call me. If you call or email and I am not available then I promise I will call you back as soon as I can, usually within 24 hours.
Q: What is expected of a client?
Your willing engagement is essential if we’re to achieve what I know we can achieve together. As is your openness and honesty. And you can expect the same from me.
I may give you tasks to complete between sessions too. These won't be too onerous, but it is often said that the biggest changes happen between sessions, as your unconscious mind absorbs and processes what we’ve been working through. Your full participation in these tasks is a necessary part of treatment.
Q: Do you offer a guarantee?
No therapist can – in good faith – offer a guarantee. Nobody can do this for you, or to you. It’s a process we have to work through together. What I can guarantee is you will have my full professional commitment to your treatment and that I will guide and support you as best I’m able. A great many of my clients have found this process has led to positive lasting changes in their lives – and I hope you can too.
Q: Cancellation Policy
If a session is canceled with less than 24hrs notice, I reserve the right to charge up to 100% of the session fee.
Q: Are you insured?
Yes, I hold specialised therapy cover with professional liability and public liability both covered up to £1million each.
Q: Is it Confidential?
Definitely. I am bound by the NCH Code of Ethics – not least of all my own ethical principles. Your treatment will be conducted in a safe, comfortable, and totally private environment – where you feel you can explore anything without fear of judgment or embarrassment.
Q: I feel quite slightly embarrassed to seek help. Is this normal?
Of course! It takes great bravery to open up to anyone about the struggles we’re experiencing, or even just the fact we’re experiencing a struggle at all. But the end of your initial consultation, those fears or concerns will melt away. It’s one of many great barriers you’ll pass by. Rest assured, you’re not alone. And during your initial consultation, we will of course discuss any reservations or queries you have before making any form of commitment.
Q: Are you governed by Professional Bodies?
My practice is fully insured and governed by the code and ethics of three regulating professional bodies; NCH, QCHPA.
As a member of the NCH & QCHPA there are certain people whom I cannot work with. If you have ever been diagnosed with the following conditions I am afraid that I will not be able to work with you:
• Epilepsy (the deep relaxation of hypnotherapy is contra-indicated)
• Psychosis (Bi-Polar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Personality Disorder)