What is hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy is the art and science of using verbal and non-verbal communication for the purpose of enhancing mental and physical performance, resolving fears, phobias, and anxieties, getting rid of habits, and accelerating physical healing. The intent is to use hypnosis for a specific intent.

What is hypnosis?

The human mind and body have a natural tendency to resist change. This resistance prevents a person’s ability to improve mental and physical performance, remove unwanted habits, or to rapidly heal. The mind has the ability to assist in the speed of any transformation provided that resistance can be reduced and selective thinking becomes more efficient. Hypnosis is the process of reducing such resistance so that a person’s thoughts will accelerate the achievement of desired results. This process is normally associated with deep relaxation. However, a relaxed state is not always necessary. What is required is that the person learn to get “out of their own way” sufficiently enough to produce change. There are numerous techniques that may be used. A professional clinical hypnotherapist can demonstrate the process and teach how to this can be done using self-hypnosis after the session.

How are the conscious and subconscious mind addressed in hypnotherapy?

The conscious mind has the ability to create suggestions and imagination which virtually command the brain and the body to change. Other than an area that makes up just a small part of the human brain, the rest of the brain and body is made up of cells and other components that are reactive and will adapt to the will of the conscious mind. As these components are aware of their environment and will adapt as necessary, they have a level of intelligence that allows the clinical hypnotherapist to orchestrate their cooperation as the desired change is achieved. This collection of multiple intelligences other than the conscious mind is often mistakenly called a “subconscious mind.” However, by respecting their abilities and the need for their participation, the clinical hypnotherapist can create suggestions and imagination that can rapidly lead to successful sessions.

Does hypnosis normally occur?

Going back to my above definition, we actually experience several altered states of mind during the day. Merely going from deep sleep to full awareness and awake, we must experience the full spectrum of mental consciousness. Furthermore, as we all occasionally daydream, miss an exit on the highway, or pray during our religious practices, we constantly enter states of mind that are generally considered hypnotic.

Is a subject “out” during hypnosis??

A person experiencing a hypnotically induced state of relaxation will hear everything that is said to them. Even though the focus is on speaking to the subconscious mind, there is nothing “subliminal” about hypnosis. Although a subject will feel very relaxed during a session, at no time will actual sleep occur. On the other hand, like with any other non-hypnotic conversation, a subject may not remember consciously everything that is said. Generally, the subject’s conscious mind will only recall what his unconscious mind feels that they need to remember.

Can a subject be forced to do something which is against his or her will or contrary to their morals or values?

Absolutely not! Movies and stage hypnotists often give people the impression that hypnosis can be used to manipulate others against their will. Despite the fact that advertisers and others may have influence over someone’s behavior, the desired action will not occur unless there was already a pre-existing tendency for that behavior. On the other hand, when it involves behavior modification the only role of the hypnotherapist is to aid the subject in achieving a desired goal by helping them “get out of their own way.” The goal of hypnosis is to give the subject more control of their life, not to take it away.

Is there only one “state” of hypnosis?

Hypnotherapists typically use various “states” as appropriate to the needs of the subject. For instance, stress management is normally accomplished at a light state of relaxation or hypnosis. Behavior modification, accelerated learning, and some medical and dental applications are accomplished at a medium or deep (somnambulistic) state. And finally, there are a few very specialized tasks, which are done in a state that is referred to as a deep hypnotic coma. This includes hypnotic anaesthesia. It is important that the therapist recognize when the subject is at the appropriate state.

How many sessions will a subject need?

This varies due to the specific area of concern and the efforts of the subject between sessions. For most behavior modification, including smoking cessation and weight loss, normally we recommend two sessions, with the second one three to four weeks after the first. Also, it is very helpful to most people to start off by attending a group session for these types of issues. For subjects with other areas of concern, which necessitate improving the speed of an induction and the corresponding depth of trance (e.g., for many medical applications such as pain control and preparation for surgery), a series of sessions may be required. This decision is always made in consultation with the subject’s primary care giver.

Is hypnosis in conflict with my religious beliefs?

Based upon our many years of research, we have found that hypnosis is very compatible with all major religions in the world, including Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Islam. There are only two Christian sects, Seventh Day Adventist and Christian Science, which have an official position contrary to the practice of hypnotherapy. Furthermore, as we realize that the aim of all major religions is to make an individual a better person, we feel hypnotherapy to be very congruent with a serious spiritual practice.

