FAQ about Hypnotherapy
Find the answers to your questions below
Hypnosis is best described as a very deep state of relaxation, in other words, a normal, natural, healthy state of mind.
Some will say that all hypnosis is self-hypnosis. Our bodies experience what are known as ultradian rhythms. These rhythms form the basis of common, everyday trance or hypnotic states, when we may find ourselves daydreaming or just taking a break.
Here are some examples of the hypnotic state:
- Have you ever been in a room full of people, feeling as though you are taking part in the group but feeling detached from it?
- Have you ever had the experience of driving home while being preoccupied by something and suddenly realising that even though you have arrived safely at your destination, you can’t recall driving past familiar landmarks? It’s as if you were on automatic pilot.
- Have you ever been unsure whether not you did something or simply thought about doing it? For example, did you mail that letter or did you just think about mailing it?
- Have you ever been so absorbed in an activity that you were able to block out sounds or make them totally unimportant or not even hear them?
- Have you ever stared into space, thinking of nothing, and been unaware of the passage of time?
- Have you ever had the experience of remembering a past experience with such clarity and vitality that it was almost as if your were reliving it?
- Have you ever been able to shut out your surroundings by concentrating very hard on something else?
- Have you ever had the experience of reading a novel or watching a film and being so absorbed that you forgot about your surroundings, almost living the story?
- Have you ever been lulled into a dreamy state or put to sleep by a lecture or a concert, even though you were not tired?
Hypnosis is not a new modality of treatment. Hypnosis has had a variety of names and has been used for millenia as a means of influencing human behaviour. Therapeutic suggestion and concentration have been practised throughout the history as we have sought to recognise and treat discomfort, disorder and disease. The Celts and Druids practised hypnosis. The Egyptians established “sleep temples” some 4,000 years ago dedicated to therapeutic trance states in which curative suggestions were given. The Bible contains many sections which allude to hypnotic phenomena. Primitive tribes had Shamans who practised ritual, sleep cures and healing suggestions to remove the influences responsible for illness. Undoubtedly, the chants of the earliest medicine men helped many patients to restore their health. Think about the crooning and rocking that a mother uses to help her fitful child into a peaceful state of quiet and sleep.
In modern times, hypnosis is usually dated to Vienna in the 1700s and a young physician named Mesmer. The method Mesmer used became known as Mesmerism. Mesmer guided his patients to use their powerful imaginations. By doing so, Mesmer unwittingly lay the corner stone of many present-day therapies. Today, imagery techniques are used in many health care settings, with cancer patients, and in the areas of sports and business motivation.
In 1855, English surgeon, James Esdaile, used hypnotic skills in India. He operated on three thousand patients, of which three hundred were major procedures. He discovered the mortality rate dropped from 50% to 5%, and that many of his patients recovered more quickly, had increased resistance to infection, and had greater comfort. He presented his findings to the Royal Academy of Physicians in London. His work was denounced as blasphemous because “God intended for people to suffer”.
During the 1st and 2nd World Wars, interest in hypnosis was heightened because hypnosis was found to be very effective in combating war neurosis. The success of hypnosis in dismissing symptoms through a reliving of the events of a traumatic experience created a wave of enthusiasm for hypnotic methods.
It is probably true to say that hypnosis is clouded with more myths and misconceptions than any other form of psychological practice, even though these misconceptions have their roots in long-distant history and have no foundation in fact.
In Australia and elsewhere throughout the world, hypnotherapy is now recognised as a valuable therapeutic methodology.
When in hypnosis, the conscious mind (that busy, critical, analytical part of the mind) takes a rest. Hypnosis allows people to tap into the storehouse of information that lies in the subconscious (sometimes referred to as the unconscious) mind and make positive changes to thought patterns, habits or the effects of traumatic incidents that are having a negative impact either mentally or physically.
Pretty much – some more easily than others. Like anything else in life, the more people practice self-hypnosis, the more easily they can slip into that wonderful relaxed state. The depth that people reach in hypnosis varies between individuals. It is not necessary to achieve a very deep level of hypnosis to bring about change to habits or conditions that are having a negative impact either mentally or physically.
A common myth about hypnotisability is when a person says, “No one could hypnotise me, and I’m too strong minded”. All hypnosis is self-hypnosis. A person goes into hypnosis because they choose to. So strong-minded individuals are really good candidates for hypnosis provided they are committed to wanting it to work for them.
Yes, as follows:
- The ability to IMAGINE
- The ability to REMEMBER
- The ability to BE CREATIVE
- The ability to RESPOND POSITIVELY to suggestion
Here are some examples:
- The ability to IMAGINE – People in hypnosis respond extremely well to the use of imagery techniques, which have powerful benefits for change. Brain scans taken of people in hypnosis show increased activity during hypnosis, particularly in the motor and sensory area relating to heightened mental imagery. Under hypnosis the powerful benefits of imagery can be used to treat a wide range of conditions.
