Below are some of the questions people often ask me before coming to see me for help in improving their
lives. Look through and find the answers to any questions you may have, and then email or call me for an appointment (in person or via Skype).
If you have further questions that aren't covered here, please get in touch and I'll answer them as best I can.
- Mike Reeves-McMillan,
Hypnotherapist and Health Coach, Titirangi, West Auckland
Q: Do you
help people lose weight? A: Yes, my "Positive Eating" programme is very successful in
helping people to think, feel and behave differently around food, and many
of my clients have told me that they find it easy and natural to change
their eating behaviour even after the first session.
I do recommend a series of sessions, though, so that the change becomes
long-term. Almost any change will help people lose weight in the short
term, but most of them are not sustainable as a lifestyle, and that's
where you will see the real benefits.
Do you help people stop smoking? A: Yes, I
have helped many people to stop smoking.
Does hypnotherapy really work for smokers? A: A recent
study (Hypnosis for smoking cessation: A randomized trial, Carmody et
al., Nicotine and
Tobacco Research 10:5,
May 2008) supports the use of hypnotherapy as one effective
part of a
stop-smoking strategy, and the study they carried out used very similar
methods to the ones I use. Stopping smoking is difficult, and
only one person in 20 can do so without help, so I make use of as many
techniques as possible to increase your chances as much as I can. I
even issue subsidy cards for nicotine replacement therapy, though I'm
usually opposed to using substances, because I believe that NRT can
help people stop. (I don't give them to everyone, only to those who
they are likely to help according to a standard assessment.)
Q: Can you make my partner/spouse/son/daughter/mother/father/brother/sister stop smoking? A:No, I can't "make" anyone do anything that they don't really want to do. About 30% of people who smoke don't actually want to stop,
and the other 70% need to be committed to it and persevere in order to succeed. Having seen the outcome when someone is brought along to me by a family member rather than coming of their own volition,
I will now only work with smokers who are motivated enough to make the appointment for themselves, because they personally want to stop smoking for their own reasons and not someone else's.
Q: How many sessions will I need? A:For smokers I recommend at least 2 sessions, one to deal with the smoking and one to deal with the stress that is the most common reason that people start smoking again. A third session a little further down the line can also be a good idea.
I would recommend you to anyone else that want to give up smoking. As for the stress management, feedback from my work friends is positive...
- Cheryl Carter
I picked up the cigarettes again when I separated from my partner, but I am back on the smokefree horse and have gone back to some of the techniques
you taught me and I am doing well again.
- Mike P.
hypnotherapy really help with physical symptoms such as asthma,
allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, pain or the side-effects of
medical treatment? A: It
certainly can. Current research is finding more and more connections
between the mind and body, and many people with these symptoms have
known for a long time that their state of mind - particularly stress -
has a lot to do with the severity of their symptoms. Please note that I
don't claim to "cure" any physical condition, and I am not a doctor.
You should always talk to your doctor about any physical symptom before
coming to see me. However, I can help you to increase your degree of
voluntary control over the processes which are involved in producing the
symptoms, or which are making them worse than they need to be.
Q: Do you
work with depression or addiction? A: Not
currently. I refer clients with these issues to my colleague Pauline Kam.
Q: Do you
work with children? A: Because of their vivid imaginations, children respond very well to
hypnotherapy, but the techniques for working with children (under 12) are
different and I am not trained in that area. Pauline Kam is trained in
working with children and is very good.
Q: Do you
offer hypnotherapy for natural childbirth? A: No, but
my colleague Roger
is trained in that area. Roger is a very experienced and respected
therapist, who trained me and many of the other therapists in NZ.
Q: What is
hypnotherapy? What do you actually do? A:
Hypnotherapy is making use of the natural power of your mind to make
important changes in your life. I help you to do this by guiding you
through a process of imagination, focussing the abilities that your mind already has. I'm not any kind of magician or
miracle worker (despite what my clients occasionally say). I just know
how to help you find your own internal levers and pull on them for yourself.
hypnotherapy spooky, unpleasant or dangerous? A:
Hypnotherapy is natural, relaxing and a very enjoyable experience. It
is entirely safe, physically, mentally and spiritually. Take a look at
my page on the 10 most
common myths about hypnosis if you need a longer answer to
hypnotherapy supported by any scientific research? A:
Very much so. Hypnotherapy has been studied scientifically for a long time, and you can see some of the results on the Hypnosis and Suggestion website.
