Sonia Samtani is an expert in the field of hypnotherapy, having studied retrospective therapy and inner child psychotherapy since 2005 and subsequently coaching a myriad of courses. She has employed her skills to help many overcome their traumas, both psychological – fear, anxiety and self-doubt – and physical, as well as working with clients to target respective goals. We sat down with Sonia to understand more about the alternative wellness method.
What is hypnotherapy and what sorts of issues can it target?
Hypnotherapy is about using the state of hypnosis to align your subconscious mind to your conscious goals. The only reason we cannot achieve our goals is because our subconscious mind contains beliefs that are opposing to our goals. For example, your goal could be to feel peaceful on a plane, but you feel anxious because you have the belief that flying is dangerous. Pep talks don’t work because it’s only talking to your conscious mind, and your defences can reject words that are against your belief system. The only way to adjust a belief is to access the subconscious mind, and alter the program from the root level. Hypnotherapy is not about mind control or taking over someone – in fact it is quite the opposite and very similar to meditation. The “trance” state is achieved by focused attention and guided visualisation to increase a person’s suggestibility, so that they can achieve their behavioural goals.
Hypnotherapy helps with many mental, emotional, behavioural and physical issues including…
- Fears and phobias
- Eating disorders
- Habit cessation
- Overcoming loss
- Enhancing performance
- Pain management
- Overcoming trauma
- Dealing with confusion
- Discovering your life purpose
Can you briefly tell us about the process of the sessions?
The First Session: Our first role is to clearly identify the client’s objective and gain some background on the issue. All behaviour is governed by beliefs, and we work with the beliefs you have accumulated in the subconscious mind that are holding you back. During the session you will learn how the mind works, and discover beliefs that you have that are sabotaging you towards achieving your goal. We end with a tailor-made guided meditation that you can take home and listen to for the next few weeks.
Subsequent Sessions: Each session comprises of several healing techniques, hypnotherapy, visualisations and exercises to release the disempowering beliefs and experiences from your subconscious mind. We believe that this journey is a partnership between you and the therapist, who will be giving you simple exercises to do for homework so that you can maintain the shifts at home and create lasting change together.
How did you get into hypnotherapy?
I was always interested in personal development and how the mind worked. At the age of 15 I started reading books on how to harness your personal power, and by the time I was 22 years old I was working for the world-famous success coach Tony Robbins. I experienced tremendous shifts in my own levels of confidence and overcoming my limiting beliefs. Getting into hypnotherapy was a natural progression from there – I had a quest for knowledge and wanted a deeper understanding of how I created my own limiting beliefs. Through my coaching, I found effective strategies to deal with my personal triggers, and with hypnotherapy I got much more than that – I understood where my triggers came from and eradicated beliefs from my mind, so I was no longer triggered at all.
How do Hongkongers respond to this alternative wellness method?
Previously, hypnotherapy has been the place that people go to when they’ve tried many other methods (which didn’t work) and they’re desperate to resolve their issues so they will try anything! I am happy to say that things have changed and many people in Hong Kong are now approaching hypnotherapy as their first choice to tackle deep-seated issues. This could be because we are moving away from the taboo of hypnotherapy being a “scary” technique, and moving towards an understanding of how important it is to work on your mental health. Hongkongers are finally seeing that, just like it’s natural to see the doctor for a solution for your diabetes, it’s also natural to go to a mental health practitioner for a solution to your anxiety.
What about inner child healing? I think a lot of people have the misconception that this is only about healing the unpleasant memories of childhood.
Inner Child healing is about resolving the parts of you that are stuck in the trauma of the past and preventing you from being fully present. You are simply healing younger versions of yourself that are still stuck in the pain of past events and haven’t been able to move past it. In this sense, it is healing your unpleasant memories and making them more pleasant by releasing the judgments and emotions. Once you have healed that part, you will be able to face the same situations with more peace and acceptance. The results of inner-child healing are greater peace, more clarity, feeling more in control, and having more courage to face current situations.
As a healer, can you share any changes in your personal perception towards life since you started your spiritual journey?
My life has changed tremendously as a result of my spiritual journey; the biggest shift has been to have greater sense of acceptance of myself, other people, and situations. I have been able to move away from judging things and towards accepting that we all have a dark side. Looking at that side with love and acceptance is much more powerful than criticising or suppressing it. When people behave the way they do, I endeavour to understand why rather than to judge it as being good or bad. I understand that everyone is living in a subjective reality and it doesn’t work to focus on “who is right,” but you get far more connection with people and expand your own awareness by understanding the different perspectives.
During these trying times, many are experiencing urban health issues. How might hypnotherapy mitigate these?
There are enough studies that show us how the build-up of stress leads to suppressing toxicity in the body, lowering immunity, and increasing susceptibility to disease. My services help by dealing with the grassroots of the issue and altering your thoughts and perceptions, which help prevent health issues from arising. Hypnotherapy is great for dealing with issues that are blocking us from accepting all the changes that are occurring with COVID-19, such as anxiety, stress, fears, phobias, immunity levels, loss, and the confidence to be with the unknown.
Can you suggest any daily practices that could help us to look more introspectively?
Life will continue to show us light and dark sides, and our journey is to accept both. Our biggest growth comes from overcoming challenges, so a great practice when facing anything difficult is to ask yourself “what can I learn from this situation?” Focusing on what there is to learn or accept will naturally guide your focus inwards and take you away from the blame-game. A great nightly ritual before going to bed is to do a review of your day writing down three things that you are grateful for, what you have learned today, and asking yourself what grudges you are ready to let go of. Then take seven deep breaths to imagine yourself letting go of toxic emotions so that you can face the same situations with more acceptance.
What Wellness Means to Me: Belinda Koo