Hypnotherapy is a psychological practice in which the subconscious mind is used to help deal with a variety of problems, such as breaking bad habits or coping with stress.
Who can benefit?
Almost everyone, as hypnotherapy uses our inner resources to create beneficial change by stimulating the innate healing capacity of our own bodies. The many problems that can be helped by hypnotherapy include: stress, anxiety, panic, phobias, unwanted habits and addictions (e.g. smoking, overeating, alcoholism), disrupted sleep patterns, lack of confidence and low self-esteem, fear of examinations and public speaking, allergies and skin disorders, migraine and irritable bowel syndrome. It is also of proven value in surgery (where normal anaesthetics are not practical), in pain management, and in sporting and artistic performance enhancement.
How it Works
The hypnotherapist induces a relaxed state in the client and uses a range of techniques to achieve beneficial change. Analytical methods may be used to uncover problems that lie in the past or the focus may be on current life and presenting problems. The client needs to be motivated to change, or at least to believe in the possibility of beneficial change.
Clients should expect to feel comfortable and at ease with their therapist, particularly in hypnotherapy where the value of the treatment is enhanced by confidence in the practitioner. Hypnotherapy is a fairly short-term approach in which beneficial change should become apparent within relatively few sessions.
What is Hypnosis?
Healing achieved through trance state or an altered state of awareness is found in virtually every culture in the world, and could be regarded as the original psychological therapy. The term hypnosis (from the Greek hypnos = sleep) was coined around 1840 by Dr James Braid, although it is an inaccurate description of the experience as the hypnotic state is unlike sleep.
Hypnosis is a state of mind enhanced by mental and physical relaxation in which the subconscious is able to communicate with the conscious mind. It is widely accepted as an excellent method for accessing inner potential. The state of mind may be brought about by oneself (self-hypnosis), or with the help of a trained professional who uses it to promote beneficial change – which is the process of hypnotherapy.
Who can be hypnotised?
Virtually everyone, though some are more hypnotisable than others. Also the subject must be willing to be hypnotised, which will partly depend on the strength of their need and their trust and confidence in the therapist. Most practitioners agree that the level or depth of trance achieved does not relate to the likelihood of beneficial results being obtained. So even where a person feels they have not been hypnotised, the desired outcome is often still achieved given sufficient time.
People are sometimes concerned that they will ‘lose control’ in hypnosis – an anxiety that seems to arise from misconceptions about stage hypnosis, where participants are apparently made to perform foolish acts not of their own volition. Participation in a stage act however is entirely voluntary and individuals are well aware what they are letting themselves in for.
In fact, however deeply people go into hypnosis and however passive they appear to be, they actually remain in full control - able to talk if they wish and able to stand up and leave at any time. More importantly, a hypnotised person cannot be made to do anything that will conflict with their usual ethical or moral judgements.