Hypnosis. What is it?...What is it not?


"Hypnosis is a therapeutic technique in which clinicians make suggestions to individuals who have undergone a procedure designed to relax them and focus their minds.  Although hypnosis has been controversial, most clinicians now agree it can be a powerful, effective therapeutic technique for a wide range of conditions, including pain, anxiety and mood disorders. 

Hypnosis can also help people change their habits, such as quitting smoking...While you may think of hypnosis as something only in the movies, hypnosis is used in real life to help people with depression, gastro-intestinal disorders and other health problems. Because hypnosis can help people manage and, in some cases, recover from illness, it is becoming a more common part of treatment plans."     (American Psychological Association, 2019)

"While hypnosis is often associated with sideshow performances, it's not a magical act. Hypnosis doesn't render a person asleep or unconscious or otherwise out of control of their own mind. Rather, it’s a technique for putting someone into a state of heightened concentration where they are more suggestible."     (Psychology Today, 2019)

The history of hypnosis dates back thousands of years to different hypnotic rituals and trance-like states that were elicited for myriad purposes including healing, releasing demonic spirits, or calling in abundance.  Then, in the mid- to late-18th century, Franz Mesmer (1734-1815), a Viennese physician, introduced the notion of mesmerism, from where arose the notion of being "mesmerized," and revealed his view that people were influenced by outside magnetic forces, called "animal magnetism."  Mesmer relied on magnets and offered much in the form of helping people gain freedom from various illnesses until it was discovered that the same results could be obtained without the magnets.  Ultimately, Franz Mesmer contributed greatly to the practice of hypnosis as we learned of the immense power of suggestion to the human mind.  His contribution continued to influence many future contributing practitioners of psychiatry and psychology, including Sigmund Freud.

Hypnosis IS.....
A state of heightened awareness of the self and of subconscious drives, desires, beliefs and motivations.  It is very much akin to the relaxation and concentration of deep meditation.

A state of sleep, yes! but not of physical sleep.  It is a state of sleep for the nervous system and conscious mind, so that physical and neurological functioning is relaxed and quieted, allowing a person to uncover the hidden part of the mind - the subconscious mind.

A state of great suggestibility whereby a client becomes more open and receptive to receiving positive, reinforcing, empowering suggestions and clear away blockages.  The conscious mind, or "action center" is what determines our actions, akin to an on-off, or yes-no switch.  Whereas the subconscious mind, or "reaction center," is the hidden drive behind the actions...it is the sum collection of thoughts, feelings and experiences that shape our beliefs and that then determine how we act. It is the part that people seek to  access when they are looking to change the thoughts and feelings behind the actions.

A review, and not a reliving, of past events or life experiences, almost like a third-party spectator or someone watching scenes on a screen; therefore, viewing past traumatic experiences is safe and, in fact, cathartic

Hynosis IS NOT...
A matter of magical mind control initiated through deep, intense, and smouldering eye contact (no ladies and gentlemen, I am unable to control your mind, your actions or your thoughts by sheer eye-contact...I am a healer and practice hypnotherapy, not mysticism, or magic)

A state whereby a person can be given ridiculous suggestions, such as instructions to hand over possessions, monies, or belongings.  Clients enter hypnosis with a clear intention that they decide on with me prior to the start of the session and so it is they who determine our aim, goal, or ultimate purpose for the session.  Plus, nowhere in the Hippocratic Oath is there a mention of extortion, fraud, or embezzlement, and I truly take my work, my purpose, my calling, and intention quite seriously.  

Reliving traumatic experiences.  Hypnosis offers a "review process" by which we gain an understanding of the past and how our mind interpreted it and the conclusions, or beliefs that it drew from them.

Hypnosis - Benefits

It is generally short-term, no more than 1-2 sessions for a particular area of interest

It is a very focused approach allowing a person to hone in on one area of concern that may help with several other areas (i.e., targeting smoking cessation that then leads to heightened self-esteem & personal empowerment; addressing childhood trauma and then experiencing improved relationships)

There are no diagnoses and so no long-term labeling or stigmatization of having a psychological disorder.

There are no medications or the adverse side effects associated with medications.

There are no recurring, or high costs that are associated with traditional therapy

Hypnosis - Disadvantages

It does not allow for lengthy, recurrent, daily or weekly visits that people seek when they prefer talk therapy, or traditional counseling

There is an initial relationship that develops between client and hypnotherapist, though it is solely initially and meant to help initiate the changes that then the client will continue to practice after the session

 Cannot be used to handle, manage or treat severe psychological disorders, including, but not limited to Bipolar I & II Disorder, Antisocial Disorder, or Schizophrenia,

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