Q: Is hypnotherapy
like the hypnosis shows you see on TV or on the stage? A: Like
practically everything else, hypnotherapy is not like what you see on
TV (unless you're watching something like Paul McKenna's I Can Change Your Life,
and even then, he's a lot more dramatic than I am. It's a personality
thing.) Nor is hypnotherapy very much like stage hypnosis, which is for
purposes of entertainment rather than personal change. It uses the same
mental abilities, but for a completely different purpose and in a very
different way. We will sit in a room together and I will talk to you
quietly and respectfully. I don't normally touch my clients (except for
a handshake), let alone push them over, and there's no finger-snapping,
watch-swinging or spiral-whirling. (Sorry if that's a disappointment to
Q: Will you
be able to control me? A:Hypnotherapy, at least as I practice it, is about giving more control
of your life to you, not to me. People who you see apparently
"controlled" by a hypnotist on the stage are consenting to act in that way. Anything I might inadvertently say which went against your personal values or which you judged to be harmful, you would simply ignore.
Q: Am I likely to remember things from the past that I'd rather not know about, such as abuse? A: Hypnotherapists often use "regression", helping people to return in their imagination to an earlier
time when the foundation of their current issues was laid. I personally tend not to use regression very often, partly because people are often uncomfortable with the idea if they know
or suspect that there have been traumatic experiences in their past which they don't want to revisit.
Sometimes "the only way out is through", and I have helped people to move through resolution of these out-of-date emotions where appropriate, but always with careful safety measures in place.
I'm not in the business of causing people unnecessary pain to no good purpose. My training also emphasized very strongly the importance of not "leading" people.
Not only hypnotherapists, but conventional psychotherapists and counsellors have been guilty of inducing false memories of abuse by suggesting it to clients when they are in a vulnerable state,
and naturally I don't want to be responsible for the kind of harm that causes to people and their families, so I'm very careful what I say.
In short, there are better and safer ways of resolving your current issues and giving you a new future than by digging up the past, and we'll only go there if you're entirely comfortable doing so.
Q:Do you do "past life regression"? A:I personally am not convinced of the existence of past lives, and I am not comfortable using this particular approach, even as a metaphor. I'm aware that
some therapists use it with good outcomes - whether past lives are real or not, going through the experience can be therapeutic and resolve clients' issues. But as a matter of personal preference,
I don't use it.
I have completed the National Heart Foundation's Smoking
Practitioner course and I am registered as a Quit Card Provider, which
means that I can give you vouchers for subsidized nicotine replacement
therapy (patches, gum or lozenges) to help you stop smoking if that's
appropriate for your situation.
you show me case studies of clients you have helped?
Q: What do
you charge for a session? A: The
per-session cost is usually $100 (cash or cheque, or via PayPal in advance), though I sometimes
run promotions at a
lower rate. I've been known to offer students and longer-term clients a
small discount also, and if you and a friend come together the combined cost is slightly less. But base your calculations on $100 when you are
deciding what value you attach to the change you want to make.
Q: How many
sessions will I need? A: That
varies between people and between issues. Plan on at least three
sessions, and up to five or six for complex issues or issues involving
physical symptoms or changes. For smoking, I make an exception and do
two sessions, one to stop and one to help you not to start again, but a
third top-up session a couple of months later is still a good idea.
Q: Should I expect to experience dramatic changes after the first session? A: People's experience differs. Most people do find that even after one session they see a clear change in their lives. For others, we may
need to spend longer looking for the right approach to your particular situation.
Q: How long are the sessions? A: Sessions
are one hour. Sometimes a little less, sometimes a little more,
depending on the client and the issue, but I schedule it as an
session times are available? A: Weekday evenings
7-8pm, and other times by arrangement.
Q: Do I need
to bring anything to the session? A: Just your
open mind (and cash or cheque for payment).
should I prepare for the session? A: I'll
start by taking a history of your issue, so be prepared to describe
what's going on for you now and how you would like things to be in the
future. Exploring my website a bit will give you some background to
what I do, but it's not essential. I'll tell you all you need to know
in the session, and do my best to answer any other questions you have.
happens in a session? A: In a
typical session I start by getting the background to your issue and
your life situation. Then I will propose one or more approaches that we
can take to help you move in the direction you want. We agree on an
approach together and I then guide you through it. I usually record
this part of the session and give you a CD to take away and listen to
before we see each other next. Depending on the issue, I may also give you a prerecorded track that addresses it.
Q: Can I
bring my friend, relative or partner? A: You're
very welcome to do so. If the person you bring with you wants to work
on the same issue, I will of course charge you both, but slightly less
than I would for seeing you separately. But if you just want them there
for support, that's fine.
Q: What if I have a complaint? A: I want your experience with me to be positive and helpful.
If you feel that anything is not right with my service or any of my products,
or if you see room for improvement, please let me know so I can put it right for you and for others.