What happens during a hypnotherapy session?

Initially we ask for information from the subject, which is applicable to the reason they are seeking therapy or have been referred by a licensed primary care giver. During this part of the session we attempt to make sure that their area of concern is one that can be handled without a referral or one that can only be addressed if we have the written approval by a primary care giver. Once the session commences there is a brief discussion about hypnosis and any concerns that the subject may have concerning the field. Next an appropriate hypnotic induction takes place. Normally during the first visit a progressive relaxation technique is used. Once the proper hypnotic state occurs, then the appropriate therapy is accomplished in the form of suggestions, metaphors, and similar techniques. Also, since we have qualifications in Neuro-Linguistic Programming, we may alternately use such appropriate techniques.

Can everyone be hypnotized?

Yes. Most hypnotherapists agree on this point. From time to time we may find someone who is resistant or does not respond well to a particular technique. Like medicine no two people react alike. Therefore, like medical doctors, hypnotherapists have a wide range of techniques. Induction techniques include traditional, authoritative techniques as well as the permissive techniques pioneered by the late Dr. Milton Erickson, an Arizona psychiatrist who has been called the Father of American Hypnotherapy. Considering the resistant or difficult subject, Erickson pointed out that everyone is typically in some level of trance when they enter a therapist’s office. The goal therefore is to merely deepen the trance to the appropriate level.

Why is stress management emphasized so much in hypnotherapy?

Mental stress affects just about everything we do. Some stress is good. However, chronic and recurring stress can kill us. Stress not only affects our behavior and our relationships with others, it also has a role of suppressing a person’s auto-immune system. Also, stress often leads to “displacement activities” such as smoking, over eating, and other addictions. Therefore, we typically believe in incorporating stress management and the resulting relaxation into just about every form of therapy.

How does hypnotherapy relate to medical care and psychology?

Although some licensed primary care givers have some exposure and training in hypnosis and hypnotherapy, like a physical therapist, a hypnotherapist is a specialist who has intense training in one particular field. When it comes to many medical, dental, and psychological issues, the hypnotherapist acts as a member of the care-giving team and will therefore only work with the referral from and supervision of the licensed primary care giver. While some stress management and behavior modification therapy will be done without such a referral and supervision, if a subject requests therapy and is undergoing treatment for the same or related issues or if the requested treatment addresses areas for which medical, dental, or psychological treatment should be considered, then hypnotherapy must be based upon an appropriate referral.

Is hypnosis guaranteed to always work?

Of course, we would like to say that hypnotherapy is the ultimate solution. However, like medical treatment, there is no way that this therapy can always be full-proof. Nevertheless, there is enough of a track record over the past few decades to give sufficient credence to the value of hypnotherapy. On the other hand, for our group behavior modification sessions, we allow all attendees to repeat a session as many times as they would like during a 12 month period.

Where did hypnotism come from?

Like medicine, the origin of hypnotism goes back at least as far as when history first became written. Indeed, most historians trace it back to the days of the sleep temples of early Egypt. In modern times, we normally discuss its history as far back as the days when Benjamin Franklin, Antoine Lavoisier, the father of modern chemistry, and Dr. Joseph Guillotin, the pain specialist, investigated the claims and accomplishments of Antoine Messmer in the 18th century. Acceptance of hypnotherapy among medical doctors was not automatic. Nevertheless, in 1891 the British Medical Association reported favorably on the use of hypnosis in medicine. Likewise, in the US, several decades ago the American Medical Association gave equal credibility to the field due mostly to the work and advocacy of Dr. Milton Erickson of Arizona. Currently hypnosis is considered a standard procedure in psychology and medicine, and many universities conduct courses and/or conduct degree programs in the field.

Who are some of the famous users of hypnosis?

Notables who have used hypnosis include: Mozart, Rachmaninov, Goethe, Thomas Edison, Nikola Telsa, Henry Ford, Albert Einstein, Aldous Huxley, Sir Winston Churchill, Carl Jung, Sigmon Freud, Jackie Kennedy-Onasis, Kevin Costner, and Tiger Woods.

What is forensic hypnosis?

