How Hypnotherapy Works
Hypnosis is not a modern invention. It has been used by the medical profession before chemical anesthesia was available to eliminate pain during surgery. There is no question that hypnosis is an effective non-invasive technique that can not only eliminate pain but is highly effective in producing desired behavioral changes. Changes can be achieved in habits such as smoking, over-eating, nail-biting, hair pulling, etc. As well hypnosis is highly effective in producing deep states of relaxation so necessary for sleep and reduction of stress. Hypnosis is equally effective in producing behavioral changes of some severe psychological conditions such as phobias, severe anxiety and panic attacks. Hypnosis is also is used in building self-confidence and self-esteem and in improving academic, athletic and sexual performance.
Common Questions about Hypnosis
How does the hypnotist produce the hypnotic state?
The hypnotist uses a process called hypnotic induction. This is a method used to focus your attention and concentration so you will go into a normal hypnotic state. Once the state of hypnosis is achieved suggestions can be made directly to the subconscious mind. Some clients are able to achieve desired changes with just one visit with a hypnotist. However, most habits are deeply embedded in the subconscious mind and may require repeated visits or audio recordings that the client can use on their own.
During the initial consultation you may be tested for your ability to achieve a hypnotic state and for your suggestibility level. This will allow us to give you a more accurate assessment of the number of sessions you may need and the type of results you can expect to achieve.
Note! Hypnosis Is Not Dangerous
There are no risks when used by trained professionals. Dr Janet Hall is a qualified psychologist who is also a master hypnotist with many years experience. You are in safe hands.
Who can be hypnotized?
Although it is true that people differ in their ability to be hypnotized, almost anyone with a good ability to concentrate and achieve focused attention can be hypnotized. Studies have shown, however, that individuals who have a good imagination, and who are highly suggestible have a greater ability to achieve deep hypnotic states. By the same token it would be difficult for individuals with an attention deficit disorder (individuals who are highly distractible) to achieve an adequate enough state of hypnosis to have any effect.
However, a deep resistance to the hypnotic process, and a desire not to be hypnotized will prevent the process from occurring or being in any way effective. By the same token, a deep desire to be hypnotized and to be receptive to the suggestions being made either through direct contact with a trained hypnotist or self-hypnotic recordings, can produce highly effective results.
Some people give up after a few sessions because they believe they are not being hypnotized or are not suitable subjects. However, hypnosis improves with practice, the more you experience the feeling, the better the response.
Am I asleep when under hypnosis?
When in the hypnotic state you are not asleep, but quite awake and aware. Your mind is still active and your thoughts may become quite clear. As you listen to the hypnotist’s words you can speak, laugh, and remember everything that has happened. In fact, while in the hypnotic state, your senses may become more alert. Your sense of hearing may become quite clear, as you become selectively focused on the subject of your hypnotic trance.
The hypnotized individual can remain aware of everything that is taking place. Even after being brought out of hypnosis the client will be able to recall everything that has taken place while in trance.
The only exception is when a specific suggestion has been given by the hypnotist to forget all or part of what has taken place. This is generally discussed and agreed upon prior to entering the hypnotic trance.
The experience of being hypnotized is often likened to the stage just prior to going to sleep but is quite different from night time sleep. It is best described as a state of deep focused relaxation. In fact, an hour of hypnosis is equivalent to three hours of sleep because the body achieves a deep state of relaxation.
Will I be in a trance?
Trance is a very common every day occurrence. For instance, when we daydream. Another common example of ‘trance’ is when we concentrate on particular visual images such as staring into the traffic lights of on-coming cars during night driving. This phenomenon is known as ‘highway hypnosis’. By allowing our eyes to become fixated on the lights created by the oncoming traffic, the driver can fall unexpectedly and suddenly in a ‘trance-like sleep’.
Many people fear hypnosis because of a lack of knowledge about what hypnosis is. This fear is usually based on lack of knowledge about the hypnotic process. Hypnosis is simply the process of allowing the conscious mind to become distracted enough for the subconscious mind to be influenced by suggestions that will achieve the clients specific goals and desires.
There is nothing dangerous about hypnosis. Hypnosis is a method of communication, between the client and the hypnotist that induces a trance or trance-like state. The trance-like state that occurs during hypnosis, also occurs spontaneously in each of us, under different circumstances throughout the day, without our being consciously aware it is happening.
