What is Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy is a technique that is used to create a relaxed sleep-like state of mind (theta state) during which positive suggestions and guided imagery can be well received to help you deal with a variety of concerns, issues and habits you want to change. You are completely in control when under hypnosis and don’t have to take on any suggestions if you don’t want to. A normal human being goes through hypnosis at least twice a day just before s/he fall asleep and just when s/he about to wake up. These are also known as power states in which the subconscious mind is most receptive to positive suggestions.

Hypnotherapy, also referred to as guided hypnosis, is a form of psychotherapy that uses relaxation, extreme concentration, and intense attention to achieve a heightened state of consciousness or mindfulness. In other words, it places the individual into a “trance” or altered state of awareness.

This form of therapy is considered alternative medicine with the purpose of utilizing one’s mind to help reduce or alleviate a variety of issues, such as psychological distress, phobias, and unhealthy, destructive, or dangerous habits (i.e. smoking and/or drinking). The aim of hypnotherapy is to create a positive change in an individual, while he/she is in a state of unconsciousness or slumber (sleep).

The word “hypnosis” comes from the Greek word “hypnos,” which simply means, “sleep.”

Yes, sometimes. More specifically, hypnosis is a form of hypnotherapy, which is a form of psychotherapy. As a result, hypnosis is sometimes used during counseling to relax a patient or client. In this situation, a trained psychologist places the individual into a hypnotic state or “trance,” so he/she can openly and safely explore painful, traumatic, and repressed memories that tend to be “hidden” from the conscious mind.

This “change” in consciousness can help some patients or clients view real-life situations, feelings, and events in a “different light” – i.e. relationship issues, nervousness or stage fright, work conflicts, and even chronic pain.

While “under hypnosis,” an individual becomes more “open” to the hypnotherapist’s or psychologist’s suggestions and guidance. As a result, he/she is able to make positive changes in his/her life.

Hypnotherapy is used to treat a wide range of conditions, issues, and unwanted/unhealthy behaviors, such as:

  • Phobias
  • Addiction
  • Relationship/Family/Work Conflicts
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Grief and Loss of a Loved One
  • Cessation of Smoking
  • Weight Loss

Trained hypnotherapists and psychologists can administer hypnosis to individuals.

During hypnosis, a trained hypnotherapist or psychologist uses guided relaxation techniques to elicit feelings of extreme relaxation, focus, and concentration in the individual with the goal of helping him/her achieve a heightened state of consciousness.

The two main methods of hypnotherapy are suggestion therapy and analysis.

Suggestion therapy relies on an individual’s ability to respond to suggestions and guidance from the hypnotherapist or psychologist, while he/she is in a “trance-like” or altered state. This method is commonly used to control or stop unwanted or unhealthy behaviors like smoking, gambling, nail-biting, and excessive eating. Studies have suggested that it may also be beneficial for those with chronic pain. Moreover, research indicates that suggestion therapy may encourage positive and healthy behaviors like self-motivation and self-confidence.

Furthermore, this method may help clients or patients “uncover” the psychological root of a problem or symptom, for instance, the root of one’s social anxiety, depression, and/or past trauma. It is important to understand that feelings or memories associated with trauma tend to “hide” in one’s unconscious memory so that the individual doesn’t remember (on a conscious level) the trauma he/she experienced.

During analysis, a psychologist first hypnotizes the individual by putting him/her into a relaxed state. Then, he/she helps this individual explore past event(s) in his/her life. The goal is to probe the individual’s unconscious memories of said event(s), so he/she can move past them.

This method also referred to as “regression therapy,” is more exploratory in nature. In fact, the main goal of the analysis is to determine the root cause, issue, disorder, and/or symptom of an individual’s distress.

Analysis, on the other hand, has proven extremely effective for “digging deep” into the subconscious mind to retrieve repressed memories or past trauma(s) – all of which could be causing psychological distress, mental health conditions, and/or problematic behaviors.

It is also used to help ease physical, mental, emotional, behavioral (i.e. smoking, addiction, weight loss, or nail-biting), and psychological symptoms (i.e. stress, anxiety, ADHD, PTSD, phobias, and depression), so individuals (young and old) can live happy and productive lives.

It depends on what your issue is and what you want to be addressed. The truth is, studies are just now beginning to tout the benefits of hypnotherapy for psychological issues. In fact, it has only recently become a mainstream treatment alternative for people, who want to break “bad habits,” confront past traumas, remember things their minds deliberately “forgot,” ease chronic emotional and/or physical pain and reduce stress in their lives.

Therefore, research suggests that this alternative psychotherapy treatment may prove to be extremely beneficial for a wide range of psychological, physical, and behavioral issues. It is important to note, however, that although hypnotherapy is considered complementary or alternative treatment, it is still a highly-regulated, legitimate form of psychotherapy that is sometimes used to help people cope with distressing and painful events.

The methods used, along with hourly rates (costs) vary from hypnotherapist-to-hypnotherapist and psychologist-to-psychologist. Why? Well, mainly because this form of psychotherapy is a trust-based exercise that requires a large amount of time, training, skill, and effort. In addition, it requires a great deal of immersion on the part of the Individual.

Therefore, it is important to interview several hypnotherapists and psychologists to see which one matches your temperament and personality. And, which one makes you feel at ease and comfortable in his/her presence. Trust is a key component of hypnotherapy, so it is imperative that you trust the person, who will be taking you “under.”

Ask for references and don’t forget to ask about the hypnotherapist’s or psychologist’s education and experience (how long he/she has been doing hypnosis and what percentage of cases have been successful).

This is especially true if you decide to go with a psychologist for the hypnotherapy. Make sure the psychologist has a substantial amount of training and experience in hypnosis – and that he/she is certified and licensed in this area.