CAN I LEARN HYPNOTHERAPY IN A WEEKEND?
Q:How long before my due date should I start with hypnotherapy classes? Is a weekend crash course sufficient?
A:Karin answers: I want to draw a distinction between hypnobirthing and hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy, on the one hand, is an individual process that you will embark upon with a registered psychologist who can also do hypnotherapy for birth preparation. In such a process you might, for example, look at your own experiences of birth (when you were born and any previous children you birthed), review your personal scripts of parenting and do healing regressive work around your experience as a child of being parented, for you to embrace your position of becoming a parent. Old patterns of learning can be released and authentic resourcefulness rediscovered. You will address blocks to your confidence and clear the clutter so that you can have the birth you want and be the best parent that you can be to your child. You can also learn to do self-hypnosis and pain management. Hypnobirthing, on the other hand, is the childbirth education programme that’s designed to teach you self-hypnosis skills for managing your birth. This programme will be more affordable than personal psychotherapy. Your trainer might be a doula, midwife or birth professional, and only some are psychologists. In the course you will learn, among other things, techniques for creating a more comfortable (and even pain free) birth, birthing positions, breathing, visualisation, releasing of fears, befriending your body and bonding with the baby. I advise that you start with your hypnobirthing classes at the beginning of your third trimester. The course is five weeks long and upon completion of the course you still have a few remaining weeks before baby comes to practise, practise, and practise. The reason why we suggest starting at 28 weeks is that by this time you will be taking your pregnancy more seriously. You look pregnant and feel pregnant and the movements of your baby remind you to take your birth preparation seriously. Couples who start the classes too soon have a greater risk of losing interest and forgetting to practise when it is really important. However, if you feel you will be committed enough to practise throughout the pregnancy, you can start as soon as you would like to. The success of hypnobirthing classes rests not on your ability to read the book and carry the knowledge of how it works in your mind, but to train your body to breathe and relax without even consciously thinking about it – through successive practising. Towards the end of your pregnancy, especially the last four weeks, you should be practising daily. Your negative beliefs about birth can be replaced through repetition of affirmations and you can create new neural pathways in the brain through the visualisation of what you would like to achieve and experience in the birth. In this way you teach your brain what you would like to feel and experience on the birth day, so that when your brain needs to select the appropriate automatic responses, you have good options in place. You can replace your fears with confidence and excitement about the upcoming birth. Through each practise session you connect with your body and your baby, building trust in your body’s ability to birth and taking precious time to bond with your baby. Babies want to know that they are loved, acknowledged and wanted. This helps them to feel safe and excited about coming to this world. Reading the book is better than having no knowledge at all; attending a weekend class is better than no classes at all; but the best you can do for yourself is to attend a proper five-week series of classes. The latter option gives you enough time to really process the material and practise the techniques that you will learn in each class. One mother reported that an unexpected benefit of the five classes was the time she got to spend with her husband, purposely creating time to focus on this new baby and bonding together as a family. She felt that five weeks of solid communication and togetherness really strengthened their relationship, which helped them to enter this new stage of their lives as a strong unit. Remember, this is not just about attaining knowledge, but about creating a practice that allows your body and brain to fully prepare for your amazing birth.