Hypnosis is not a therapy in itself. Like most things, it can be used to positive or negative effect. Hypnosis used for entertainment purposes is not what hypnotherapy is about. Hypnosis is used in hypnotherapy to achieve a positive outcome for the client. It is used as a means to a therapeutic end as it were.
Hypnosis is a state of altered awareness and heightened focus. It is a natural state and happens quite frequently for many people. It is similar to daydreaming for instance, when the mind becomes internally focused and where time passes very quickly. Have you ever become so absorbed in reading a book or watching a film to the exclusion of everything else around? Or reached a destination not remembering passing familiar landmarks?
Hypnotherapy is a treatment that utilises the benefits of hypnosis for the positive effect of the patient. The mind is powerful, and thoughts, whether they be positive or negative, can have a physical effect on the body. Based on the premise that mind and body do not work in isolation, by inducing a hypnotic trance state, the hypnotherapist can then help the patient achieve solutions or goals to the presenting symptom, condition or situation, by working with the unconscious mind and stimulating the patients’ mental and physical self-healing processes that lie in the subconscious.
Most people can achieve a hypnotic state. Hypnosis used therapeutically as it is in hypnotherapy, is not about controlling minds. A patient can only be hypnotised with their permission.
Most people can achieve a state of hypnosis if they want to be hypnotised. There are some exceptions, such as very young children, and people with mental difficulties.
The word ‘hypnosis’ is derived from Hypnos, the Greek god of sleep. We hypnotherapists often use the word “sleep” in our work, but in truth, the hypnotic trance state is anything but! Most patients experience a very heightened state of awareness and report being able to hear and remember everything that is said, whilst at the same time, experiencing an almost dream-like state. Some patients experience a certain light-headedness, or find their arms and/or legs, feel lighter or heavier than normal. Other patients feel much more relaxed than they would normally, and others do not feel any differently than they would in their usual fully awakened state. Most patients find hypnosis to be a very pleasant experience and one in which they can respond freely and talk if they wish to.
Some would say all hypnosis is self-hypnosis, and I suppose in some respect I would not disagree because the hypnotherapist is the guide or catalyst that empowers the patient to access their ability to achieve a trance state which in turn, can bring about positive and successful outcomes.
Scientists are not really sure how it works. The autonomic nervous system controls all the automatic functions of the body while we are asleep and it has been proven that words and suggestion can affect the central nervous system while we are awake.
By-passing the conscious mind with all its logical reasoning capacities is the first step in inducing hypnosis. As a hypnotherapist, I use a wide range of techniques to induce a trance state in a patient.
I will invite the patient to concentrate on my voice, and I might also invite them to use their individual abilities to help them achieve a state of very deep calm and comfort but one in which they will still be fully aware of their surroundings, but where their mind will be very inwardly focussed.
When the conscious mind has been by-passed, the patient can, with my help, begin the process of addressing the symptom, condition, situation or presenting problem in his/her unconscious mind. The therapeutic methods I use are usually based on either Direct Suggestion or Analytical, or a mixture of both.
When in this trance state, the patient can ‘reprogramme’ the subconscious, so that situations or feelings can be dealt with or responded to in a different, more acceptable way.
Hypnotherapy is used to treat a diverse variety of symptoms, conditions or presenting problems. It is widely used today in other professional fields including dentistry, sport, the legal system and education. It is fast, drug-free, safe, has no unwelcome side-effects and can accelerate healing and help combat pain.
It can be particularly useful for overcoming fears and phobias, and ceasing problematic habitual behaviour, such as smoking and weight issues.
It can also help alleviate some of the symptoms of physical complaints like allergies, travel sickness, insomnia and irritable bowel syndrome. Used in conjunction with conventional medical treatment, hypnotherapy has demonstrated positive benefits in the treatment of cancer.
It can aid childbirth. Please see the Hypnosis for Birthing page for more information.
Hypnotherapy can be successful in reducing anxiety and also conversely, to enhance performance.
Hypnotherapy is also helpful in providing general health benefits, such as reducing stress, increasing self-esteem and body image.
They can indeed and they usually respond very well and I enjoy working with them. Children are always accompanied at each session by a parent or guardian. I would not recommend hypnotherapy however for children below the age of 5.
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