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Qualified Clinical Hypnotherapist and Certified NLP practitioner Fiona Brennan is based in Dublin. Fiona helps clients with a range of issues including weight loss, smoking, stress and anxiety, fears and phobias, insomnia, pain control and more. Fiona explains how hypnotherapy works.

Hypnotherapy is a therapy that uses hypnosis as its main tool; this allows people to experience the power of their own mind by speaking directly to the subconscious; by using positive suggestions the mind can be reprogrammed to accept healthier alternatives. It is essential to get to the root of where the behaviour was learnt and how the belief was formed.

Many people who struggle with weight loss are eating too much and eating the wrong type of foods. Hunger is normally the last reason for overeating. Comfort eating, emotional eating, eating when stressed, tired, bored or even when happy are often at the root of the problem. By breaking up the learnt associations and triggers the mind creates new, positive neural pathways that allow the client complete control over their diet and lifestyle.

I tackle the psychological reasons why people may have an unhealthy relationship with food. In order to lose weight and sustain it over the long term, the battle needs to start and finish in the mind, and this is where the relevance and power of hypnotherapy becomes evident.

I develop a strategy with each client that starts with an initial phone conversation, then I send them a personal history and a sound file which explains more about hypnosis. The first consultation takes an hour and depending on the nature of the issue, we then schedule a number of appointments; an average of three is usually required but results can sometimes be seen in less.

An important part of the therapy is that the client feels relaxed and comfortable and a positive rapport is established. The only thing that can stop any person from entering hypnosis is either fear or doubt and once these have been removed the subconscious is open and ready to accept the positive suggestions.

‘Hypnos’ is the Greek word for sleep, though the actual state of hypnosis is really the opposite as clients are very aware of everything that is going on and especially of the hypnotherapist’s voice. During therapy all clients are asked to listen to a CD for 21 days and longer if they wish. This is a really important back-up to the sessions.

It is incredibly rewarding to witness the shift in a person from negative, self-destructive behavioural patterns and thinking to positive, life-affirming ones.

CASE CONFIDENTIAL: Hypnotherapy helped me kick my food cravings

‘Susan’ is 41 and lives in Dublin

My weight was always going up and down by up to 1 ½ stone and it was down to my very sweet tooth. I love chocolate and could eat a lot of it every day, especially after dinner when my children had gone to bed. I am a real chocoholic.

I had tried all the well-known diets, but just found it disappointing and the weight went back on again.

When I decided to return to college I realised that the new routine would leave me very likely to put on weight again and I was concerned about it. Then I read a story in the paper about a woman who had found hypnotherapy helped with her food cravings.

I showed it to my mum who said I should give it a go. So I contacted Fiona Brennan and we agreed to meet in six weeks’ time. She sent me a questionnaire which made me do a lot of thinking about what I wanted out of it.

In the first session we explored why I eat and where I eat. Fiona is very good at getting you to pin down what you think your issue is.

Then I had two more sessions – some people have more I have heard – and these were very much hypnosis based. Consultations cost €75 for an hour and sessions are €100.

I dropped ½ stone the following week. It was like Fiona just switched off my desire for chocolate. At the end of the treatment I had dropped 1 ½ stone. I am now back into a loose size 12 with very little effort.

My last treatment is now over six months ago and I just don’t want to eat anything sugary – it’s like the sugar demon has just gone. I am sleeping better and have less sugar highs followed by an energy crash. It has regulated my energy levels better and I am healthier overall.

A year ago I would have been quite distrustful of something like hypnosis, but now I think it is the best weight-loss technique ever.

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