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What is Hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy is a word which describes the process whereby a hypnotherapist guides you into a state of relaxation, either light or deep, and the then uses a variety of hypnotic techniques to help you make change in the way that you think, feel, and therefore subsequently behave.

Hypnotherapists tend to use an integrative approach, the techniques range from direct and indirect suggestions through to the use of hypnotic metaphor. It is a relaxing and often enjoyable experience.

What is Hypnosis?

Hypnosis is a method by which any person may be guided into an altered state of conscious awareness ('hypnotic trance') in which psychological and physical changes, beyond normal conscious capability, may be achieved.

Anyone can be hypnotised, if you can relax and follow simple instructions you can enjoy hypnotic trance. Measurable psychological and physical changes occur in hypnosis.
Is Hypnotherapy officially recognised?

'Hypnotism' is legally acknowledged and defined by the Hypnotism Act 1952, in the UK Book of Statutes.

In their 1892 Hypnotism Report, the British Medical Association (BMA) officially recognise the hypnotic trance: 'The Committee, having completed such investigation of hypnotism as time permitted, have to report that they have satisfied themselves of the genuineness of the hypnotic state.' The Committee also acknowledged that 'as a therapeutic agent hypnotism is frequently effective in relieving pain, procuring sleep, and alleviating many functional ailments' (BMA, 1892).

In 1955 a follow-up report was commissioned which endorsed the findings of the original 1892 Committee, and added the conclusions that 'hypnotism is of value and may be the treatment of choice in some cases of so-called psycho-somatic disorder and psychoneurosis. It may also be of value for revealing unrecognised motives and conflicts in such conditions. As a treatment, in the opinion of the Subcommittee it has proved its ability to remove symptoms and to alter morbid habits of thought and behaviour. In addition to the treatment of psychiatric disabilities, there is a place for hypnotism in the production of anaesthesia or analgesia for surgical and dental operations, and in suitable subjects it is an effective method of relieving pain in childbirth without altering the normal course of labour.' (BMA, 1955)

The reality of hypnosis and benefits of hypnotherapy have been recognised in reports by the British Medical Association (BMA), American Medical Association (AMA), American Psychological Association (APA), and British Psychological Society (BPS).

Is Hypnosis Safe?

Hypnosis is safe when a competent and qualified hypnotist practices it.

What does hypnosis feel like?

Hypnosis is a term derived from the Greek word for sleep. Hypnosis is very relaxing. However, you never lose awareness during hypnosis. When you are hypnotized, you continue to be aware of your surroundings. Everyone has experienced hypnosis. For instance, you may be watching a commercial that you have seen many times and you find yourself very engrossed in it to the point that should a fly land on your nose you will feel lethargic and give yourself plenty of time to decide if you want it away from you. Daydreaming is also a hypnotic state.

The experience is different for different people. For most people, however, hypnosis is a pleasant state of deep inner calm and physical relaxation. Deep hypnosis is similar in many ways to the kind of profound trance found in expert yoga or meditation practitioners

Will I know what is going on? Will I be asleep?

During hypnosis you certainly will not be asleep or unconscious. If you were asleep, you would not be able to have a dialogue with your hypnotist. As a matter of fact, during hypnosis you are evenmore aware of what is going on around you than you would ordinarily be but you can be selective about it (which you can’t do in the waking state). While under hypnosis, you are in a very relaxed and pleasant state.

What benefits can be achieved through hypnotherapy?

Some of the main benefits of hypnotherapy can be classed as follows (there are many more):

Stopping Habits

  • Stop smoking cigarettes.
  • Stop drinking alcohol.
  • Overcome drug dependency.
  • Lose (or gain) weight, enjoy a healthier diet.
  • Get rid of, and/or obtain insight into, other habits.

Management of Anxiety and Stress

  • Control panic/anxiety attacks.
  • Remove, and/or obtain insight into, fears and phobias.
  • Overcome fear of public speaking.
  • Deal with stress/anxiety related conditions: IBS, tinnitus, feeling low, anger, irritability, insomnia, lack of concentration, tiredness, muscle pain, headaches,
  • various skin problems, digestive problems, etc.

Psychological and Emotional Well-being

  • Manage depression or grief.
  • Build confidence and self-esteem.
  • Control embarrassment or blushing.

Improve Physical Conditions

  • Learn to suppress or control unnecessary physical pain or discomfort.
  • Hypnosis has been shown to be effective in the treatment of a wide range of physical conditions.

Personal Development

  • Obtain personal insight through dreams, automatic writing, automatic sketches, etc.
  • Achieve personal change through positive suggestion, visualisation, affirmation, etc.
  • Increase feelings of self-esteem, confidence, self-worth.
  • Improve sporting performance, concentration, learning ability.
  • Overcome writer's block, access subconscious creative resources, for writing, painting, etc.
  • Regress the mind back to childhood, or past-lives.
Is Hypnosis in your office is like Stage Hypnosis? Will you make me dance like a Chickens?

