Hypnosis is a trance-like deep relaxed state in which you have heightened focus and concentration. Hypnosis is usually done with the help of a hypnotherapist using verbal repetition and mental images. When you’re under hypnosis, you usually feel calm and relaxed, and are more open to suggestions. You are wake and alert and can hear what is said. The conscious mind (analytical mind) is relaxed and the subconscious mind is accessed. The subconscious mind is where all memories and habits are stored.
Hypnotherapy can be an effective method for coping with stress and anxiety.
Hypnosis can be used to help you gain control over undesired behaviors or to help you cope better with anxiety or pain. It’s important to know that although you’re more open to suggestion during hypnosis, you don’t lose control over your behavior.
Hypnosis is used for:
- Pain control. Hypnosis may be beneficial for pain associated with cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, joint problems, dental procedures and headaches.
- Hot flashes. Hypnosis may relieve symptoms of hot flashes associated with menopause.
- Behavior change. Hypnosis has been used with some success in the treatment of insomnia, bed-wetting, smoking, weight loss, stress, and fears.
Hypnosis that’s conducted by a trained therapist or health care professional is a safe, complementary and alternative medicine treatment. However, hypnosis may not be appropriate in people with severe mental illness.
What happens at a hypnosis session?
Your therapist will explain the process of hypnosis and review what you hope to accomplish. Then the therapist will typically talk in a gentle, soothing tone and describe images that create a sense of relaxation, security and well-being.
When you’re in a receptive state, the therapist will suggest ways for you to achieve your goals, such as reducing pain or eliminating cravings to smoke. The therapist also may help you visualize vivid, meaningful mental images of yourself accomplishing your goals.
When the session is over your therapist helps you end your trance-like state.
Contrary to how hypnosis is sometimes portrayed in movies or on television, you don’t lose control over your behavior while under hypnosis. Also, you remain aware of and remember what happens under hypnosis.
Eventually you may be able to practice self-hypnosis, in which you induce a state of hypnosis in yourself. You can use this skill as needed.
Hypnosis can be effective in helping people cope with pain, stress and anxiety. It may also be effective as part of a comprehensive program for quitting smoking or losing weight.
Hypnosis isn’t right for everyone. For example, you may not be able to enter a state of hypnosis fully enough to make it effective. All hypnosis is self-hypnosis in other words no one can be hypnotized without their permission. Some therapists believe that the more likely you are to be hypnotized, the more likely it is that you’ll benefit from hypnosis.