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 What is Hypnotherapy?  

Amongst scientists, there is no debate as to whether hypnosis exists or works.  Science simply cannot agree on what it is and how it works, although as The British Society of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis states:

“In therapy, hypnosis usually involves the person experiencing a sense of deep relaxation with their attention narrowed down, and focused on appropriate suggestions made by the therapist.”

These suggestions help people make positive changes within themselves.   Long gone are the days when hypnosis was seen as waving watches and controlling people’s minds.  In a hypnotherapy session you are always in control and you are not made to do anything.  It is generally accepted that all hypnosis is ultimately self-hypnosis.  A hypnotist merely helps to facilitate your experience – hypnotherapy is not about being made to do things, in fact it is the opposite, it is about empowerment. We can only be hypnotised to help us do the things that we actually want to do. Stage hypnotism, comics and cartoons are responsible for creating a lot of confusion around this! The stage hypnotist will only ever choose both highly responsive (we are all responsive in varying degrees) and highly extrovert people, who will be far more likely to do things for the sake of the show, or because they enjoy the attention. A hypnotherapist has no interest in getting you to “dance like a chicken”.  The majority of us would just refuse to do this anyway.

The following extracts from Dr Hilary Jones’ book, “Doctor, What’s the Alternative?”, provide an accurate and accessible wonderful description of what hypnotherapy is, how it works and how hypnotherapy can help you change and grow.

Definition of hypnotherapy

Contrary to popular belief, hypnosis is not a state of deep sleep.  It does involve the induction of a trance-like condition, but when in it, the patient is actually in an enhanced state of awareness, concentrating entirely on the hypnotist’s voice.  In this state, the conscious mind is suppressed and the subconscious mind is revealed.

The therapist is able to suggest ideas, concepts and lifestyle adaptations to the patient, the seeds of which become firmly planted.

The practice of promoting healing or positive development by hypnosis is known as hypnotherapy.  As such, hypnotherapy is a kind of psychotherapy. Hypnotherapy aims to re-programme patterns of behaviour within the mind, enabling irrational fears, phobias, negative thoughts and suppressed emotions to be overcome. As the body is released from conscious control during the relaxed trance-like state of hypnosis, breathing becomes slower and deeper, the pulse rate drops and the metabolic rate falls.   Similar changes along nervous pathways and hormonal channels enable the sensation of pain to become less acute, and the awareness of unpleasant symptoms, such as nausea or indigestion, to be alleviated.

How does it work?

Hypnosis is thought to work by altering our state of consciousness in such a way that the analytical left-hand side of the brain is turned off, while the non-analytical right-hand side is made more alert.  The conscious control of the mind is inhibited, and the subconscious mind awoken.  Since the subconscious mind is a deeper-seated, more instinctive force than the conscious mind, this is the part which has to change for the patient’s behaviour and physical state to alter.

For example, a person who consciously wants to overcome their fear of spiders may try everything they consciously can to do it, but will still fail as long as their subconscious mind retains this terror and prevents the patient from succeeding.  Progress can only be made be reprogramming the subconscious so that deep-seated instincts and beliefs are abolished or altered.

 

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