Probably one of the most common questions we get asked when first meeting potential clients is “how many hypnosis sessions do I need?”
Trying to identify the number of hypnosis sessions required for your specific situation, is at once a legitimate question, but one that is difficult to answer. Clients want to know how much it will cost them to address the issue, and how long it will take before they have solved their issue.
It’s interesting to note that most professions typically are expected to quote an estimate of cost and time for a project. Whether you’re redesigning a kitchen or building a website, you can expect a proposal with a cost and timeline before the project even begins.
Therapy, on the other hand, typically doesn’t have that expectation. There seems to often be a sentiment that therapy can go on for years to address one or more issues a client’s life.
Hypnosis, doesn’t get this same expectation, and people do typically want to know how long it will take. Overall, I see this as a compliment to hypnosis, it sets a standard of being able to achieve rapid results. Clients asking this are holding the profession to this standard.
And yet, even with hypnosis it can be hard to predict how long things will take exactly, especially if you’re not trying to address just a behavioral issue like smoking but a deeply ingrained emotional issue with roots in trauma or childhood experience.
Remember, the most complicated thing in the entire universe is the human brain, and there is much of it that we don’t understand. As a hypnotist encountering a client for the first time, it is impossible to know the answer to all the variables in this unknown person that might affect the speed of their outcome.
The best analogy I’ve come up for this, although not very sexy, is mold remediation. You might know you have mold in your walls, but the experts will tell you that they’ll only be able to estimate the extent of the damage once they tear open the wall. This is all the more so true when it’s not the hypnotist doing the work – no one can fix you, emotionally. Only you can heal yourself, and so as an outsider, this can be very difficult to estimate.
So, with that long preamble, I’ll venture to explain the pattern that I have seen around client’s journeys over time. Instead of giving you a concrete number of sessions, it will give you an overview of the “arc” that people’s journey typically takes them on.
The Goal of hypnosis
Before we begin, it’s worth conceptualizing what the point is of therapy. Broadly, we conceptualize therapy into two broad goals: educating and empowering you with a set of tools to navigate your inner world and heal yourself, and then supporting you through the process of actually applying these tools.
At Navya, beyond the goal of helping you solve the specific issues you might have come in with, we have the goal of empowering you with a framework and set of skills which you can more effectively navigate your emotional landscape.
You practice using these tools while addressing the specific issue you probably came in to deal with, but they stand by you far after your sessions are completed.
And then there is actual support. Personal growth can be hard. It can be painful. We can hit mental walls and fall back on patterns we’ve been stuck in for years. A practitioner can help be your cheerleader during the difficult times, provide insight when you feel stuck, and create accountability as you keep making progress.
Typically, it is faster to learn a new set of tools, especially if you learn it experientially, then actually create the change in your life. You can change your mood and your mindset almost instantly, but it can take your body some time to catch up.
This is where individual preference comes in.
Some clients learn more quickly, and are generally inclined to take those skills and apply them on their own. Others prefer to practice these skills further, and to have closer support as they integrate new, healthier ways of being in their life.
Milestones of Hypnosis Progress
Broadly, I’ve noticed 3 stages that clients typically go through when processing a specific issue.
Session #1: Breakthrough
The first Hypnosis Assisted Healing session with Navya is actually identical to any other one. You dive deep, and experience an experiential journey into a somatic world inside of yourself.
The session can often be deeply emotional and transformative, with clients feeling freer, unstuck, or more expansive and creative. After a single session, you already have firsthand experience with how the techniques are conducted and what kind of impact they have on you.
You should be able to conclude after one session if the overall hypnosis technique is right for you, if the practitioner is a good fit, and if you feel like you need more of it or of if once is enough. Compare this to therapy, where people often need multiple sessions with their therapist before being able to decide if it’s a good match.
This is due in part because the Hypnosis Assisted Healing journey is actually more intrapersonal and focused on self; it depends less on the interpersonal dynamic you have with your practitioner and more on your own skill and openness to navigating your inner world.
