Hypnotherapy is guided hypnosis, or a trance-like state of focus and concentration achieved with the help of a clinical hypnotherapist. This trance-like state is like being completely absorbed in a book, movie, music, or even one's own thoughts or meditations. In this state, clients can turn their attention completely inward to find and utilize the natural resources deep within themselves that can help them make changes or regain control in certain areas of their life.
Hypnotherapy is becoming an acceptable modality for helping people deal not only with weight loss and to stop smoking, but for other behaviors like reducing anxiety, increasing confidence, and even for undergoing medical procedures like dentistry.
Another popular use for hypnosis hypnotherapy is stress management. Stress can result in many physical ailments as well as affect other personal aspects of your life. Anxiety, fears, and phobias have also been reduced or eliminated by discovering their sources and replacing the resulting old fearful thoughts with new empowering thoughts which also boost your self-confidence.
Although there are different techniques, clinical hypnotherapy is generally performed in a calm, therapeutic environment. The therapist will guide you into a relaxed, focused state and ask you to think about experiences and situations in positive ways that can help you change the way you think and behave. You will not be unconscious, asleep, or in any way out of control of yourself. You will hear the therapist’s suggestions, but it is up to you to decide whether to act on them. It works because the client wants it to work.
Fear of Flying – She definitely wanted it to work!
This corporate executive was frequently required to fly for her company. Before each flight she was overwhelmed with anxiety and fear. A few weeks after our session, she was required to fly again and realized anxiety and fear were gone, and that she was anticipating the journey with calm confidence.
She wanted to quit smoking for her health and needed it work!
After a few sessions she had tossed her remaining cigarettes and for months had not smoked until an unusually stressful situation (death in the family) led her to choose to begin again. Our session had been filled with behavioral ideas, images and mental practices so that when she was ready to stop smoking again she could do it on her own.
Foot Pain – I really needed it to work!
The new shoes were expensive gifts from a friend, unfortunately it felt like there was a round bar across under my arch. Uncomfortable though they were, I had been wearing them at work all month. I was ready to go home after a hard day running around the factory floor. It was a long walk out of the building and through a huge parking lot to my car. But my feet were screaming in pain.
Using self-talk hypnotherapy, I talked with my feet, admitting they had a right to feel pain and apologizing for mistreating them. Finally, by honoring the pain messages and promising change, the message stopped, and I was able to get to the car and drive home.
I had convinced that part of me that recognizes and receives pain messages to temporarily ignore the messages.
(Note – Pain is a vital survival system, so we never want it to go away permanently. We can suspend the messages temporarily. In the case of chronic pain, we want to just reduce the intensity of the pain, so the client can be aware and act appropriately.)
I was ready to go home after a hard day’s work. I pushed my chair back and rose to my feet. My feet screamed, “You’re not going anywhere … this hurts too much to move” !
What was this about? New Shoes. New shoes that didn’t fit well. New shoes that didn’t fit well and were expensive gifts from a friend. All month I had been wearing them.
Diagnosis – Plantar Fasciitis. My doctor instructed me to stay off my feet as much as possible.
Now, being a hypnotherapist, I decided to talk to my feet… “Feet, to get home to get a warm Epsom salts bath for you, you must stop sending me pain messages for now. I know I’ve over-worked you today. I know you are hurting but I can’t do anything about it right now. You must stop sending me pain messages until I get home. I’ll do what we need to feel better then.”
The pain messages disappeared!
I had convinced that part of me that recognizes and receives pain messages from my feet, to temporarily ignore the messages.
That is hypnosis. Hypnosis works because the patient wants it to work.
(Note: ‘Temporary’ is important because pain is an essential survival mechanism)
(Neuroscience studies have shown that this mind-body therapy affects the brain in extraordinary ways. Clinical trials have demonstrated its effectiveness in treating anxiety, phobias, skin rashes, irritable-bowel syndrome and acute and chronic pain.)