What is Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy?
Some people say hypnosis is a relaxed awareness, and that’s how many people experience it. However, hypnosis is not dependant on the person being hypnotised, to be relaxed. Even highly emotional or traumatic events cause us to be highly hypnotisable.
Obviously in a clinical setting where the aim is to help people achieve their desired outcomes, we don’t want to be creating highly charged emotional or traumatic reactions. So, in a typical hypnotherapy session, the hypnotist may very well start the process with some kind of relaxation technique, to switch off the analytical mind and allow the suggestions that follow to enter the subconscious and change the “programs” that are causing the problem habit or behaviour for more useful ones.
Hypnotherapy is not like the stage shows where it appears that the hypnotist is “doing” something to the subject. It is a collaborative process, helping the client achieve a particular outcome. Hypnosis is a means of accessing the vast warehouse of strengths and positive resources the client has and bringing these back to the conscious awareness so the client can implement them in daily life.
Hypnosis Is a Natural State
Hypnosis is a natural state we find ourselves in every day. Recall a time when you were watching a movie and how engrossed you were in the movie. I’m willing to bet, at some points, depending on the kind of movie it was, you may have got emotional and cried, or felt startled and noticed your heart racing. At this time, you were totally focused on the movie and forgot temporarily about where your car was parked or what your next project at work was or even how much money you had in the bank. Your body reacted to the content as though it was happening now.
This is a hypnotised state, had you not temporarily suspended your disbelief, you would not have even been able to enjoy the movie because you would have kept telling yourself, “it’s just a movie”. Having said that, while you were in this state, you were still fully conscious and in control, and at any point, when it got too scary or violent, you would have reminded yourself “it’s just a movie” and snapped out of the hypnotic state for a while. Your subconscious mind will always protect you. You cannot have anything said or done to you that your subconscious mind deems unsafe or uncomfortable.
So how can we use this to our advantage? By first following an induction into hypnosis, which, as I’ve said may or may not involve a relaxation response, you will get to a place where you are open to positive suggestions which will go into your subconscious mind. Remember, you are always protected by the “gate-keeper” which is called the Critical Faculty. A bit like an anti-virus program you have running on your computer, it’s there to protect you.
Some programming is from an early age when decisions you made still affect you today. Let’s take a hypothetical situation where a child is born and growing up and the parents divorce. The child is now separated from one parent and makes the unconscious decision that the absent parent doesn’t love them and as a result goes through their life with this hidden belief “I am unlovable”.
They take this into their future relationships as an adult and feels unlovable even when their partner is doing all the right things. With the power of hypnosis, the emotional charge and resultant belief of an event like this, can be neutralised and the learnings from it retained allowing the person to engage fully with an open heart in their current relationship.
How can Hypnosis help you?
Amongst the hundreds of things hypnosis can help with, here is a short list of the most common:
Overcoming Fear of Public Speaking
Improving Self-Confidence and Self- Esteem
Anxiety and Panic Attacks
Fears and Phobias
Overcoming unhealthy habits of any kind (nail biting, teeth grinding etc)