What is hypnosis and what is it not?
There are a lot of misconceptions about hypnosis, but hypnosis is not a loss of consciousness. It is not sleep, not a truth drug and it is not entrapment.
Hypnosis is a very effective method of communicating with the subconscious mind. The client is guided through an induction to reach a very relaxed state of body and mind. Some clients enjoy using a Light and Sound Device to reach deeper levels more easily. During hypnosis, the brain waves usually reach the alpha state(for more information on brain waves see Light and Sound Device ). In this state it is easier to focus on one’s inner world, to get in touch with suppressed emotions and to think, reason and problem solve with clarity. The client remains alert and aware and is able to communicate with the hypnotherapist. During hypnosis the client is in a state of heightened awareness and focused attention - the opposite of sleep.
After a hypnosis session the majority of clients remember everything that happened during the session.
You can not get stuck in hypnosis. You may fall asleep during the hypnosis but if that should happen you will just go into a natural sleep and wake up as if from a pleasant nap.
Hypnosis is not gullibility or weak-mindedness. Every "normal" person is hypnotizable. The only exceptions are: children under four, people with certain mental disorders, (such as psychotics and paranoids) and people with an IQ under 70. The higher the IQ, the better the subject is for hypnosis. Children with wonderful imaginations tend to respond easily to hypnosis.
Hypnosis is not habit forming no matter how many times you are hypnotized.
It is not a loss of control or a manipulation of your mind. In hypnosis you are always in control. You have control of your will power, your power of selectivity and all your senses. You can choose which information you want to share with the hypnotherapist. You will not unwillingly reveal you innermost secrets. The therapist can never make you do anything against your will, ethics or morals.
Hypnosis is not magic like the stage shows imply.
Stage hypnotists are entertainers and they are masters at choosing people who are willing and able to develop a trance suitable for the stage and who have the desire (consciously or unconsciously) to be on the stage. They choose the most willing individuals in the audience and by the time they reach the stage they have already committed to becoming part of the act. Remember that they can always choose to not perform but usually get caught up in the "party" atmosphere and afterwards can always claim that the hypnotist was responsible for their actions.
How does hypnosis work?
In our normal waking awareness, the part of the mind that we call the critical faculty acts as the protector of all the memories, habits, etc. that we have programmed in our subconscious and will not let anything bypass easily. In the hypnotic state we are able to bypass the critical faculty of the mind and let the subconscious absorb new, better and more positive habits and programs. These new habits and programs are introduced by imagery and suggestions to the subconscious. This does not mean that the subconscious will accept everything. It is still discerning and will only accept suggestions that are in line with our personal values, morals and code of behavior. We will only accept the suggestions that are good for us.
When bypassing the critical faculty we are also able to more easily connect with traumas, repressed memories and emotions.
The hypnotherapist always acts as a guide and facilitator who, with the client’s permission, helps the client become more focused on and discriminating in his/her available choices and desirable changes.
Self-Hypnosis is an important part of any hypnotherapy treatment. Daily sessions are of the greatest value. A self-hypnosis session can last from 5 to 30 minutes. There are several techniques that can be used for self-hypnosis. These techniques can be accomplished either with or without listening to self-hypnosis recordings.
All hypnosis can be considered self-hypnosis since the hypnotherapist is only a guide and it is the client who willingly follows the instructions and induces the hypnotic state. At any time the client can refuse to follow the instructions and end the session.
History of Hypnosis
Hypnosis has been traced back as far as 3,000 B.C. In Egypt, hieroglyphs found on tombs of that time show that hypnotism was being used. Around the 5th and 4th century B.C. it also has been noted that something similar to hypnosis was used in Rome, Egypt and Greece.
Probably the most famous name in the history of hypnosis is Frans Anton Mesmer (1734-1815) from whose name the word "mesmerize" is derived. Mesmer was a Viennese physician who treated his patients with "magnetism" and was the first man to explain scientifically what he was doing.
James Braid (1795-1869) was a Scottish surgeon who is referred to as the Father of Hypnosis. He demonstrated that "magnetism" treatments were based on subjective and suggestive elements and he coined the term hypnosis.
Many other names have been important in the history of hypnosis. Among them are Dr. Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) and the most influential hypnotherapist of our time, Dr. Milton Erickson (1902-1980).
Today there are many different kinds of hypnosis such as Clinical Hypnotherapy, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Transpersonal Hypnotherapy.
Hypnosis at Healing Change
At Healing Change, Transpersonal Hypnotherapy and Integrated Hypnotherapy are used. These are based on the concept that all healing comes from a realization of one’s connection to a personal Source of Empowerment.
What can Hypnotherapy be used for?
Hypnotherapy can be used in many areas such as:
Weight and Body Image Issues
Parts (sub-personalities) Dialogue
Connecting with Inner Child
Past Life Regression
Finding Your Inner Wisdom/Higher Self