What is hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is the practice of bringing the conscious mind into a trance-like state in order to make the subconscious mind more receptive to suggestion. A trained and certified hypnotherapist guides you into a deep state of focus and relaxation with verbal cues, repetition and imagery. When you are under hypnosis, this intense level of concentration and focus allows you to ignore ordinary distractions and be more open to guided suggestions to make changes to improve your health. It can be used to alleviate pain, treat phobias, decrease anxiety, improve dementia or sleep disorders, and to explore past memories.
How does hypnotherapy work?
It is commonly believed that in the deep state of focus and relaxation that is achieved with hypnosis:
- Your conscious mind is quieted.
- You are able to tap into the part of your brain where your thoughts, beliefs, perceptions, sensations, emotions, memory and behaviors originate.
- In this state, you are more open to gentle guidance from your hypnotherapist to help you modify or replace the unconscious thoughts that are driving your current behavior.
What are some myths about hypnotherapy?
Myth: Hypnosis is not real. It’s a form of entertainment.
- Clinical hypnotherapy is a type of medical therapy that’s often used as part of a treatment plan that includes traditional medical approaches.
Myth: You are under the control of your hypnotherapist when hypnotized.
- Your hypnotherapist guides the session with suggestions based on the clients goals, but hypnosis is something you do for yourself. You cannot be made to do anything against your will as the primary goal of your subconscious mind is to survive/protect. You will not reveal any information that you wish to remain secret and you will not lose control over your behavior. Hypnotherapy makes the client more open and willing to experience suggestions but does not force the client to have certain experiences.
Myth: Hypnosis is nothing more than deep sleep.
- There are some deeper forms of hypnosis that could make you appear to be asleep because your body is very still and quiet, but you are not actually asleep. During clinical hypnotherapy sessions, you are seated upright in a chair to prevent the client from falling asleep.
What conditions is hypnotherapy helpful in treating?
Hypnotherapy may help treat any number of medical conditions in which psychological factors influence physical symptoms.
Common mental health uses include:
- Stress, anxiety, panic attacks.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Behavior control issues, habit breaking/or healthy habit forming practices.
Common medical uses include:
- Pain management
- Migraines, tension headaches
- PMS or hot flashes during menopause.
- Gastrointestinal disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
- Side effects of certain medical treatments, including nausea and vomiting.
Common self-improvement uses include:
- Weight loss
- Smoking cessation
- Relaxation techniques
- Improve memory
- Improve concentration
- Improve study habits
- Exam preparation/anxiety
- Improve sports ability through mental confidence
- Speed reading
- Enhance creativity
- Improve salesmanship
- Nail biting
How do people describe the hypnotic experience?
Some clients may feel like they are “zoned in” or in a trance-like state — so focused that they are able to block out surrounding distractions.
Have you ever been so focused on a TV show or so entrenched in a good book that you don’t hear your family talking around you? This experience is somewhat similar to how you might feel while hypnotized.
Many people say they feel calm and relaxed despite their increased concentration.
Is hypnotherapy used as the sole treatment?
Depending on the client goals and reasons for seeking assistance, hypnotherapy may be used as a stand alone treatment or in conjunction with other treatments. The decision to use hypnotherapy in a clinical setting as a sole treatment or as an add-on treatment in psychotherapy or traditional medicine is made in consultation with a qualified professional who’s trained in the use and limitations of hypnotherapy.
*If you are interested in trying hypnotherapy but are not sure if it is right for you, please schedule a complimentary discovery call with Summer first to discuss your options.
What type of person benefits the most from hypnotherapy?
The person most likely to benefit is the person who is highly motivated to overcome an issue. The more mentally invested you are in your personal goals, the higher the likelihood of success with hypnotherapy. For example, if you choose to do hypnotherapy solely because your significant other wants you to stop smoking your results may vary in comparison to if you are willing/ready to stop smoking for your own purposes.
Is hypnotherapy inappropriate for some people or in certain situations?
Hypnosis may not be appropriate for people with severe mental health issues, such as psychotic symptoms, including hallucinations and delusions. It might also be inappropriate for someone who uses drugs or alcohol. The use of hypnosis for memory retrieval is largely unsupported by research. Caution is also advised regarding its use in managing stressful events from early life. The use of hypnosis in these situations may create false memories, especially if unintended suggestions are given, and could cause more distress and anxiety