The practice of healing by trance state (or an altered state of awareness) has been known for thousands of years. The term ‘hypnosis’ (from the Greek ‘hypnos’, meaning ‘sleep’) was only coined circa 1840 by Dr James Braid, a Scottish physician, and is a less than accurate description of the experience as the hypnotic state is actually dissimilar to sleep.
Hypnosis cannot be exactly defined but might be described as: “a state of mind, enhanced by (although not exclusively) mental and physical relaxation, in which our subconscious is able to communicate with our conscious mind.” Hypnotherapy is widely accepted as a means of accessing our inner potential. The state of mind may be brought about either by oneself, (self-hypnosis) or with the help of another person - a trained professional, who utilises the resulting state of mind to encourage beneficial change to occur, the process is referred to as ‘Hypnotherapy’
What is Hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is a distinctive form of therapy that attempts to address our subconscious mind. In practice, the Hypnotherapist often requires the client to be in a relaxed state, enlists the power of the client’s own imagination and may utilise a wide range of techniques from story-telling, metaphor or symbolism to the use of direct suggestions for beneficial change. It helps if the client is personally motivated to change although a belief in the possibility of beneficial change may be a sufficient starting point.
Hypnotherapy is generally considered to be a fairly short-term approach in which beneficial change, if it occurs, becomes apparent within a relatively few sessions. Please feel free to ask me if you would like to know more about this.
Who can be hypnotised?
The answer to this is ‘virtually everyone’. However, some of us are more readily hypnotisable than others and it also depends upon our willingness to be hypnotised at the time, the strength of the person’s particular need and our trust and confidence in the therapist.
I myself have had hypnotherapy many times and have found it to be a deeply peaceful and restorative experience. Following hypnotherapy many of my clients have told me: “That was the most relaxed I have ever felt in a long time!”
What level of trance is required in order to achieve a beneficial outcome?
The actual level (or depth) of trance experienced does not relate to the beneficial results achievable. Hypnotherapy can be extraordinarily effective but it is not magic. However, if the right ingredients are present then our (realistic) goals are achievable.
Who may benefit from Hypnotherapy?
Again, the answer to this question is ‘virtually everyone’. Given that hypnotherapy can be utilised to access our inner potential and that probably no one is performing to their actual potential, then this answer is literally true. However, it is not just our potential which Hypnotherapy can address but also our inner resources to effect beneficial change. In this way, it is the innate healing capacity of our own body that may be stimulated by Hypnotherapy.
What issues can hypnotherapy help with?
These are just some of the issues hypnotherapy can help you with: 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 (IBS).
Hypnotherapy may be contra-indicated for complex presentations including aspects of depressive illness, epilepsy, psychosis (e.g. schizophrenia) and some breathing problems.
Some Common Concerns
People are sometimes concerned that they will ‘lose control’ in hypnosis. However, regardless of how deeply we may go in hypnosis we actually remain in full control throughout and we are fully able to talk if we wish to and can even stand up and leave the room at any time. A hypnotised person cannot be made to do anything against their ethical, moral or religious beliefs. This belief in a loss of control stems from misconceptions about stage hypnosis where participants are “made” to perform all manner of (usually foolish) acts. However, participation in a stage act is an entirely voluntary process in which ‘permission’ is already given to the hypnotist) and that there can be no such volunteer who is unaware of exactly what they are letting themselves in for!
(Abridged from the General Hypnotherapy Register)
Interested in trying hypnotherapy for yourself?
I am a qualified, registered practitioner with the general hypnotherapy register and have helped many people overcome their difficulties with hypnotherapy.
If you would like to find out more about how hypnotherapy could help you, I offer a free exploratory conversation and I'll be happy to talk to you.