Frequently Asked Questions 

What will the hypnotherapy session(s) involve?

All hypnotherapy appointments are offered in my clinic in Cork and also online. Aside from habit stopping or smoking cessation, which are single session treatments, the number of sessions will depend upon the issue you want to work on. On average 2-4 sessions should be sufficient. However, for more persistent or complex issues, up to 6 sessions may be required.

For habit stopping or smoking cessation, you will have already started to do some work before the session (e.g. keeping daily records of the frequency of the habit). The session will begin with a in-depth chat, so that I can get a really good understanding of how this is impacting your life, your motivations to stop and the behaviours, thoughts and feelings maintaining your habit. The session will comprise of a mix of hypnosis, CBT techniques and discussion on the physiological and psychological basis of habits.

For other treatments, the first session is an opportunity to really discuss the issue at length and your goals for therapy. This allows me to formulate a treatment plan so that we can work together on addressing the issue in a very tailored way, to suit you as an individual. We may then do some hypnosis at the end of the first session, as an introduction to hypnosis. We won’t necessarily use hypnosis in every session as it will depend on what needs to be worked on and what technique is most appropriate for that.

Is online hypnotherapy effective?

If you are unable to visit my Cork hypnotherapy clinic or would prefer the sessions online, then it’s reassuring to know that online therapy is just as effective. Online therapy is very flexible and convenient, allowing you to experience therapy from the comfort of your own home. Many clients prefer it to face-to-face therapy, as there is no travel time and the session can be just as effective and focussed. Reassuringly, there is a lot of research to support that online/remote therapy is just as effective as face-to-face (Lichstein et al., 2013; Stubbings et al., 2013). If for some reason, there are any connection issues and we get cut off, then I can call you to continue the session over the phone, or reschedule if you prefer. All you need is somewhere comfortable to sit (any chair or sofa that provides support for your back and neck), a phone/tablet/computer and a decent internet connection.


  • Lichstein, K. L., Scogin, F., Thomas, S. J., DiNapoli, E. A., Dillon, H. R., & McFadden, A. (2013). Telehealth cognitive behavior therapy for co‐occurring insomnia and depression symptoms in older adults. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 69(10), 1056-1065.
  • Stubbings, D. R., Rees, C. S., Roberts, L. D., & Kane, R. T. (2013). Comparing in-person to videoconference-based cognitive behavioural therapy for mood and anxiety disorders: randomized controlled trial. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 15(11), e258.

What is hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy is the use of hypnosis as a therapeutic technique. Unfortunately, a lot of people have a number of misconceptions about hypnosis from TV or stage hypnosis. Hypnosis is not like being asleep or unconscious; most people are fully aware of what is going on. Hypnosis feels different to different people. Some people may feel more absorbed in their imagination, whereas others may feel more relaxed than normal and even sleepy. Hypnosis is ultimately a state of mind in which we become more responsive to positive suggestions, making therapeutic change quicker and more powerful. You will know you are in hypnosis when you feel able to accept suggestions more easily or more deeply than normal. People tend to get better and better at hypnosis each time they use it.

Hypnosis essentially involves you imagining along with the suggestions I give. You can think of suggestions as invitations for you to imagine something. Hypnosis requires your active engagement, and you will choose which suggestions you want to respond to and those you don’t. It’s a bit like being engrossed in a film, where you feel you are actually there in the scene and you may even feel the same emotions as the characters. That’s because you are choosing to watch the film, giving it your undivided attention, with a willing suspension of disbelief. You are fully engaged and experiencing it as if it were real. Hypnosis is not a method of talking to the ‘unconscious mind’. It’s your active conscious attitude that is critical in determining how well you will respond to suggestions. Hypnosis is essentially you consciously focussing your attention on a specific idea.

What is CBT?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is often considered the gold standard for the psychotherapeutic treatment of many psychological issues. CBT has a very strong evidence base for treating anxiety disorders. Central to CBT is the need to understand that your thoughts, feelings and behaviour are all important and interconnected, e.g. how we feel impacts how we think, and that impacts how we behave etc. With stress and anxiety, there can often be a viscous cycle nature to your thoughts, feelings and behaviours. CBT is focussed on helping you understand how your feelings, thoughts and behaviour are all connected, so that you can learn what is maintaining your issue as opposed to what caused it. CBT aims to change unhelpful thoughts and behaviours into more positive and helpful ones, and to learn better coping skills to change the way you feel.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a mental state that can be achieved by focusing your awareness on the present moment, while at the same time acknowledging and accepting your feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations in calm way. Mindfulness is about being present in the present moment, and not getting carried away in your thoughts of the past or the future. One of the mindfulness techniques from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) that I teach a lot is called Cognitive Defusion. Cognitive defusion is the ability to distance yourself from your thoughts and detach from negative or ‘sticky’ thoughts (those negative thoughts that just keep coming back). Cognitive defusion is about noticing thoughts rather than becoming caught up in them, and learning to let thoughts come and go rather than holding onto them.

Do I lose control in hypnosis?

People in hypnosis cannot be made to do things against their will. You will be aware of what is happening and only need to accept the suggestions which you choose to accept. Hypnosis is completely safe when used appropriately. People have a lot of misconceptions about hypnosis, which are often derived from TV, films and stage hypnosis. Stage hypnosis has nothing at all to do with hypnotherapy; stage hypnosis is a magic show ultimately and is mostly just smoke and mirrors.

Can I be hypnotised?

Anyone can be hypnotised. It doesn’t take any special skill or ability. It’s all about just allowing yourself to relax, thinking positively and paying attention to suggestions. Remember, you only accept the suggestions which you choose to accept, so you are completely in control.  People often have the misconception that you have to be gullible to be hypnotised, but that is not the case. The research indicates that highly hypnotisable individuals are usually more intelligent and highly self-disciplined.

Can I get stuck in hypnosis?

No, nobody has ever become stuck in hypnosis. You will be aware of the room around you and any sounds in the room. If you wanted to you could just open your eyes and walk out of the room. If a fire alarm went off, you would respond in the same manner as if you weren’t in hypnosis.

Will I be able to drive after hypnotherapy?

I usually recommend waiting about 15 minutes before driving. When you emerge from hypnosis you may feel very relaxed and slightly disorientated, so it is best to allow yourself some time before getting behind the wheel or on a bike/motorbike.

How many sessions are needed?

With the exception of habit reversal or stop smoking sessions, which are single sessions, treatment usually involves between 3-6 sessions. However, depending on your particular issue this may be more or less. The initial consultation is really a very focussed conversation about your particular issue and what is going on. We can usually establish in this first session how many sessions may be needed.