It may surprise you to know that hypnosis is a natural, relaxed state of mind that often occurs in our everyday lives. The technical definition of hypnosis is “a state of altered awareness and increased suggestibility.” But you might know it as something else.
When you are engrossed in a movie, or a novel, or you miss your freeway exit, you are experiencing common forms of hypnosis. You also experience hypnosis each night, in that groggy state before you fall asleep. Think of any concentrated focused, or meditative task you perform, and it’s likely to be an example of hypnosis.
Even though hypnosis wasn’t known by that name – or as a psychological phenomenon, for that matter – until Scottish doctor James Braid coined the term in 1842, it had a history of use as a therapeutic tool dating back, at least, to ancient Egypt, Africa, India, and Australia.
Over the last 300 years, such names as Franz Anton Mesmer, Sigmund Freud, Doctor Braid, and Milton J. Erickson have helped develop what we know today as hypnotherapy – using hypnosis in conjunction with other therapeutic techniques to help people overcome a wide variety of physical and psychological problems.
Advances in hypnotherapy over the past few decades have lead to wonderful results, in office session and even by the phones. And the list of ways this can help just keeps on growing. Hypnosis therapy can help with:
*I have seen many successes using hypnotherapy for the above mentioned issues, because every person is different, results may vary. Some issues are resolved more quickly for some individual than others.
When therapists apply hypnosis in a clinical setting, the outcomes are successful. But now that you understand hypnosis is more than a party trick, you may wonder how hypnosis works as a therapeutic tool. A hypnotherapist uses a patient’s hypnotic state to explore memories, feelings, and thoughts that are locked away in their subconscious mind. Hypnosis gives patients the tools to take a different approach to their ailments; for example, a person struggling with pain might begin to block their awareness of the pain. Hypnotherapists tend to use hypnosis in two ways, for patient analysis or suggestion therapy.
When approaching the hypnotic state from an analytical perspective, hypnotherapists explore the psychological roots of a disorder by accessing a patient’s hypnotic state. The relaxation that usually occurs during hypnosis enables a hypnotherapist to find psychological bread crumbs that lead to the source of a symptom, disorder, or an addiction. For instance, hypnosis may reveal a traumatic event that lurks in a patient’s unconscious memory. Once the hypnotherapist is aware of the trauma, they can address it in psychotherapy.
Suggestion therapy is a well-known approach to hypnosis therapy. When a person reaches a hypnotic state, they tend to respond positively to suggestions. Thus, hypnotherapy can help modify certain behaviors in people such as smoking or even nail biting. Suggestion therapy is also an effective way to help people change their perception of certain feelings and sensations. Therefore, hypnotherapists will often use suggestion therapy to treat pain.
Hypnosis is believed to work by shifting a patient’s state of consciousness to such a degree that the analytical left side of the brain is inactive, while the non-analytical right side of the brain is more alert. As a result, the conscious mind is suppressed, and the subconscious comes to the forefront.
Having your conscious in the back seat of the mind and letting the subconscious in control is essential to altering a patient’s behavioral and physical state. If you’re not sure why that is, think of it this way: A patient who consciously wants to overcome their fear of heights can consciously take action, but they will fail to move on if their subconscious continues to retain their terror associated with heights. Think of hypnosis therapy as reprogramming the subconscious to alter beliefs and behaviors.
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