Hypnotherapy is an alternative curative healing method that is used to create subconscious change in a patient in the form of new responses, thoughts, attitudes, behaviours or feelings.
Hypnotherapy is the use of hypnosis to effect a behavioral change in the subconscious mind in order to achieve some end result. A change in eating habits to help with weight loss for example.
Hypnosis — or hypnotherapy — uses guided relaxation, intense concentration, and focused attention to achieve a heightened state of awareness that is sometimes called a trance.
The person’s attention is so focused while in this state that anything going on around the person is temporarily blocked out or ignored. In this naturally occurring state, a person may focus his or her attention — with the help of a trained therapist — on specific thoughts or tasks.
Hypnosis is usually considered an aid to psychotherapy (counseling or therapy), because the hypnotic state allows people to explore painful thoughts, feelings, and memories they might have hidden from their conscious minds. In addition, hypnosis enables people to perceive some things differently, such as blocking an awareness of pain.
Hypnosis can be used in two ways, as suggestion therapy or for patient analysis.
Suggestion therapy: The hypnotic state makes the person better able to respond to suggestions. Therefore, hypnotherapy can help some people change certain behaviors, such as stopping smoking or nail biting. It can also help people change perceptions and sensations, and is particularly useful in treating pain.
Analysis: This approach uses the relaxed state to explore a possible psychological root cause of a disorder or symptom, such as a traumatic past event that a person has hidden in his or her unconscious memory. Once the trauma is revealed, it can be addressed in psychotherapy.
The hypnotic state allows a person to be more open to discussion and suggestion. It can improve the success of other treatments for many conditions, including:
Hypnosis also might be used to help with pain control and to overcome habits, such as smoking or overeating. It also might be helpful for people whose symptoms are severe or who need crisis management.
Hypnosis, as a practice, is moving from stage entertainment performances to therapy programs for drug and alcohol addiction.
Referred to as hypnotherapy, sessions are said to help reduce stress, manage pain, improve health and even lead to new success. They also are becoming more heavily explored as a treatment option for people trying to break a cycle of dependence, especially in follow-up care.
Educational institutions for medical hypnosis training include Arizona’s Milton Erickson Foundation and the Hypnotherapy Academy of America in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Practitioners say the way to improve the level of success is through continued practice, so that individualized techniques can be applied.
Like drug therapy that is used to treat cravings and modify behaviors, hypnotherapy is administered under expert observation. It is considered a piece of a comprehensive treatment program, and is gaining more recognition nationwide as a viable option for addiction therapy.
In some cases, hypnosis is linked to a reduction in harmful behaviors. It can also be used to give patients a greater feeling of control over their own recovery. However, experts warn that the effects of hypnosis toward drug abuse can be short-lived because the therapy may not reach the true causes that lead the person to abuse a substance.
It is believed most people only utilize approximately five percent of the brain’s capacity — but when unconscious, the brain may be capable of processing millions of operations each moment. Hypnosis experts say creative types of thought emerge during hypnosis, even thoughts bordering on genius levels.
Some medical doctors are exploring hypnotherapy for helping patients manage pain and for relaxation, among other outcomes. Hypnosis may reduce desires for addictive behaviors because it aids in relaxation. In a relaxed state of awareness, a patient may become more open and accepting of recovering from their addiction.
However, as a tool for calming the mind and revealing new perspectives for people suffering from addiction, hypnotherapy may receive increased attention as experts look to refine treatment options for a growing number of compulsions and addictions
As a practice, hypnotherapy is joining the ranks of other medical fields in terms of training. While not potentially be the cure all for addiction, hypnosis and addiction treatment may be a promising combination, especially for its relaxation and calming benefits.
Hypnosis is the act of guiding someone into the trance state. Different experts define the trance state differently, but they almost always refer to:
· A deep state of relaxation.
· Hyperfocus and concentration.
· Increased suggestibility.
If that sounds commonplace, it’s because it is. Most of us go in and out of the trance state regularly. If you’ve ever zoned out on your daily commute, fell into a reverie while listening
to music, or found yourself immersed in the world of a book or movie, you’ve been in the trance state.
The only difference between hypnosis and these everyday trance states is that, in hypnosis, someone induces the trance state to achieve something: healing, discovery, or stress relief, for example.
What about the part where the hypnotist tricks you into quacking like a duck or doing their evil bidding?
The idea that hypnotists can take over the minds of their subjects and control their actions is, of course, an entirely media-driven myth. In the trance state, you control all of your actions, you can hear everything around you, and you cannot be forced to do something against your will.
Certified hypnotherapist Cassie Salewske writes, “In a hypnotherapy session, clients are conscious; they are awake, participating, and remembering.”
Hypnosis, she points out, is known for harnessing “the power of suggestion.” But it’s hardly the only time our minds are susceptible to suggestion.
“Advertising, music, movies, and books routinely plant suggestions into our subconscious. Language and communication are saturated with suggestion,” Salewske writes.
Even participants in stage hypnotism shows operate under the control of their own minds, as it’s impossible for someone not to be conscious while in hypnosis.
To understand the difference between hypnosis and hypnotherapy, think of hypnosis as a tool and hypnotherapy as the use of a tool. In SAT terms, hypnotherapy is to hypnotism as art therapy is to art.
