What is Hypnotherapy?

What is hypnosis?                                                                                        

There is no debate as to whether hypnosis exists or works. Science simply cannot agree on what it is and how it works, although The British Society of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis states:

“In therapy, hypnosis usually involves the person experiencing a sense of deep relaxation with their attention narrowed down, and focused on appropriate suggestions made by the therapist.”

These suggestions help people make positive changes within themselves. Long gone are the days when hypnosis was seen as waving watches and controlling people’s minds. In a hypnotherapy session you are always in control and you are not made to do anything. It is generally accepted that all hypnosis is ultimately self-hypnosis.

A hypnotist merely helps to facilitate your experience – hypnotherapy is not about being made to do things, in fact it is the opposite, it is about empowerment.

Definition of hypnotherapy

Contrary to popular belief, hypnosis is not a state of deep sleep. It involves the induction of a trance-like condition. When in it, the patient is actually in an enhanced state of awareness, concentrating entirely on the hypnotist’s voice. In this relaxed state, the conscious mind is suppressed and the subconscious mind is revealed. The therapist is then able to suggest ideas, concepts and lifestyle adaptations to the patient, the seeds of which become firmly planted.

Hypnotherapy is the practice of promoting positive development or healing. Hypnotherapy aims to re-program patterns of behavior within the mind, enabling irrational fears, negative thoughts and suppressed emotions to be overcome. As the body is released from conscious control during the relaxed state of hypnosis, breathing becomes slower and deeper, the pulse rate drops and the metabolic rate falls. Similar changes along nervous pathways and hormonal channels enable the sensation of pain to become less acute, and the awareness of unpleasant symptoms, such as nausea or indigestion, to be alleviated.

Four extracts from Dr. Hilary Jones’ book, “Doctor, What’s the Alternative?” provide an accurate and accessible description of what hypnotherapy is, how it works, and how hypnotherapy can help you change and grow:

How does it work?

Hypnosis alters our state of consciousness in such a way that the analytical left-hand side of the brain is turned off, while the non-analytical right-hand side is made more alert. The conscious control of the mind is inhibited, and the subconscious mind awoken. The subconscious mind is a deeper-seated, more instinctive force than the conscious mind this is the part which has to change for the client’s behavior and physical state to alter.

For example, a client who consciously wants to overcome their fear of spiders may try everything they consciously can to do it, but will still fail as long as their subconscious mind retains this terror and prevents the client from succeeding. Progress can only be made by reprogramming the subconscious so that deep-seated instincts and beliefs are abolished or altered.

What form might the treatment take?

Any misconceptions a potential client may have about hypnosis should be dispelled. The technique does not involve the client being put into a deep sleep, and the client cannot be made to do anything they would not ordinarily do. They remain fully aware of their surroundings and situation, and are not vulnerable to every given command of the therapist. The important thing is that the patient wants to change some behavioral habit or addiction and is highly motivated to do so. They have to want the treatment to work and must establish a good clinical rapport with the therapist in order for it to do so.

The readiness and ability of patients to be hypnotized varies considerably and hypnotherapy generally requires several sessions in order to achieve meaningful results. However the patient can learn the technique of self-hypnosis which can be practiced at home, to reinforce the usefulness of formal sessions with the therapist. This can help counter distress and anxiety-related conditions.

What problems can be treated by hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy can be applied to many psychological, emotional and physical disorders. It is used to relieve pain in surgery and dentistry and has proved to be of benefit in obstetrics. It can shorten the delivery stage of labor and reduce the need for painkillers. It can ease the suffering of the disabled and those facing terminal illness, and it has been shown to help people to overcome addictions such as smoking and alcoholism, and to help with bulimia. Children are generally easy to hypnotize and can be helped with bedwetting and chronic asthma.

Fears of all kinds lend themselves well to hypnotherapy, and anyone suffering from panic attacks or obsessional compulsive behavior, and stress-related problems like insomnia, may benefit. Conditions exacerbated by tension, such as irritable bowel syndrome, psoriasis and eczema, and excessive sweating respond well, and even tinnitus can be treated by these techniques.

What is Hypnosis?

Hypnotherapy  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.