What is Hypnosis or Trance?
Hypnosis is a method of communication that induces a trance or a trance-like state. Hypnosis can be conducted by one individual addressing another, or it may be conducted with the self (self-hypnosis). Trance is a naturally occurring state in which one's attention is narrowly focused and relatively free of distractions. The attention may be focused either internally (on thoughts---internal self-talk or images or both) or externally (on a task, a book, or a movie, for example). The focus of attention is so narrow that other stimuli in the environment are ignored or blocked out of conscious awareness for a time. Examples of trance states are daydreaming and some forms of meditation.
Hypnosis can help clients enter a relaxed, comfortable, trance state for obtaining specific outcomes. The Hypnotherapist makes suggestions designed to help the client formulate specific internal processes (feelings, memories, images and internal self-talk) that will lead the outcomes the client wants to achieve.
Hypnotic suggestions can influence changes when the client is:
· (a) relaxed, receptive and open to the suggestions
· (b) experiences visual, auditory, and/or kinesthetic representations of the suggestions
· (c) Envisions that these suggestions will result in future outcomes.
These three criteria are facilitated through the use of "hypnotic language patterns."
Hypnotic language patterns include: guided visualization, stories, guided memories,
Myths and Misconceptions about Hypnosis
Hypnosis is not mind control or brainwashing. People change their minds and actions throughout their lives. When such changes occur as a result of exposure to specific information, it is because this information has been presented through persuasion and influence. A Hypnotherapist uses communicative methods of persuasion and influence; so do people who advertise and market goods and services; so do teachers, politicians, lawyers, entertainers, parents, and ministers.
During trance, you are not immobilized. You know exactly where you are the entire time. You can adjust your position, scratch, sneeze, or cough. You can open your eyes and bring yourself out of trance at any time you wish. During trance, you can still hear sounds around you, like a phone ringing. You can alert yourself and respond to any situation that needs your immediate attention. You remain oriented as to person, place, and time. You can even hold a conversation in trance.
People may think that trance is like being asleep, it is not. It is possible for the client to become so relaxed in trance that they may fall into a very light asleep. This is no problem because some part of the mind continues to listen to the voice of the Hypnotherapist.
There is no "right" way to experience trance. One person may experience it as a deep, heavy restful feeling, while another may experience it as a light, buoyant sensation. People can hear every word spoken by the Hypnotherapist, while sometimes they allow their minds to drift to other thoughts. Some experience vivid imagery, while others may not. Clients can remember the suggestions they hear. Every person's experience of hypnosis is unique.
Hypnosis cannot cause anyone to do something against their will, that contradicts their values or their morals. First, a Hypnotherapist is ethically required to make only those suggestions that support agreed-upon outcomes.
Remember: hypnosis cannot solve every problem. Even with hypnosis, it may still be necessary for you to do some conscientious planning and research about the types of changes you want to achieve. You must still take action to get results. Hypnosis is not a cure-all. Hypnosis can be effective in many cases, but there are no guarantees that hypnosis will work for you.
Risks and Precautions
Hypnosis carries very few risks. Hypnosis may be contraindicated for individuals with certain medical problems, or who are actively abusing drugs or alcohol, or who are delusional or hallucinatory. Hypnosis should not be used for physical problems, such as pain, unless the client has first consulted a physician to determine underlying physical causes.
Formal hypnotic methods are not recommended for small children, because children lack the necessary attention span. More interactive treatment methods can be used, however, such as art therapy, play therapy, storytelling, and guided visualization, during which helpful suggestions can be made to the child. Parents should consult a hypnotherapist who has specialized training for working with children.
Hypnosis is often requested for the purpose of uncovering childhood memories. Hypnosis may or may not succeed in this regard. When memories do surface, the client may have a "false memory" and there is no guarantee that such memories are accurate or based on personal historic reality.
Sometimes after trance-work, the client may feel a little unsettled. The Hypnotherapist and the client can then work together to make sure the client is fully alert and energized sufficiently to leave the therapist's office and continue the day's activity. In very rare cases, after a hypnotic session, and client may experience mildly troubling thoughts or feelings. If this happens, the client should call the hypnotherapist immediately for a follow-up session.
The kind of hypnotherapy most frequently practiced is "Ericksonian Hypnosis," named after the late Milton H. Erickson, M.D. From the 1930's to the 1980's Dr. Erickson was very influential in bringing the use of clinical hypnosis into the mainstream. He taught and practiced a kind of hypnosis that was gentle and respectful of the client. Hundreds of books and articles have been written by and about Dr. Erickson and his methods. Dr. Erickson has been regarded as the leading Hypnotherapist in the world.
Applications of Hypnotherapy
· Smoking Cessation
· Weight Control
· Relaxation During Childbirth
· Treating Fears and
· Troubles sleeping
· Interpersonal Problems
· Post Trauma Relief
· Pain Management
· Stress Management
· Habit Control
· Academic Performance
· Athletic Performance
· Help with Life Transitions
· Preparation for Medical/Dental Procedures
· Blocks to Motivation and Creativity
· Treatment of Grief and Loss