The definition of hypnotherapy is clear from the word itself. Hypnotherapy is the practice of hypnosis for therapeutic purposes. The hypnotic trance state is a remarkably flexible tool for solving mental and physical health problems.
· Helping people quit smoking or reduce overeating by focusing their minds and suggesting healthier behavior.
· Accessing the mind-body link to relieve chronic and acute pain, including during surgery and childbirth. Hypnotherapy has also proven effective against stubborn physical afflictions like irritable bowel syndrome and dermatological conditions.
The most powerful feature of the trance state is how it connects our conscious minds to our subconscious minds.
Hypnotherapy expert Diane Zimberoff, co-founder of the Wellness Institute, compares the subconscious mind to a computer’s file system. Our subconscious is like our hard drive, where we store every experience, emotion, and thought we’ve had.
In the relaxed, hyper-focused state of hypnosis — under the guidance of a hypnotherapist — we can run a Google search on our subconscious, pulling up the repressed memories and buried emotions at the root of our mental health challenges.
“Each unhealthy current behavior, such as smoking, losing one’s temper, excessive alcohol consumption, or compulsive overeating has a chain of events that laid the foundation for all of our current unhealthy choices. Through the ‘memory chip’ that has been laid down in the subconscious mind, we can trace back the experiences and subconscious decisions we made as children that may be leading us to the behavior that is no longer healthy for us.”
“With hypnosis, you might help someone stop smoking by suggesting the taste or smell of cigarettes is worse than it actually is. But a hypnotherapist can also use age regression to examine the impulse that fuels the client’s habit and discover old conclusions and behaviors. The healing will take place when the client creates new conclusions about old memories and chooses new behaviors rather than smoking.”
Because the second approach gets at the root of the problem, it is much more effective than the first. Results come quickly and they last.
Because it provides instant access to the subconscious mind, many therapists find hypnotherapy to be more efficient than traditional therapy techniques.
“Hypnotherapy allows us to drop beneath the rational part of our mind,” explains hypnotherapist Stacie Beam-Bruce. “We can get hung up on not understanding why we do something or why we feel something because it doesn’t make rational sense. Hypnotherapy accesses those emotional beliefs that are running amok.”
The American Psychological Association concludes, “Although hypnosis has been controversial, most clinicians now agree it can be a powerful, effective therapeutic technique for a wide range of conditions, including pain, anxiety and mood disorders.”
The British Psychological Society commissioned a working group to survey the evidence and write a formal report on hypnotherapyin 2001. They found, “Enough studies have now accumulated to suggest that the inclusion of hypnotic procedures may be beneficial in the management and treatment of a wide range of conditions and problems encountered in the practice of medicine, psychiatry and psychotherapy.”
Cutting-edge brain imaging technology now gives us a window into the physical manifestations of hypnotherapy. When they scanned the brains of 57 individuals
undergoing hypnosis, Stanford researchers reported that sections of the brain associated with insight and change showed “altered activity and connectivity.”
Many of the hypnotherapists trained by the Wellness Institute have found hypnotherapy to be most effective against issues stemming from repressed trauma.
“When clients can go back to a time when trauma occurred, express their feelings around events, and release their emotions, they can put a timestamp on events that might have been haunting them in a way that seemed as though they were constantly reliving that traumatizing moment,” Vitale says.
Hypnotherapist Wendy Pugh tells us hypnotherapy works exceptionally well when childhood trauma has occurred.
“With hypnotherapy, my clients have experienced so much healing and have been able to make so many connections to how their past traumas are affecting their current functioning,” she says.
For example, Pugh says, many people don’t realize how deeply their current anxieties are rooted in events of the past.
By probing the past, buried emotions, and the false conclusions locked in your clients’ subconscious minds, you can use hypnotherapy to treat some of the most debilitating and persistent mental health challenges.
Learning hypnotherapy does not commit you to drastically changing your therapy practice,” says hypnotherapist Catherine Reiss. “The training will allow you to more quickly and effectively get to the cause of your clients’ unwanted behaviors and the feelings they present with it, but it also facilitates the use of trance in more traditional formats.”
Once hypnotherapy has opened up to door to your clients’ repressed memories and emotions — foregoing months or years of arduous talk therapy — you can set yourself to the task of healing using your tried-and-true techniques.
Since hypnotherapy is an adjunct form of therapy, used along with other forms of psychological or medical treatment, there are many applications. Hypnotherapy can be used to treat anxiety, phobias, substance abuse including tobacco, sexual dysfunction, undesirable spontaneous behaviors, and bad habits. It can be used to help improve sleep, learning disorders, communication, and relationship issues. Hypnotherapy can aid in pain management and help resolve medical conditions such as digestive disorders, skin issues, and gastrointestinal side effects of pregnancy and chemotherapy. It can also be used by dentists to help patients control their fears or to treat teeth grinding and other oral conditions.
Although there are different techniques, clinical hypnotherapy is generally performed in a calm, therapeutic environment. The therapist will guide you into a relaxed, focused state and ask you to think about experiences and situations in positive ways that can help you change the way you think and behave.
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