Forensic hypnosis is NOT a form of therapy. It is merely a technique where hypnosis is used to refresh memories of victims or witnesses in a criminal case. (It is occassionally used in civil cases as well.) Forensic hypnosis must not be conducted simultaneously with any type of therapy as this may adversely affect the admissibility of any information obtained during the hynosis interview. Such an interview must be conducted in a highly structured and recorded session in order to improve the likelihood of that information obtained will be admissible in a legal proceding. While such information may be used alone, it has more credibility if it is supported with other evidence. Hypnotically refreshed memories may also be used for purely investigative purposes. It is vital that any witness or victim who may be involved in a future court case not seek out forensic hypnosis without the knowledge of the attorneys or investigators involved in the case.

What is medical hypnotherapy?

Since 1958, medical hypnotherapy has been recognized by the American Medical Association as a valid form of health care. Additionally, the National Institutes of Health categorize hypnotherapy as an alternative and complementary health care intervention. Therefore, hypnotherapy has been fully recognized as a mind/body technique that attempts to balance the relationship between the mental and physical aspects of a patient. While the anxiety and stress reduction components of hypnotherapy have shown universal benefits to most, if not all medical conditions, a well-designed therapy protocol using hypnotherapy has been carefully researched and shown to be beneficial beyond mere stress reduction. Hypnosis has been successfully used in pre and post operative situations, as well as with victims of cancer, lupus, and many other diseases. Specifically, it has been extremely successful with the sufferers of refractory (meaning not responding to other treatment) Fibromyalgia and Irritable Bowel Syndrome, since most medical authorities agree that it is very difficult (or impossible) to pinpoint actual physiological problems causing these problems -- and thus can only treat the symptoms. For more information please go to Medical Hypnotherapy.

What is NLP?

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is a loose collection of highly successful techniques based upon a series of models involving how we communicate with ourselves and others. Initially developed in the 1960's by Richard Bandler and John Grinder, it has further evolved due to constant contributions by other researchers, trainers, and practitioners. Originally, it grew out of Bandler and Grinder's modeling of the techniques of Milton H. Erickson, MD (regarded as the father of American Hypnotherapy), Virginia Satir (family therapy pioneer), and Fritz Perls (the developer of Gestalt therapy). It is used for self improvement, sports performace, professional development, rapid therapy (by qualified individuals), and mind/body health. For more information please go to NLP.

How does hypnotherapy compare to stage hypnosis?

Unfortunately stage hypnotists, television, and the movies have given the general public a misconception that prevents people from going to legitimate practitioners. Provided that the performer is not a fraud using “audience plants”, a stage hypnotist is normally a skilled entertainer who carefully picks the most suggestible members of the audience who he feels will most likely perform according to his wishes. Conversely, other than the disservice that such performers give to the credibility of the field, there is a significant opportunity to do harm to the volunteers from the audience. Most stage hypnotists are not qualified clinical hypnotherapists. Therefore, should a situation occur with a particular participant for which the performer is not qualified to address, the subject could be significantly hurt or mentally traumatized. Therefore, officially we object to such public displays of hypnosis. Furthermore, such shows are considered illegal in many states and countries.

What are some of the applications of hypnosis?

·        Without a written referral:

o       Weight Loss

o       Self-improvement

o       Relaxation Techniques

o       Improve Memory

o       Improve Concentration

o       Improve Study Habits

o       Exam Preparation

o       Master Exam Preparation

o       Improve Sports Ability

o       Speed Reading

o       Enhance Creativity

o       Improve Salesmanship

o       Improved Communication Skills

·        Possibly requires a written referral:

o       Self Confidence.

o       Eliminating Procrastination

o       Eliminating Nail Biting

o       Improving Exercise Habits

o       Improved Assertiveness

o       Increased Enthusiasm

o       Memory Regression

·        Requires a written referral from a licensed primary care giver:

o       Any diagnosed illness or condition -- mental or physical*

§         Pre- and Post-Surgery/Surgery Anxiety

§         Visualization Treatment for Oncology Patients

§         Fibromyalgia

§         Irritable Bowel Syndrome

§         Alcoholism

§         Enuresis

§         Control of bleeding

§         Allergies

§         Headaches

§         Dental Treatments

§         Obstetrics/Gynecology

§         Dermatology

§         Genitourinary

§         Internal Medicine

o       Extreme Nervousness

o       Insomnia

o       Sexual Problems

o       Health Complaints

o       Uncontrollable Anger

o       Extreme Guilt

o       Depression

o       Pain Management

o       Any True Phobia or Morbid Fear


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