Hypnotherapy has many tangible benefits when provided by trained professionals. Some of the techniques can be used at home to help alleviate a variety of conditions. Hypnosis is not just some parlor trick or stage magic. It can be used effectively and therapeutically by trained professionals. Hypnosis leaves a patient with a sense of “hyper-suggestibility”, if they are able to be hypnotized, after a series of hypnotic procedures. The purpose of this state is to allow patients to “increase motivation or alter behavior patterns”, according to Dr. John Kappas, founder of the Hypnosis Motivation Institute. Historically, in the Victorian era, hypnotherapy “employed direct suggestion” so that patients could, for example, achieve relaxation, and perhaps they could also decrease alcohol and drug use. Milton Erickson, in the 1950s, used a “conversational approach”. The Cognitive Behavior Therapists could also use hypnosis in their practices. Some therapists believe that hypnosis is not a “special state”, but it is really the result of “active imagination, expectation, appropriate attitudes, and motivation”. Hypnosis can be used in childbirth, as well as pregnancy, to decrease pain, discomfort, and anxiety. In psychotherapy, it has been found to treat depression, anxiety, and insomnia, addiction, and habit disorders.1 The state of hypnosis is one of relaxation, and patients are aware of what is going on. Patients will not forget anything, unless they choose to. The aim of hypnosis is to allow the subconscious to “accept positive suggestions” and it allows the mind and body the opportunity to heal itself. It can also strengthen the will and personality aspects that the patient desires. Hypnosis is not something that is done to the patient; in a way, it is self-induced, but it can be triggered by external suggestions.2
Hypnosis Myths Debunked
The first thing it is important to remember about the state of hypnosis is that “you cannot be hypnotized against your will,” according to Dr. Bruce Goldberg. Secrets will not be revealed, and hypnosis is not for weak or “unintelligent people”. The more imaginative and strong-willed the patient, the better the subject. People who are hypnotized are not in a deep sleeplike trance; they can think, act, hear, talk, or open their eyes in a state of hypnosis. It is not magic.3 People will not be hypnotized forever, and hypnosis is not a “zombie state”. Mental control and willpower will not be lost.4 It does not work like a “truth serum”, and it is not dangerous. Hypnotherapy does not work in just one session, and it will not fix all problems. If a patient really wishes to be hypnotized, they will be, in time.5
For hypnosis to work, whether with a therapist or alone, a patient must be willing and able to enter into a trance-like state, but not fall asleep. The suggestions from the therapist (or audio CD, etc.) must be worded properly, and the actions must be within the patient’s abilities. Patients need to do “follow up work and reinforcement”.6 A patient who is willing, able to concentrate, and is motivated can be hypnotized.7 Hypnotherapists guide the patient as a facilitators.8 There are many self-help audio programs that can allow patients to hypnotize themselves. The therapy might be effective in helping the patient achieve weight loss, smoking cessation, and treat many other conditions.9 Therapists can also teach patients self-hypnotic techniques in order to “induce relaxation and/or strengthen their self-esteem”. Some childbirth techniques may include “glove anesthesia”, where a patient pretends their hand is numb and uses it to alleviate their pain, “time distortion”, where perception of pain is reduced, and “imaginative transformation”, where the pain is perceived as non-threatening.10
Hypnotic Massage Therapy
Massage therapy, which is already a very relaxing experience for the patient, could also help to encourage hypnosis. The mind and body are deeply connected, and a patient that is in an advanced state of relaxation may even be able to clear emotional trauma and speed the healing of injuries. It is thought that old injuries might be still locked in the “‘muscle memory’ of the body, preventing healing”, and hypnotic massage therapy could help the patient experience an emotional and physical release.11 A massage therapist that is also employing hypnotherapy will often speak softly to their patient in order to calm them and help them fall further into their relaxed state. Soothing words, massage strokes that match the rate of the patient’s breathing, and even slow, steady breaths that mirror the patient’s might help the therapist guide their patient into a trance state. Every patient is different, and they will all experience different levels of hypnosis. Whether or not a patient truly becomes hypnotized, a relaxing massage on its own can do wonders for their mental and physical health.12
2, 4 http://www.path-found.com/cchfacts.cfm
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