Here are a few frequently asked questions FAQs which I think might be useful. But if your question is not answered here, or if there is no joy from using the search box above, then please send me an email, or go to the bottom of this page and submit a question.
- What is hypnosis?
- Is hypnosis safe?
- Can I use hypnosis if I suffer with epilepsy?
- Can I use hypnosis if I suffer with a significant mental health problem like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder?
Answers – General:
Who is Dr Paul Ogilvie?
I am a medical doctor. I live in the UK. I have worked as a medical doctor for 23 years. I have these qualifications: MBChB MRCGP DCH MRCOG DFFP HPD DipH PTFT PNLP. I have worked in various hospitals (including 3 years in Australia), and as a GP (family doctor). I’ve also travelled (in the mid 1990s) to various places around the world for 2 years. I am married with 3 children. I’ve done a few marathons and triathlons in the past – I am currently training, gradually, for my first ironman in 2018.
I like using things like guided meditations to achieve some sort of result. I like making stuff. I like putting things together in different ways, to achieve a better result. I am interested in new ways of doing things, as well as things which are timeless. I like to add some personal development or philosophy or some alternative technique or positive psychology to the mix. I like to make things as simple and as practical as they can be, to achieve a desired result.
What is this website about?
It is about being free from things in your mind, that hold you back.
Things that hold you back like bad habits, or negative feelings, or unhelpful thoughts, or just being stuck, or challenges in your current situation.
At its core, it is about making a change in your life, for the better.
For example, helping you to make a change to sleep better, or to become more confident, or to eat more healthily, or to lose weight, or to exercise more, or to stop a bad habit like smoking, or to let go of anxiety or stress, or to bring the best out of yourself, or to simply be closer to your true self and be happy and comfortable with yourself, as you are, right now.
Zero sharing of any personal information like email address.
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Answers – Hypnosis:
What is hypnosis?
Hypnosis is a very mis-understood tool. It is a great shame really. It is a healthy and natural way to produce great results, when used well and appropriately.
Both the British Medical Association BMA and the American Medical Association AMA, looked into hypnosis in the 1950s and concluded it was a safe and an effective tool. They even suggested it should be taught to medical students. However, their conclusions and advice have generally been ignored.
In general, in mainstream society, we seem to fear hypnosis, particularly in respect to the possibility of “mind control”. This is complete nonsense. Hypnosis is just an effective way of making a suggestion to your mind – it is up to you whether you act on that suggestion. Hypnosis does not override your conscious will to decide what to do. However tricks in stage shows, and conditioning from tv programs and movies reinforce this so called mind control power of hypnosis. Even my kids (we have 3) watch cartoons where the bad guys use hypnosis to try and exert mind control over the good guys. I just have to shrug my shoulders and say “oh well”.
Anyway, a practical way of looking at hypnosis, or more specifically, hypnotherapy is: relaxation effect (or absorption effect) + suggestion.
Now, I am sure there will be many hypnotherapists who would argue that a more long-winded definition is better, and include terms like “altered state” and the unconscious or subconscious mind etc. But I think the above definition is simple to understand, and explains hypnotherapy quite well.
When your mind is relaxed (or absorbed), your critical/analytical parts of your mind are less active, and your mind is more open to suggestions, particularly suggestions which you want to take on board.
There is good and bad hypnosis.
An example of bad hypnosis, is when you are absorbed (or relaxed) watching a movie, and then you see a product placement (a suggestion) e.g. a can of coke, or some other branded product. Your mind takes this on, particular more at the subconscious level. It is a suggestion, often linked with a pleasurable emotion, which makes you more likely to buy it, when given the choice in the future. If it didn’t work, big companies wouldn’t pay millions to have their products inserted into movies.
An example of good hypnosis, is being relaxed and then imagining yourself (a suggestion) doing things you want to do. Not necessarily imagining yourself achieving results, but imagining yourself doing the things you need to do, in order to achieve the result. Imagining yourself in this way, makes it more likely to happen in real life.
Can I use hypnosis if I suffer with epilepsy?
I really feel for people who have epilepsy and want to use hypnosis.
The general advice is not to use hypnosis if you have epilepsy. However, I am pretty sure, most epileptic patients would be fine using hypnosis.
The warning against using hypnosis if you suffer with epilepsy, comes from the fear there may be a slight increased risk of a seizure during hypnosis. I’m not sure if there is any good evidence in this respect. However there is a risk you could have a seizure at any time, and that time might just happen to be when you are listening to a hypnosis session, but it was not particularly the hypnosis session that triggered it. I find it hard to believe the relaxation effect increases the risk of a seizure, because then having a massage, or simple relaxation breathing exercises, or meditation would have to be avoid in epileptics, and this is not the case. Also, there has been some effort in using hypnosis as a way of reducing seizures in people with epilepsy.
Anyway, in general, if you do suffer with epilepsy and you want to use hypnosis, please contact your doctor or neurologist to ask for their advice.
Can I use hypnosis if I suffer with a significant mental health problem like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder?
It is advisable, and good medical practice, to let your doctor know if you are using hypnosis and have a significant mental health problem.
In general, it should be fine, and I cannot see where any harm might come from using hypnosis, particularly if your mental health problem is stable e.g. someone with stable bipolar disorder.
From my hypnotherapy sessions released in 2011, I did advised not to use hypnosis, in the disclaimer at the start of the session, if you suffer with a significant mental health problem. I have since searched for any evidence that hypnosis can cause harm in someone with a mental health problem, and I have not found any real evidence for this. So, I have changed my mind in this respect.
However, if there is any doubt, or any condition requiring active medical treatment, then you should let your doctor know, and discuss the use of hypnosis with your doctor.
Answers – Meditation:
What is meditation?
Meditation is essentially non-attachment.
It is not being attached to any thoughts, nor any states (eg a state of relaxation or calmness), nor any processes, even the processes of getting into a meditative state like focusing on your breathing, or doing a more physical approach like yoga. It is not being attached to any of this, nor anything else.
It is observing your thoughts, just as they are, and not judging them in anyway.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is meditation.
It is being aware of your stream of consciousness, and conscious experience, in the present moment, and not being attached to it.
Mindfulness is generally becoming more mainstream and widely accepted.
Jon Kabat-Zinn and others, have done a lot of good work, and produced good clinical evidence that mindfulness is effective in helping people with stress, anxiety, depression and chronic pain. It is probably useful in a lot of other areas, but it is just that there might not be the “evidence” to support it at present. However, that will change with time.
Who is the music composer of the background music used in the hypnosis videos?
The music composer is Annie Brunson, and the title of the track is called “Ananda”.
I particularly like this piece of music, both from a personal preference, and also from the point of view that the pace, or tempo, of the track slows down the further you go into it, which helps take you into a more relaxed state of mind.
You can find Annie Brunson at:
Help! My question is not answered.
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