- The ability to REMEMBER – People in hypnosis experienced a heightened sense of recall. For example, in some instances, hypnosis is used by the police to assist witnesses to recall car number plates or describe people at a crime or accident scene. The enhancement of the ability to remember in hypnosis enables the client and therapist to explore the origin or cause of the symptoms that may be causing a client distress and enable them to take an appropriate course of action.
- The ability to BE CREATIVE – By having access to increased creativity in hypnosis, people are able to allow themselves to be much more creative in their thinking thus enabling them to more readily explore options and solutions to issues that are troubling them. People can also utilise the benefits of self-hypnosis in all areas of their lives that involve creativity, such as painting, writing, music, etc.
- The ability to RESPOND POSITIVELY to suggestion – Working as a team, the client and clinical hypnotherapist agree on what outcomes the client is wishing to achieve. Heightened responsiveness to positive suggestion in hypnosis means that the clinical hypnotherapist can reinforce the changes the client wishes to make. This reinforcing under hypnosis is at the subconscious (or unconscious) level which is much more powerful than making the suggestions to the conscious mind.
This is one of the common misunderstandings associated with hypnosis. This is probably tied in with another misconception that the hypnotherapist has control over the client. This is not the case. People will not do or say anything under hypnosis that they would not do when not in hypnosis. Thanks to TV shows and stage hypnotists, there is a common misconception that you can be hypnotised against your will. It is not true. All hypnosis is self-hypnosis.
Research conducted at the University of NSW by Dr Amanda Barnier and reported in The Sydney Morning Herald on 2 February 1998, states that “Hypnotised people do not act like robots, nor are they powerless pawns of post-hypnotic suggestions planted in their subconscious”.
No. In hypnosis, the conscious mind takes a rest. Hypnosis allows you and the hypnotherapist to tap into the storehouse of information that lies in the subconscious (or unconscious mind) and makes positive changes to thought patterns, habits or the effects of traumatic incidents that are having a negative impact either mentally or physically.
A qualified hypnotherapist is trained to help with a variety of problems, while at the same time maintaining the highest standards, ethics and training as set out by the ASCH.
Hypnotherapy can help with smoking cessation, overeating, nail biting, bed wetting, insomnia, headaches, exam nerves, pain, anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, bulimia, depression, mood swings, alcoholism, relationship problems, hostility, anger, resentments, worry, guilt, grief, asthma, blood pressure, sexual dysfunction, warts, compulsions.
Hypnotherapy has been a great help in improving exam performance, study recall, memory, sports focus, public speaking, personal growth, pain control, performance, assertiveness, childbirth, communication, relaxation, counselling confidence, releasing the past, personal empowerment, goal setting.
Hypnosis can be used in the treatment of most disorders, whether mental or otherwise, where the relaxation response promotes the person’s positive mindset. For example, with a physical injury, the person’s mental resources can be enlisted to aid in managing the subsequent discomfort, allow for some rest, and lessen the associated emotional trauma. It must be noted that Hypnotherapy is not a replacement for medical treatment from your doctor.
Hypnotherapy will bring out the best in you. The change happens when you leave behind any habits or baggage you no longer need or want. As a result, you become stronger and happier. It will help you to unlock your true potential, and uncover your strong, good qualities, which you may not even be aware of.
Hypnosis is a normal, naturally occurring, healthy state of mind. It is totally drug-free. There has never been a single documented case of harm resulting from the use of hypnosis.
Leslie Le Crone, psychologist and authority on hypnosis, states: “As to self-induction, many thousands have learned it and I have yet to hear a report of any bad results of its use”.
In his book Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, Dr William S Kroger states: “An associate of Pavlov, who used hypnosis for over fifty years in over fifty-thousand cases, reports as follows: ‘We have never observed any harmful influences on the patient which could be ascribed to the method of hypno-suggestion therapy, or any tendency toward the development of unstable personality, weakening of the will, or pathological urge for hypnosis'”.
Dr David Cheek, MD, who has vast experience in the field, writes, “We can do more harm with ignorance of hypnotism than we can ever do by intelligently using hypnosis and suggestion constructively”.
Dr Julius Grinker states, “The so-called dangers from hypnosis are imaginery. Although I have hypnotised many hundreds of patients, I have never seen any ill effects from its use”.
Psychologist, Rafael Rhodes, in his book Therapy Through Hypnosis, writes: “Hypnotism is absolutely safe. There is no known case on record of harmful results from its therapeutic use”.
Dr Louie P Thorpe, Professor Emeritus, University of Southern California, in his book The Psychology of Mental Health, writes: “Hypnotism is a natural phenomenon, and there are no known deleterious effects from its use”.
Clinical hypnotherapist, Gil Boyne, states: “In almost forty years of practice and more than 40,000 hours of hypnotherapy, I have never seen or heard of any harm resulting from hypnosis”.