Hypnotherapy Training, a volunteer's eye view

I will start off by saying that I am a well-known dyed-in-the-wool sceptic, so it came as some surprise when I was asked to help a Hypnotherapy student by volunteering as a ‘guinea pig’ for her practical skills.

I had never been involved in any form of hypnotism in my life before, and did not want to disappoint her by failing to ‘go under’. However, I agreed, and the date was set. We would meet at my house and use my spare bedroom as a place for the treatment.

I had suffered from a painful shoulder injury for some years, so it was decided that she would concentrate on pain control and relief during the session. As this was a medical issue I had to ask my GP for permission to go ahead - she was much like me, sceptical but happy for me to give it a go.

I lay down on the bed, made myself comfortable, closed my eyes, and she began. It was not at all as I had imagined. Not a swinging watch in sight for a start.

As I listened to her quiet voice and tried to follow her instructions I was still very aware of the normal household noises going on around us. The phone rang and I heard my husband talking to someone, then there was a knock on the door and he answered it. By now I was convinced that ‘it’ hadn’t worked, and felt I should tell her so that she didn’t continue wasting her time. However, no matter how hard I tried to open my eyes and halt the session, I couldn’t! So I just relaxed and went with the flow.

As she took me deeper, I have to admit that the images she suggested I saw were not exactly the same as she described them. Colours were different, some things I ‘knew’ rather than ‘felt’, for instance, she told me to pick up a key, but I knew it was already in my pocket.

She discussed my pain and made suggestions as to how I could view it differently and have some control over its severity.

All through the session, I felt relaxed and confident, and when it ended I was very surprised to find it had taken much longer than I thought. We discussed the fact that I obviously had my own ‘take’ on her suggestions, but that did not matter as it simply meant that my mind was processing things in my own individual way.

It also really did help with my pain, so I felt it to have been a very useful experience. Since then I have assisted in the same way at quite a few student sessions. I now know that my own pattern of hypnosis means rapid eye movements, which I am aware of throughout the treatment, and my eyes water a lot when I wake up.

Others may have many different experiences when being hypnotised, but we are all individuals, and it simply shows that we retain our own basic control, even under hypnosis.


Author: Kit Lee volunteered for students at Yorkshire Hypnotherapy Training, which offers multi accredited hypnotherapy practitioner training in Wakefield and York, along with taster days and foundation levels.
Volunteers receive free hypnotherapy but need to be flexible with the timing etc of sessions to fit students' needs. If you are interested in volunteering, find out more here or email volunteers#yorkshirehypnotherapytraining.co.uk (replace # with @ before sending)


  1. I think I find it most surprising that you wanted to stop the session to let her know that she was wasting her time, but you couldn't open your eyes and stop it. This would suggest, that it was definitely working on some level. That being said, I think you have a very healthy perception of the treatment. You are aware of the potential effectiveness, but you don't think it is a cure-all.


    1. Sean, many thanks for taking the time to make your comment.


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