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Hypnotherapy: What is it? 

hypnotherapyHypnotherapy has no one single definition. However to many, hypnotherapy describes a form of psychotherapy which works on the subconscious mind to change behavioral and thought patterns.  The word “hypnosis” refers to the trance-like state between when you are awake and when you fall asleep which you enter when you are hypnotized, and hypnotherapy is the process of bringing healing or facilitating change under these circumstances.  Originally, hypnotists believed that hypnosis was actually a form of sleep and relied upon inducing a deep trance in their patients, and used very authoritarian commands to tell them what to do. 

Modern hypnotherapists develop rapport with their patients and use the relationship as a means to “suggest” changes. The common belief in the field of hypnotherapy is that the depth of the trance has no bearing on the treatment.  Modern hypnotherapists use relatively simple techniques to induce light trances which may have amazing results.  While in a light trance, you are much more suggestible and complaint than you would normally be, and are frequently more willing to accept new information or suggestions (but only information or suggestions that you are wanting to accept). 

 

Consequently, therapists can make suggestions which will be stored in your mind effectively reprogramming your mind to accept or reject new beliefs or patterns of behavior.  For example, hypnotherapy has been found to be effective in the treatment of phobias.  If you have a fear of spiders for example, a therapist may suggest that you are no longer afraid of spiders.  If you are then willing to overcome your phobia and accept the suggestions and replace the old fear with a new lack of fear, your phobia may be relieved.  You can also have the same experience with pain for example.  Pain may be a physical sensation but it’s also one that registers an effect on the brain.  If under hypnotherapy your mind accepts that you do not feel pain anymore, your pain may go away or be reduced. 

The mind is incredibly powerful and is intimately tied to its effects on the body.  This has been demonstrated during a hypnotic trance when breathing, heart rate and metabolism can be slowed, allergic reactions stopped and pain reduced.  Every thought or sensation experienced in the mind shows itself as a physical change in the body, and every physical change will have mental and emotional associations.  So, an emotional problem such as prolonged and unexplored grief can cause physical illness if not resolve adequately.  Hypnotherapists believe that the mind has the ability to both create and cure physical disease.  They believe that the mind can cure physical illness by activating the healing and repair mechanisms which are controlled by the subconscious mind. 

Fortunately, hypnotherapy can also be used along with other therapies such as osteopathy and acupuncture to reinforce their benefits.  The level of success of hypnotherapy has a lot to do with the level of cooperation developed between the patient and therapist.  Also, hypnotherapy is also enhanced by the fact that most individuals who go to treatment are ready and willing to change.

Some information from Alternative Therapies 

Additional information and webpage by Paul Susic Ph.D.. Licensed Psychologist  

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