A few years ago, I was sitting by a river when I heard a wailing sound. On investigation, it turned out that someone was freaking out. I talked to her, and she became calm in less than 3 minutes.
So how long does hypnosis take to work? Some effects of hypnosis can be near instantaneous, while others need time to grow. In this article, we’ll go over the kinds of things that hypnosis can help with, how to set yourself up for success, and how long it takes hypnosis to work.
How to set yourself up for success
There are two things that hold people back from success more than anything else.
And when you get these two things right, quite often everything else is easy.
What are the two things?
Simple: You have to know what result you want, and why it’s important to you.
What result do you want?
It probably sounds ridiculous, but a lot of the time we don’t know what we want. We think we do, but when it comes down to it, often we don’t.
So the first thing to do when you’re wanting to achieve any kind of result is to work out what that result is.
The result can be anything you might choose.
Maybe you want to lose 20 pounds. Perhaps you want to quit smoking for life. Or it could be that you want to be able to present on stage without being terrified.
Whatever result you’d like to achieve, the very first step is to define it.
If you’re familiar with SMART goals, you can use those for this part.
But really, all you have to do is work out what result you want, and then figure out how you’ll know when you’ve got it.
If your result is losing 20 pounds, that’s easy to tell. Simply weigh yourself repeatedly, note down your weight, and notice when it’s 20 pounds less than it is now.
On the other hand, if you want to quit smoking for life, it’s a little trickier. Can you spot the tiny flaw with this result? The only way you can know definitively that you’ve succeeded with that one is to be lying on your death bed having not smoked.
In cases like this where it’s a change for life, it’s good to have milestones. If your goal is to quit smoking for life, set your first milestone as 3 weeks without smoking. That one is easy to measure. And it’s useful because 3 weeks is how long it takes for the brain to recover from nicotine damage.
And stage fright? That one’s easy too. You’ll know when you’ve achieved it, because you’ll be able to stand on a stage and present effectively in front of an audience. You’ll probably still have butterflies, because most seasoned presenters do. The key is the outcome: You got on the stage and delivered an engaging presentation without significant discomfort.
Whatever result you’re going for, decide what that result is and how you’ll know when you’ve achieved it.
Why is that result important to you?
Having a goal is not quite enough.
If we want to achieve our goals, we need to know why those goals are important to us.
Go deeper than the surface level stuff.
The way you do this is by asking yourself why you want that result, taking a few moments to imagine having it, and then checking in with yourself and asking if that’s really why.
Most people take a few tries to get this right.
For example, if you ask someone why they want to lose weight, quite often they’ll come up with vague answers like feeling healthier, being fitter and so on. Sometimes it will be that their doctor told them to. These all sound plausible, because they’re true.
The problem with them is that they’re usually all externally oriented. They’re stuff that other people have told us.
They’re not usually the reason why the goal is important to you.
The reason that most people want to lose weight tends to be tied up in their own self-confidence. In short: We’ll feel better about ourselves when we’ve reached our goal.
If you want to achieve any kind of result, work out why having that result is important to you.
I’m a certified results coach so feel free to drop me a line if you’d like my help with getting more of what you want out of life.
Coaching calls are usually via online audio, and I’ve helped people all over the world.
What can hypnosis help with?
When problems exist out in the world, they’re usually quite easy for us to solve.
If our garden floods every time it rains, we either dig a drainage ditch, or hire someone to solve it for us.
Sometimes implementing the solution can require more resources than we have, but we can still see the solution.
If we want to fly to the moon, most of us know that we can learn about physics and engineering and eventually gain enough knowledge to do it. But there’s still the problem that we might not be able to afford to build the necessary spacecraft.
Hypnosis can’t really directly help with that kind of problem much.
Indirectly, hypnosis may help a lot.
If we know that we need to understand physics and engineering, we can use hypnosis to help build our motivation to keep us studying. We can also use hypnosis to help us to appreciate that yes, we really are smart enough to do it.
Most of the tricky problems that we have in life tend to be caused by unconscious roadblocks within ourselves.
Hypnosis works with the unconscious mind, and it largely works by simply replacing those unconscious roadblocks with something that’s of more benefit to us.
As a rule, if the problem exists inside your head, hypnosis may help with it.
And if the problem is external, hypnosis may help you to feel better about it, but often can’t fix the problem.
No amount of hypnosis will cause your driveway to magically pave itself. But hypnosis may motivate you to either acquire the skills, or pay someone to do it for you.
If you want to be able to feel calmer more often, hypnosis is brilliant for that sort of thing.
There are limits.
As a rule, if there is some kind of physical limitation, hypnosis can’t help with it.
So how do you tell whether hypnosis can help?
If the problem exists inside your mind to some degree, hypnosis may be able to help with it.
And if the problem exists out in the world somewhere, hypnosis won’t help with the problem directly, but may help you to come up with a solution for it.
This is why you see such long lists of things that hypnosis may help with when you look at a typical hypnotherapist’s website.
There is a mental component to virtually all problems that we can have.
And because of that, hypnosis may help with almost everything.
In some cases, like when we want to lose weight, quit smoking, control our pain, feel more relaxed, have more confidence, overcome anxiety and panic attacks, overcome fears and phobias, and a whole host of other problems where our perception of them is entirely inside our minds, hypnosis may help directly.
In other cases, such as when there is a problem out in the world, hypnosis may help us to take on the right state of mind to more easily solve the problem.
Instant change vs long-term change
Have you ever had an epiphany?
Of course you have.
By the time we’re adults, everyone has. Although some of us are good at hiding them from ourselves.
