A hypnotherapist is using technology to keep in touch with her clients ‘face-to-face’, she tells Health Editor Barry Nelson

RACHAEL Armstrong loves living in rural Swaledale and, despite her relative isolation, she can earn a living there as a clinical hypnotherapist – with the help of Skype.

Technology-savvy people with relatives or friends living abroad will probably already be familiar with the software that turns your computer screen into a video phone. All that is needed is a good, fast broadband internet connection and a computer with a webcam.

Rachael, who is a fully-qualified hynotherapist, has found Skype to be an ideal way of delivering her services to clients. She first started using it while working in rural New Zealand and, after returning to her home village of Halton, near Bedale, she has used it to help people overcome a range of problems.

Many of her clients are unfamiliar with Skype – which allows real-time face-to-face communication – but as long as they have broadband and a webcam, the set-up is free, quick and simple.

In the past week or so, Rachel has used it during online consultations to help a woman from Shildon get over her fear of flying, a man in Northallerton to lose weight and to help a Richmond client suffering from stress.

She has also helped a woman from Darlington overcome her fear of birds. “We did one session to cure her fear of birds involving the Benny Hill TV comedy theme to make birds seem laughable rather than sinister,” she says.

Many people who contact Rachael are anxious about the image of hypnotherapy and she directs them to frequently-asked questions on her website. Clients are assured that hypnosis is a naturally occurring state of physical and emotional relaxation, which we all drift in and out of every day.

“It is that daydreaming feeling you may have experienced while driving, read or watching TV,” says Rachael. “Hynotherapy works by guiding this relaxed state to access the subconscious mind, which is receptive to suggestions.”

Rachael stresses that during hypnosis the therapist is in full control at all times and people do not become unconscious. “Clients are often surprised that they hear what is said to them and enjoy the sense of deep, comfortable relaxation hypnosis brings,” she says.

One of Rachael’s recent clients, Sarah Robinson, 38, from Darlington, is now more than one-and-a-half stones lighter after being hypnotised. Sarah says she was initially unsure about Skype, but found it just as good as face-to-face contact.

“Once you have the headphones on, all you can hear is Rachael and it’s just like being in the same room as her,” she says. “It is very relaxing and very effective. Skype works and I feel great.” For someone juggling full-time work, study-ing and her duties as a mum, Skype has been a convenient way to have her weight loss sessions with no travel time or cost and no need to worry about childcare.

Another client, David, who lives near Catterick, lost 2st after being hypnotised by Rachael. Like several of her clients, he prefers to relax in bed during Skype sessions. Not only has he lost weight, he no longer needs joint replacement surgery.

“I had never used Skype until I met Rachael, but I would recommend it,” says David, who can now enjoys kickabout with his grandchildren.

Rachael plays down the idea that distance therapy is a new concept. “After all, Sigmund Freud communicated with his clients via letter,” she says.

  • For more information go to progressthroughhypnosis.co.uk, email rachael@progressthroughhypnosis.co.uk or call 07851-906696