One of the best things about putting our magazine together each issue is that we get to enjoy many mind-expanding conversations. In our Summer 2020 issue, we were excited to speak with hypnotherapy practitioner Aidan Sloan, who explained the deeply beneficial – even life-altering – effects that hypnotherapy can have,
The art of healing the mind
by Aisling Cronin
Hypnotherapy is a healing practice that involves retraining the mind to embrace more positive attitudes and outlooks. This process is often misunderstood, but it can have many beneficial effects, according to hypnotherapy practitioner Aidan Sloan. Aidan has been applying hypnosis as a therapeutic tool for fifteen years, and is also the director of the Clinical Hypnotherapy & Psychotherapy Association (CHPA). I spoke to him recently to learn more.
Aidan is a passionate believer in the power of the mind. His hypnotherapy practice is focused on helping people to build positive thinking as an instinctual response. Retraining the mind in this way helps give us the strength to cope with our difficult experiences, as Aidan explains.
‘We all have challenges and issues to deal with in our lives – there are bills to pay, families to feed, things like that – but what hypnotherapy can do is train the mind to notice our many opportunities to feel good. It could be the simplest things that make us happy – a smile from a stranger, a joke we exchange with a loved one, or a piece of good news we hear during the day. Hypnotherapy is one way of ensuring that we are more likely to notice and embrace these small things, when they come. This builds up our inner strength. It gives us the strong foundation of resilience we need to handle whatever challenges come our way.’
Hypnosis, as a healing practice, is not well understood. Aidan says, ‘if you’ve ever found yourself drifting into a daydream state, imagining some alternate scenario, while you’re still wide awake – still aware of your surroundings and what might be going on around you – then you have hypnotised yourself. Hypnosis is an everyday occurrence, not quite as dramatic as some might imagine it to be! I regard it as a method of consciously managing our daydream state.’
During a hypnotherapy session, the practitioner will typically help their client to navigate their own liminal mind-state, by asking them to envisage different scenarios and consciously choose their desired outcome. It is important to note that this process is directed by what the client wants, as opposed to the old-fashioned “showbiz” concept of hypnosis, which might involve a hypnotist getting a member of an audience to perform tricks.
The true power of hypnotherapy lies in its ability to ‘create a fundamental perceptual shift in the brain,’ as Aidan puts it. ‘Many people are restricted by the limits they place on their imagination,’ he says, ‘and hypnosis can enable people to remove obstacles to the outcomes they desire. The science behind this process lies in neuroplasticity, or the brain’s natural ability to develop new neural pathways. Hypnosis taps into this ability to help support a person’s overall wellbeing.’
Hypnotherapy is also a highly individual process – an approach that suits one person might not work for another, and a well-trained hypnotherapy practitioner will always take this into account. Each hypnotherapy session is tailored to suit the person as an individual.
Aidan sums it perfectly. ‘Ultimately, hypnotherapy can be used as a powerful means of helping people to answer a simple, yet very profound question: what sort of person do you want to be?’
To learn more about hypnotherapy and its benefits, visit aidansloan.ie or chpa.ie. A registry of hypnotherapy practitioners is available on the CHPA’s website. The organisation ensures that all of its members are held to high professional and ethical standards.