One moment we had a set of beliefs about the world. Then we have a single thought, and our entire belief structure changes.
The change is instantaneous.
Other changes take longer.
If we want to safely lose 100 pounds, most of us can only safely lose about 2 pounds a week. No amount of hypnosis will safely get rid of 100 pounds in less than a year.
So what we need to do for any change is work out how long it’s reasonable for it to take.
There are some simple guidelines.
If the change requires little more than a shift in our internal beliefs, such as when we quit smoking, the change can be instantaneous. This is why many people quit smoking after a single session of hypnosis.
Similarly, if the change is a simple state change, such as someone is having a panic attack and we want them to become calm in the moment, a skilled hypnotist can implement that kind of change in about 3 minutes. This is not solving the underlying problem, just helping the person to change their state in the moment.
If the change is quite large, we may have to do it in parts to get the results we desire. This means it will take longer. When we want to overcome deep-seated anxieties, it may take several sessions, and in each one the problem is whittled away a little more until nothing is left of it. Or at least until it is reduced to the level you’re happy with.
And if the change has a physical component, such as when we want to lose weight, the physical system can only move so fast. If it takes a year to safely lose the amount of weight we want to lose, not only can hypnosis not speed that up, it would be inadvisable to use it to do so. Hypnosis may help to keep us on track for that year, and for the time afterwards.
For any change that you’d like to have happen, it’s important to know how long it will take to see results.
If you’re quitting smoking, it’s immediately obvious. Either you light up. Or you don’t.
On the other hand, our weight can fluctuate by a few pounds every day. This means that when we want to lose weight it could potentially be weeks before we see any kind of measurable change at all.
This is the first step: Work out how long it’s reasonable for the change to take.
How long does it take for self-hypnosis to work?
With self-hypnosis, we learn to hypnotize ourselves and then apply a process to cause change.
There are quite a few different ways of doing this.
The biggest issue with self-hypnosis is that we can have a tendency to try to apply it to big problems without first practicing.
You wouldn’t try driving a car on a busy freeway without first learning how to drive.
But people regularly try to use self-hypnosis on problems that are too big for them at that moment in time.
Think back to when you first learnt to read.
At first those letters were just meaningless random squiggles. You studied and practiced and before long they started to make sense. Not long after that, you learnt to form words.
As you’re reading this, you’re probably not thinking about the letters at all. From your perspective, you look at the screen, and ideas form in your head. It’s like I’m talking to you.
Getting to that point took time and effort.
If we want self-hypnosis to work, it’s important to appreciate that it’s a skill, and that like any other skill, it will take time and practice to get good at it.
Once we’ve applied this time and practice to build our skill, self-hypnosis can be as fast as seeing a hypnotherapist.
Depending on the change you’d like to have happen, changes with self-hypnosis can take any amount of time from being instantaneous to taking months or even years.
Generally, small changes can happen more quickly than bigger ones.
If you’d like to know more about how to hypnotize yourself, you might enjoy my article on how to do hypnosis on yourself. The article includes a simple self-hypnosis process that you can follow.
How long do hypnosis recordings take to work?
Hypnosis recordings are generally acknowledged as being the least effective form of hypnosis.
This is largely because there is no feedback from the hypnosis subject to the hypnotist. In turn, this means that the hypnosis subject has to take on some of the responsibilities of the hypnotist if they want it to work.
As a rule, you’ll need to listen to most hypnosis recordings daily for about 30 days for them to start to work. Getting the full results may take much longer.
I’ve found that I can greatly increase the effectiveness of hypnosis recordings by using self-hypnosis to ensure I’m in hypnosis rather than relying on the recording.
As I mentioned in the last section, I’ve written an article with a simple process that you can follow to learn to hypnotize yourself. With a bit of practice, this may help you to supercharge any hypnosis recordings you might listen to.
How long does it take for hypnotherapy to work?
The huge advantage of seeing a hypnotherapist is that they’re already an expert.
With self-hypnosis, all of the responsibility is on you to do everything.
With recordings, the responsibility for the change is offloaded onto the recording to some extent, but you still have to set up the environment in such a way that you can go into hypnosis.
When you see a hypnotherapist, you’re guided through every part of the process.
Because the change happens inside your mind, you’ll still have to do the work.
But think about it for a moment.
How much easier is it to do something new when you’ve got an experienced guide there with you checking that you’re doing each step correctly, helping you to move back on course when you go off track, and taking you by the hand to lead you to where you want to go?
It’s a lot easier, right?
On top of that, your hypnotherapist has experience, so we know how long most problems typically take to resolve.
We know that if you want to quit smoking, you’ll probably do it in one session. We also know that the brain takes around 3 weeks to heal from damage caused by nicotine, so we can check in on you to give you the best possible chance of staying on track.
We know that if you have severe social anxiety, it’s realistically going to take between 6 and 12 sessions to resolve.
And we know that if you want to lose weight, we’ll need a few sessions to make the changes, with followup sessions for potentially a year or more as you lose the weight and keep it off.
How long it takes for hypnotherapy to work depends on the size of the change, and whether it has physical components. For most problems that people see hypnotherapists about, this is typically 6 to 12 sessions.
How to get more help with hypnosis
If you’ve got a change that you think might be helped with hypnosis, you might like to drop me a line and we can have a chat about it.
My hypnotherapy sessions are fully online and I see customers from all over the world. All you need is somewhere quiet where you’re unlikely to be disturbed, and a device and internet connection that supports video calls.
These days that’s just about all of them.
And of course, I’m happy to chat about it before you sign up for anything.
So if you’d like some help to overcome any kind of problem, please feel free to drop me a line for a chat.
I’m here to help.