Hypnosis — or hypnotherapy — uses guided relaxation, intense concentration, and focused attention to achieve a heightened state of awareness that is sometimes called a trance. The person’s attention is so focused while in this state that anything going on around the person is temporarily blocked out or ignored. The practice of hypnotizing people in order to help them with a mental or physical problem, for example to help them give up smoking.
Is hypnotherapy dangerous?
Have you ever binge watched a TV series, only to feel like you are ‘coming back to reality’ as it ends? Or ‘come to’ after being lost in a daydream? Zoned out when commuting to work? You were ‘tranced out’.
of course the difference is that when you work with a hypnotherapist, you are consciously choosing to zone out and have a goal in mind for doing so, such as improving moods or quitting smoking.
What is the point of hypnotherapy?
You could see hypnotherapy as building a ‘bridge’ between our conscious and unconscious minds — the thoughts we know we are having, and then the thoughts that we are unaware of.
The ‘unconscious mind‘ isn’t actually a special part of the brain, but a way to refer to the hidden goings on in there. It’s these hidden things — repressed memories, negative core beliefs — that tend to control our life decisions.
Therapeutic hypnotherapy helps us source the upsetting experiences we have ‘forgotten’, learn what we actually feel versus what we tell ourselves we feel, and discover and change the beliefs driving our habits. We can tell the unconscious what we would prefer it to do, such as how we’d rather respond to a physical or emotional trigger.
What is a hypnotherapy session like?
There are different kinds of hypnotherapy, but they run in a similar way.
- Discuss with your therapist what you’d like to work on.
- Get comfortable in a chair or on a couch.
- Agree to be hypnotised.
- Allow your therapist to deeply relax you.
- They test to see that you are in a trance.
- Once they see that you are receptive, they use therapeutic methods like regression, visualisation, and positive suggestion to work on your issue.
- They ease you out of your trance and back to the room.
Can anyone be hypnotised?
Yes, even if they don’t ‘believe’ in it.
Note that not everyone has the same experience of hypnosis. Some people fall quickly and easily into trance states. Other people find they just relax a little and don’t at all feel ‘tranced out’.
But the results you get from hypnotherapy are not dependent on how ‘deeply’ you go into a trance. Someone who only relaxes a little might have equal (or even better) results than someone who finds it easy to ‘go under’.
It depends on the individual, the issue, the therapist, and the relationship between the hypnotherapist and the client.
Like all forms of therapy, you do generally get better results if you feel comfortable with and trust your practitioner.