30 Aug, 2013

Have Hypnosis, Will Go Far

Have Hypnosis, Will Go Far

Next time you go on a long run or ride with your training partners, or participate in a race, take note of the chatter around you and you’ll probably hear one or more of the following things: “I just couldn't keep up with the bunch… I just can’t seem to hit my goal time… My mind wasn't in the right place today.” This could even be you talking – and if so, don’t feel bad, because many athletes struggle to improve their speed and their times, or find it hard to maintain motivation for training, or battle a fear of pain, or even a fear of something specific to their sport, like open water swimming. Most of these issues are associated with the mind – that little voice that says, “I can’t, I am tired, I need to walk,” or worse, “I am going to bail.”


The good news is that hypnotherapy has proven to have a therapeutic effect, creating a breakthrough for many athletes to get past the barrier created in the mind, says hypnotherapist Arthur Long, managing director of The International Academy of Hypnosis. He has 47 years of hypnosis and hypnotherapy experience and runs his own practice in Fourways, Johannesburg, called Hypnotherapy-SA. He first saw the wonderful results of hypnosis in treating stroke victims and bypassing damaged neural pathways in people who had suffered back damage. Later he met the hypnotherapist working with the highly successful Australian Olympic team, who introduced him to sports therapies, which Art has subsequently used when working with numerous athletes, including numerous Olympians, and helped 11 athletes reach world champion status.



Arthur claims that an athlete’s motivation and drive can be destroyed by having the wrong coach or getting the wrong training advice or feedback on performance, because people relive words without realising it, and often they remember bad remarks in particular. “This causes unrealistic restrictions in the brain and once an athlete has branded themselves with the ‘I can’t’ label, they seldom overcome that. Everything you think affects every atom of your brain, and the brain can add to a problem and make things worse, but hypnotherapy helps athletes to break the bad agreements they have formed in their minds, which are inevitably holding them back, and to control competition nerves, deal with competition conditions, and push themselves to a higher performance.”


Arthur also says that an athlete could have an issue at home or at work that causes them to under-perform, as their mind is not on the race. “Hypnotherapy can help the athlete to divide situations and leave the work and home troubles aside while concentrating on the race at hand.” He also says the mind power of a typical Comrades runner is incredible, and it is because they deal with the moment at hand, many who struggle are struggling due to previous programming in the mind.



Hypnotherapy sessions for athletes usually last 90 minutes. The first 40 minutes are spent discussing what you feel are your weak points or problems, followed by 40 minutes in which the hypnotherapist will change your thought process to alter the way you have been thinking, which can sometimes be deeply engrained in the mind, in order to make a breakthrough. Arthur says he purely uses words in his practice, to override the negativity in the subconscious, and it all depends on the athlete as to how many sessions are needed.


Arthur claims that many athletes who underachieve have experienced an unpleasant event in their earlier years, but he doesn't believe in rehashing the past. Instead, he teaches the subconscious to let go and thus creates a strong confidence in the athlete that cannot be created on the surface of the mind. “The effect this process has on the athlete is incredible. A weight lifts from their shoulders and they go into a state of utter relaxation, and that is when the performance picks up dramatically. Words can either make or break an athlete,” he concludes.

If you would like to have a session with Arthur, contact him on or 083 384 0907. If you are interested in joining the International Academy of Hypnosis, contact Lindy-Lee Shepherd at or 083 685 6263.