An interview with London’s prominent hypnotherapist Jason Demant: The role of hypnotherapy in public health during the pandemic

Jason Delmant Golders Hill Park

“People always think hypnotherapy is about curing phobias only or some magical remedy. Actually, Hypnotherapy can help with preventing diseases and help the well-being of a person,” says the North London-based hypnotherapist, Jason Demant, to Hypnosis Plus.

As a leading authority in hypnotherapy (hypnosis), Jason is an expert in solution-focused hypnotherapy. Using NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming), Jason helps with a variety of problems such as work-related stress, addiction, gastrointestinal diseases, stress, anxiety, pain management, and, of course, phobias too. Jason is a validated practitioner of the General Hypnotherapy Standard Council and an accredited member of the UK Complementary and Natural Healthcare council. Jason continues to bring long-lasting positive changes in people’s lives; with an empathetic and friendly approach, Jason reaches to people from all walks of life and has been helping clients throughout the lockdown via Skype sessions.

Hypnosis Plus had the pleasure to speak with Jason and understand how the lockdown has affected the practitioners and the clients and asked what could be done to assist people further.

Can you give us a brief understanding of what role hypnotherapy has in public health today?

I believe Hypnotherapy has a role in the well-being of people’s health, it is not just about mental health or behaviour, but hypnotherapy plays a role in the well-being of physical health as well. You see, I help people with IBS, gastrointestinal disorders, and addictions such as smoking, unhealthy lifestyle, for example, eating issues, but we don’t have a specific policy to help people with such problems. Because the Public Health policy sees obesity, smoking, and addictions as behavioural problems, for example, if we put a tax on food, we can solve the obesity issue. But the reality is, it does not work that way. There are deep psychological issues behind many of these problems, and hypnotherapy can help with these issues, i.e., Hypnotherapy can help people with IBS through gut-focused therapy that can really improve personal life. It is not a behavioural issue, and it actually costs NHS to help with certain problems related to physical and mental well-being; therefore, we are out of assistance. This is where hypnotherapy can help.

Briefly tell us the differences between hypnotherapy and psychotherapy.

Well, actually, they overlap each other. They have lots of things in common. In general, I would say hypnotherapy is a short-term intervention. To understand it better, Psychotherapy isn’t goal-orientated, and it is not targeted to achieve something in the short-term. You are not looking for an actual result in a short period of time. Psychotherapy is a process of talking therapy to the conscious level; your conscious level is rational, and you will do the work to reach out to your subconscious. Eventually, the subconscious becomes apparent to the conscious. It is a long-term and ongoing process. Psychotherapy is a process of storytelling in the state of your conscious rational mind, and you work your way through.

Hypnotherapy works with the subconscious; the conscious mind is a gatekeeper to all the things that are in the subconscious, and hypnotherapy works directly with the subconscious, which means that hypnotherapy side-steps the conscious mind, and you can then know the patterns, thoughts, and memories that your conscious mind is guarding. Thus hypnotherapy can work with a specific goal, such as smoking or eating problems. Hypnotherapy can work within a time limit, and it is possible to see a result within a certain period of time. So, a target-orientated short-term goal is possible with hypnotherapy. I would say that is the main difference though they are similar in many ways.

You have to understand that hypnotherapy is not some kind of magical or supernatural treatment that is different from psychotherapy. There isn’t a magic wand to make your problems go away. There are lots of misunderstandings and misconceptions about Hypnotherapy. For example, it is thought that hypnotherapy uses past life regression. It only works on the basis of your belief that you have a past life. It is not the real thing. So it is similar to psychotherapy except that it works with the subconscious with a specific goal to achieve in a short period of time. But remember that you have to do the work, it is not a supernatural influence on you, and it is a method of helping you in a medical environment.

Keeping the pandemic in mind, how does one know if one needs professional assistance, and how does one decide one needs hypnotherapy?

Make an observation, is something adversely affecting your life? Is something not right at work, or is your relationship affected? Is it becoming really hard to cope with? Something more than the ordinary, and you are feeling you are not coping with it the way you normally do that it is becoming increasingly harder.

These are the problems you need short-term target-focused help with. Think about the current situation; in the pandemic, people don’t want to spend time on long-term goals unearthing their childhood memories. People want something that could bring a positive change, something that could help them move forward in a short period of time. There could be so many different issues that are feeling even harder now, such as addiction issues, phobias, anxiety, and trauma, to say a few. Hypnotherapy can help in the current situation because people need to get on with things since we all have to start all over again soon. So a short-term technique would be more appropriate during the pandemic; hence this is how you can decide if you would like to cope with the current situation and deal with the problems that you feel have become much harder to cope with.

How can hypnotherapy help in the pandemic?

I have already touched on it but let’s also say people are affected in the lockdown. Consumption of alcohol has risen, and unhealthy eating habit is also in the rise. These are actually coping mechanisms that people are using to deal with this unusual situation. Hypnotherapy can help people overcome unhealthy habits. People are also suffering from stress and anxiety, and sleeping disorder is a big problem too. Hypnotherapy can help with the overwhelming stress and anxiety that is really affecting the society; it can also help with the sleep patterns of the individual, which is a very important thing for one’s overall well-being. It is able to help individuals with specific health problems; hence one can manage better and cope during the pandemic.

Recent national news has aired features and documentaries on increasing anxiety and depression in the pandemic. Tell us about your observation.

I have observed the increasing issues of sleeping problems and anxiety during the lockdown. There is boredom that has an adverse effect on the individual, and the instability, in general, is causing depression and feelings of loneliness. These are initiating us to turning to unhealthy habits.

Does hypnotherapy have a place in this predicament?

