What is Clinical Hypnotherapy?

Have you ever been totally absorbed while reading a book, cooking or watching a movie?

Did you zone out to the point you didn’t notice what else was going on around you? If so, you’ve experienced a trance-like state that’s similar to what happens to you during hypnosis.

Hypnosis, also referred to as hypnotherapy or hypnotic suggestion, is a trance-like state of mind. It is usually achieved with the help of a hypnotherapist and is different from your everyday awareness. When you’re under hypnosis:

-Your attention is more focused

-You’re deeply relaxed and calm

-You’re more open to suggestions, and less critical or disbelieving

The purpose of hypnosis is to help you gain more control over your behavior, emotions or physical well-being. Hypnotherapists say that hypnosis creates a state of deep relaxation and quiets the mind. When you’re hypnotised, you can concentrate intensely on a specific thought, memory, feeling or sensation while blocking out distractions. You’re more open than usual to suggestions, and this can be used to change your behavior and thereby improve your health and well-being.

Who is hypnosis for?

Hypnotherapy has the potential to help relieve the symptoms of a wide variety of diseases and conditions. It can be used independently or along with other treatments. According to scientific studies, hypnotherapy may be used to:

• Change negative behaviours, such as smoking and overeating
• Reduce or eliminate fears, stress and anxiety
• Lower blood pressure
• Control nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy
• Reduce the intensity or frequency of pain
• Treat and ease the symptoms of asthma

Types of hypnosis

There are a variety of hypnotic techniques. The approach you choose depends on what you want to accomplish as well as your personal preferences. For example, in one method a hypnotherapist leads you into hypnosis by talking in a gentle, soothing tone and describing images that create a sense of relaxation, security and well-being. While you’re under hypnosis, the hypnotherapist suggests ways for you to achieve specific goals, such as reducing pain or stress or helping to eliminate the cravings associated with smoking cessation.

In another technique, once you’re under hypnosis, the hypnotherapist helps stimulate your imagination by suggesting specific mental images for you to visualise. This conscious creation of vivid, meaningful pictures in your mind is called mental imagery, and it’s a way to help bring about what you want to achieve. Self-hypnosis is a third technique. A certified hypnotherapist teaches you how to induce a state of hypnosis in yourself. You then use this skill on your own to help yourself. For instance, hypnotherapists can help executives visualise what they want to accomplish before they perform it, such as giving a presentation or making a sale.

Although hypnotherapists, like other health care practitioners, each have their own style, expect some common elements:

• A typical session lasts from 30 to 60 minutes.
• The number of sessions can range from one to several.
• You generally bring yourself out of hypnosis at the end of a session.
• You can usually resume your daily activities immediately after a session.

Myths about hypnosis

If you’ve ever seen hypnotism used as entertainment in a stage act, you’ve probably witnessed several of the myths about hypnosis in action. Legitimate clinical hypnotherapy practiced by a qualified professional is not the same process as that performed on stage.

Myth: When you’re under hypnosis, you surrender your free will.
Reality: Hypnosis is a heightened state of concentration and focused attention. When you’re under hypnosis, you don’t lose your personality, your free will or your personal strength.

Myth: When you’re under hypnosis, the hypnotherapist controls you.
Reality: You do hypnosis voluntarily for yourself. A hypnotherapist only serves as a knowledgeable guide or facilitator.

Myth: Under hypnosis, you lose consciousness and have amnesia.
Reality: A small number of people who go into a very deep hypnotic state experience amnesia. However, most people remember everything that occurred under hypnosis.

Myth: You can be put under hypnosis without your consent.
Reality: Successful hypnosis depends on your willingness to experience it. Even with voluntary participation, not everyone can be led into a hypnotic state