Session #3: Independence
The next phase clients often go through often emerges around the 3rd session. Clients start performing more of the work on their own, with exercises or processes that typically would have required the hypnotist’s guidance, now occurring spontaneously.
In a way, the training wheels have begun to come off, and the you are now more capable of doing this work on your own. It’s at this point that you could, if you wanted to, start conducting your own self-hypnosis sessions on your own time.
While it’s always beneficial to have someone else in the driver’s seat helping you relax more deeply and get unstuck when necessary, you’ll find many of the techniques are there to serve you when challenging situations or emotions arise in your day to day life.
Sessions #6-8: Freedom
It can take 3 to 5 weeks to change a habit.
This is why it’s often around the 6th to 8th session that clients start to report significant changes and progress around their specific presenting issue and their life in general.
That is not to say that clients who don’t come for six sessions don’t see progress. It simply means that their progress may have continued to unfold without us being exposed to it. We’ve sometimes heard from clients months later who’ve told us that their single experience was effective enough for them to see significant changes in their life that lasted for months.
Then again, there are some clients who choose to see us weekly for many months, not unlike how someone might see their therapist. They find this technique to be a powerful tool in their journey of personal growth and might either tackle a deeply-entrenched issue over the course of many weeks, or address multiple topics in their life over time.
Contrasting Case Studies
The extent of time it can take to move past an issue can depend on a variety of factors. One of the biggest one is how far back the issue goes.
The Forest Metaphor
One of my favorite metaphors is that of a forest. Imagine the issue as walking deeper and deeper into a dark forest. The moment you choose, or are able, to address the issue is the moment you turn around and start walking out. But if you’ve been walking into this forest for 25 years, it’s not fair to expect of yourself to instantly emerge from it.
There are certainly ways to accelerate the process, akin to running out instead of just strolling. And we feel like hypnosis is one of the best ways to do this (as are psychedelics, when it’s appropriate). But still, t his metaphor serves a reminder that healing takes time.
Here are two examples of radically different cases that might cause someone to seek hypnosis, and the difference in the treatment method.
Case #1: Grief over a breakup
Susan was raised in a happy home and recalls having a good upbringing overall. She recently suffered an unexpected breakup when her boyfriend of five years suddenly dumped her over text. She’s already been working on this with her therapist, but wants to dive deeper into healing from this grief. Over the course of a single session she processes anger and sadness towards her ex, but is also able to tap into gratitude and the sense that this was ultimately the best thing for her. After a single session she feels significantly better and is able to move on.
Case #2: Religious Trauma
Shira was raised in a devoutly religious family, surrounded by dogmatic beliefs that were enforced by her strict and emotionally unavailable parents. Through the course of multiple sessions, Shira systemically addresses her feelings around guilt, shame, loss of meaning, healing wounds around absent parents, purity culture, her relationship with God and atheism, and more.
Since she spent the first 26 years of her life in this world, it takes many months of concerted effort to process all of this, with new themes emerging that she didn’t even realize existed originally. Ultimately though, she is able to tap into much greater feelings of freedom and happiness in her life, to assert herself and listen to her own wants and intuitions, and begin to live her life more and more on her own terms.
As you can see, different realities call for very different amounts of intervention.
Some Practical Takeaways
Hopefully this article at least gives you an overview of how many sessions you might think you need.
Ultimately, at Navya we always entrust the decision of what you need and what is best for into your own hands. We’re happy to advise on whether we feel additional sessions might be helpful based on what arises in a given session, but ultimately, we trust that you, and your intuition, know best.
Each Navya Hypnosis Assisted Healing session is intended to stand on its own, aiming to leave you a sense of closure and progress by the time you complete it. This means that even if you can only do one session, or need to take longer breaks in between them, you’ll still be benefiting from the process.
For those who do want the benefits of multiple sessions, we offer discounts on 3 and 6 session packages to help make these milestones more accessible to people.
Finally we recommend that if you can only afford a few sessions, that you consider spreading them out over a long period of time, say bi-weekly instead of weekly. This gives you more time between sessions to implement and practice what you’ve learned, and helps create a framework over a longer stretch of time.
Ready to start your journey with Navya? Get started here.