Flic Everett, a content writer for The Daily Mail, had been suffering from insomnia since lockdown began in the UK. Living alone, having a destroyed sleep pattern, and dealing with existential dread accumulated into restlessness and sleeplessness. After some time, she thought, 'it's time for the big guns...bring on the hypnotherapy,' via Zoom.

Therapeutic hypnosis, simply put, means putting a client 'into a calm and receptive state by tapping into the subconscious mind. By encouraging a deep state of relaxation, focus increases and the brain absorbs new messages more readily.'

According to a study from the University of Manchester, Skype hypnotherapy sessions are almost as effective as face-to-face sessions. Professor Peter Whorwell, the lead researcher originally conducted experiments to help 20 patients suffering from severe irritable bowel syndrome.

The first of the 12 therapy sessions were face to face while the remaining 11 were via Skype. After hypnotherapy, all the patients claimed to have significant improvement in their symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, and bowel function. Moreover, there were also notable improvements in heartburn, chest pain, constant lethargy, nausea, headaches, and bladder issues. The patients' quality of life improved along with depression and anxiety.

An earlier study by Whorwell included 1000 patients who received face-to-face treatments. Compared to the 20 people who had online sessions, there was not much difference in results.

Dolphins in Jamaica

So was Flic ready to give this an actual try with her insomnia and entrust her consciousness to Abbey Robb? Abbey had been conducting hypnotherapy via Zoom for the last years, mostly dealing with anxiety and health conditions. Flic was only one of many who had called her for insomnia issues since lockdown.

Flic's only concern was that if the call suddenly drops due to bad connection or some other internet glitch, she could be in a trance forever, but Robb assured her that's impossible. Before starting the session, the writer had to fill out a questionnaire, asking for her happiest memory.

'Mine is swimming with dolphins in Jamaica,' wrote Flic. The session officially began with her sitting on the sofa, laptop in front, and deep breathing exercises.

Abbey's soothing voice went on to talk 'about my dolphin memory, about lapping waves and fresh seawater,' Flic described. As the voice continued talking about a hot sun sinking into her bones, warmth spreading from the outside in, Flic is finally relaxed for the first time in a long while. 

Flic drifts into a haze, 'like a distant consciousness,' and was brought back gently to her surroundings. About half an hour has passed when Flic opens her eyes, waves to Abbey on the screen, and the session ends. 

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Miracle in Her Bedroom 

'Unlike face-to-face hypnosis, I didn't feel self-conscious. I was worried I might drift off and snore, or burst into tears. Via a screen, it's less personal, but somehow, more intimate.'

She was relaxed and happy for the rest of the day, then came the real obstacle- bedtime. At midnight, Flic shuts her eyes, brushed off worrying thoughts, then breathed deeply while replaying her dolphin memory.

The next day she woke up refreshed, to her surprise and slept all night without interruption. 'To achieve this miracle, I didn't even need to leave my bedroom.' 

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