Hypnosis as used in our clinics as a healing or investigative process. The client's welfare is the sole focus of the procedure and the work is geared towards helping the client. Stage hypnosis is a show where people perform acts that are used to entertain an audience. Since the purpose is usually to hold the audience’s interest and to entertain them, the subjects are carefully selected and screened before the stage demonstration begins.

Will I remember anything after the session is over?

After the therapy session, you will remember everything unless the hypnotist has valid reasons to delay the recall until he/she feels it is safe and beneficial to the client. (This would be particularly true of uncovered early memories of abuse or other traumas.) Usually, you will remember only what you are ready to remember. You may be asked to describe images or sensations or sounds as they come to you. You will be encouraged to avoid explaining or making any sense out of these impressions. You may report these impressions, but this is not the time to make any sense out of them.

What’s a hypnotic trance like?

It’s just like relaxation (it IS relaxation). Some people enter a deep hypnotic trance, others a light trance. The techniques work either way. It’s a comfortable and easy experience.

What happens if I can’t go under?

Sometimes people ask us this (What happens if I can’t go under hypnosis?), we usually say, ‘under what’? There is a misunderstanding that hypnosis renders you unconscious. Very often, when someone relaxes creatively with a good hypnotherapist, their senses are enhanced rather than reduced. In any event, the vast majority of hypnotherapeutic and neurolinguistic techniques will work whether you are in a deep trance, a light trance, or just confused as to what state you are in.

What if I do not come out of Hypnosis?

Everyone comes out of hypnosis . Remember that you went into hypnosis willingly. So, just as you decided to go into hypnosis, by the same token, you will decide to come out of it. There are, on few occasions, some people who enjoy it so much that they resist coming out. But all experienced and well-trained hypnotists have knowledge of many different ways to bring the person around. Since the hypnotist keeps the person under hypnosis, with the person’s realization that the hypnotist’s voice is no longer heard, the person will return to the present. I have been asked: what happens if anything happens to me during this period? After a while, the client will drift off into a natural sleep and reawaken.

Can anyone be hypnotized?

Everyone can be hypnotized provided that they want to be. Anyone who wishes to be hypnotized can be. Even people with short attention spans can be hypnotized but the procedure requires special skills on the part of the hypnotist. If you are concerned that under hypnosis you might reveal some deep personal secrets, you should not be.

Can a person fabricate experience while under hypnosis?

Hypnosis is not a truth serum. There is no guarantee that all information obtained under hypnosis is accurate. Some people under hypnosis have been known to fabricate and lie. As a matter of fact, one can even lie after an injection of truth serum. The serum is a chemical administered to reduce inhibitions so that the subject reveals freely solicited information. However, if there is some deep information that the person chooses not to divulge or if it is information that is not consciously known, frequently, the subject will not reveal it. Hypnosis can bring back information that has been repressed or forgotten. The skilled hypnotist will have techniques to determine if the subject is lying.

Will I lose control?

No, you will gain control

Are there side effects?

No, unless you count being ‘more relaxed and at ease’ a side effect.

How does hypnosis differ from sleep, meditation or guided imagery?

Hypnosis is best described as an altered state of consciousness, a changed state of awareness, concentration and perception. During the experience of hypnosis, the person remains in complete control and should they ever feel uncomfortable because of the experience, they can always reopen their eyes and terminate the intervention. Everyone at some point or another has experienced hypnosis. One experiences hypnosis when one misses an exit while driving or when one is so engrossed watching TV or reading a book that even a person talking will nor distract one from one’s activities.

Although some hypnotists use the word sleep as a suggestion to enter deep relaxation, hypnosis is not sleep. Sleep is defined as a "natural periodic suspension of consciousness during which the powers of the body are restored." During sleep, the individual is not aware of what is happening.

Meditation involves focusing one’s thoughts, engaging oneself in inner contemplation or reflection. Meditation techniques vary, but what most of them have in common is the relief of suffering and the promotion of healing.

It is generally known that there are four different kinds of meditation.

  • One is based on body control in order to unite body and mind as in Yoga.
  • A second technique of meditation is based on control of the mind and requires concentration, contemplation and visualization. Concentration is accomplished by focusing on an object. Contemplation is achieved through continuous repetition of a word or a syllable.
  • A third approach to meditation is based on letting go of the body, using techniques to achieve relaxation of muscle tensions.
  • The fourth meditative technique focuses on letting go of the mind. The mind remains open to whatever enters it thus obtaining insight.

There is a fine line between meditation and hypnosis. Meditation and self-hypnosis can be induced in similar ways. Both techniques may begin by the person being asked to stare at a certain point, breathe in a prescribed way or listen to chants or rhythms. Meditation has been most effective in changing behavior.

Guided Imagery is the use of mental images to bring about changes usually related to health problems.

All the above techniques share relaxation as part of the procedure, but that is where the similarities end.

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