Hypnotherapy certainly can play a greater role on individual targets in this situation. One can find better ways to make use of the lockdown instead of turning to bad habits. It can also help with reducing the level of stress and anxiety. It is lonely in isolation. However, there are things we can plan and do that can help us to feel less isolated and depressed.

Have you noticed anything different in the lockdown in the client environment?

Well, I am seeing less people with work-related concerns. I used to see people with work-related stress, perhaps they had issues with their managers or any other work-related problems, but I am seeing less and less of those clients. I don’t know, maybe because people are not working or they have been furloughed or been made redundant; I cannot verify that, but I am not seeing that category of clients. I am seeing more people with addiction and anxiety issues. So that’s a difference I can identify in the client environment.

How has the lockdown affected your practice? Is there a client-therapist approach during the lockdown that you found that was most helpful?

Well, to answer the latter part of the question, I am seeing clients online. I don’t perform hypnotherapy online, I do a short session on Skype, and I send them an MP3 recording, and the client has to complete a set of tasks.

As for how it has affected me, I was building a business in the west end. However, the client market has changed during the lockdown. I don’t see people in the west end anymore, I am based in North London, and I am seeing clients from the North London locality. West end clients had work-related problems, and as I have already mentioned, people are having less and less work-related issues. Instead, I am seeing people with mental health and problems with lifestyle or habits.

What are the challenges you have confronted as a practitioner in the lockdown, and how have you worked around it? What challenges do you believe your clients are facing?

The main challenge is how the business has been affected since March 2020. I help people with IBS, so the gastroenterologists were referring people to me. That client base has disappeared, the gastroenterologists were sent to the A & E department to work; hence they could not refer people to me anymore. This is because they couldn’t see the people face to face now, and their client base stopped.

Well, I now focus more on online clients, and I have a way to help them by sending them recorded instructions. I don’t do hypnotherapy online. That’s not how it works. So they have to do some homework on their own time.

The greatest challenge the client base is facing is loneliness. People are not seen face to face, neither are they referred to the practitioners, so people have to deal with these problems in isolation.

What are the changes you would like to see as a hypnotherapist to facilitate clients during the pandemic? Let’s keep in mind the hard-to-reach communities; what could create a suited environment for the practitioners?

People are becoming increasingly isolated, and they need to have support in the pandemic. If you mean the ethnic minorities by saying hard-to-reach communities, then this thought is very much applicable. How do we reach people of diverse backgrounds and help them? Hypnotherapy is not covered by medical insurance. It is not funded by the NHS, and we cannot expect a GP to refer patients to a hypnotherapist. Then there is the issue in the practice environment. I found a lot of psychotherapists had the vaccine early, but the hypnotherapists are not covered, although hypnotherapists also have to see people face to face. This is because hypnotherapists are not acknowledged the same way.

Hypnotherapists are self-employed, and the clients don’t have access to any help. Unfortunately, we live in a capitalist society, and people from diverse backgrounds can’t have help unless there are acknowledgment and education on how hypnotherapy may help people in all walks of our society.

The problem is the public health policy or the GPs who don’t think hypnotherapy is a real thing. There is a lack of education and misconception on hypnotherapy. For example, I predominantly perform gut-directed therapy because it is one of those things people need further help with. But unless it is not recognised, people who cannot fund themselves won’t be able to come for help for such issues, which actually hinders one from leading a quality of life. So focusing on what I do, I imagine a service of gut-directed therapy included in the NHS would really make a difference.

How do you think the above can be made possible?

There should be evidence of empirical research that could provide the understanding to include Hypnotherapy services in the NHS. Evidence is the way to go. It is through the evidence we can spread the education for the medical council and for the GPs. When the research will show that hypnotherapy actually helps with the things that NHS is still not capable of completely assisting with, such as IBS, smoking, and eating habits, the proposal of funding hypnotherapy is possible. The medical council and the GPs have to see that these issues are not just behavioural. But without empirical evidence, we cannot move forward. Hence, there has to be funding for further research.

Any advice for the Hypnotherapists in the pandemic?

I would say think about the different ways you can work and start making plans on how to put things in place when the lockdown is lifted. There are many ways you can reach the clients, such as podcasts, broachers, websites, etc. You have the time in the lockdown to think about how you can reconnect with clients when things start running again. There are so many things you can do, so start thinking, preparing, and creating.

Do it now, so you are in a better position later.

For help with gastrointestinal problems and IBS, addictions, anxiety and stress, smoking, and unhealthy eating habits, you can contact Jason info@deepdivetherapy.co.uk.

To find out more on hypnosis and how hypnotherapy can help, visit https://hypnosis.plus/

Shanta Sultana
I have worked for social services encouraging clients to receive training and educational qualifications towards personal development. I studied at Southampton City College and received the “Best Student Achievement Award”. I studied Journalism at the University of East London and did part of my final year with the University of Greenwich. I received the award for “Outstanding Achieving” for writing the best theory for creating a fair society. I focused on social and political issues as a Journalist and wrote about the topics that are affecting the communities in England for three years, especially in health and social care and worked with the politicians. I have worked with the Lambeth community and collected the users’ experience in health care and mental health services for an umbrella organisation of Age UK. I then completed a PGCE/PCET, Teachers training with ESOL, Invisible disabilities, mental health, and the refugee reintegration from the University of Sunderland. My working route was on generating continuous educational opportunities, journals, and media programmes to overcome social and cultural prejudice and division and improve productivity by celebrating differences. I have worked in the mental health department and I work with special needs children and adults. I have published articles and stories in UK and USA and promoted organisations and personalities in Arts and trades in the UK and in South Asian countries.
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