Trance, although the term may sound mysterious, is simply a natural process which occurs when your attention is narrowly focused and free from distraction.
Will I be in control?
The hypnotized subject is always in control and if he or she wishes, can choose not to respond to any suggestions. Hypnotic subjects can bring themselves out of hypnosis at any time. One common misconception that people have about hypnosis is the notion that the hypnotist exercises some ‘magic power’ over the client and does this with some unique gift which only the hypnotist possesses. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. If a suggestion is not appealing or appropriate for a client, it will be ignored. In fact if an incident occurred or suggestion made that was completely to the contrary of a client’s belief or desires, the client would be able to bring himself out of the hypnotic state.
Another common misconception that generates fear is that the hypnotist will make the person do things or think thoughts they would not ordinarily do or think. We have all seen stage hypnotists and the peculiar and humorous things they have their subjects do. It’s worth noting that the subjects are all volunteers, and their self-appointment to be on stage implies a certain willingness to cooperate and be ‘part of the act’. By self-selection, they have chosen to cooperate and perhaps don’t mind, in fact even enjoy being the focus of attention, humor and sometimes even ridicule.
In fact, if a fire alarm or any other kind of emergency alert system were to go off during the act, all would instantly be out of the hypnotic state.
How is stage hypnosis different from medical hypnosis?
Mention hypnosis and most people initially think of stage hypnosis where people appear to be under the control of the hypnotist. As a result they think that when they are hypnotised that they might divulge personal secrets and do silly things, later having no memory of what happened.
Remember that stage hypnosis is hypnosis used for entertainment and that even though it can be very real, the people on stage are volunteers who are there to have fun and amuse the audience.
Medical hypnosis has a very different purpose. It usually involves achieving a state of relaxation when you will feel very calm and peaceful.
You are not unconscious. It is possible to hear other sounds and to know what is happening during the session although naturally, other irrelevant sounds and thoughts become very unimportant during deep relaxation, when the mind produces a natural ‘high’.
It is during this state of mind, that the deeper mind or subconscious is very receptive to ideas and you can learn positive ways of thinking, feeling and being.
Most people can recall their session afterwards if they chose to, although it is generally best to avoid analysing the session later, as best results are achieved by letting the ideas sink into the subconscious mind. A supportive friend is welcome to attend with you if you wish.
How Hypnosis Can Be Helpful
Thinking can be improved to enable you to sharpen your concentration, think more clearly, make decisions more easily and boost you memory. Memories you wish to recall can easily be brought into your mind, whilst other memories not presently needed or wanted are stored away. Mood can be improved so that levels of tension, stress and depression can be removed or reduced and your level of well being is enhanced. Self confidence is strengthened. Pain can be controlled. Behaviour can also be changed and people can use hypnosis to assist with giving up smoking or to control eating patterns, stop nail biting and to control many other habits or addictions. Uses also include stress management, or for help with worry, low self esteem, performance enhancement, relationship and family problems, insomnia, tension headaches and a wide range of conditions. Some people think that hypnosis is used to probe a person’s mind to find out secrets or things from the past that have been forgotten.
Hypnosis can be used in this way, if a person wants to find out something that has been buried in their subconscious, but this is only done with the person’s consent. Medical Hypnosis does not usually require the person to speak at all whilst they are in the hypnotic state. Usually it is only the therapist who is talking whilst you are hypnotised. Hypnosis is a consent state. No one can force you to be hypnotised against your will. The therapist will spend time with you prior to the actual hypnosis, taking a detailed history of your problem. With your help the therapist can usually determine the cause of the problem during this counselling time. Knowing what you want to achieve is very important in helping you to be successful. Your therapist will ask you questions and carefully think about your answers, to formulate the best suggestions to help you, once you are hypnotised. When you have specific goals and a specific time in which you want to achieve them, your subconscious has a clear path to follow to help you to be successful.
Your therapist will also talk with you in the counselling session to ensure that your goals are realistic. This is important, as once your subconscious has been programmed to achieve your goal it will want to help you to be successful. Some people are afraid that they will lose control of their feelings or their mind when they are hypnotised. Medical hypnosis actually gives you control.
In the counselling session before each time you are hypnotised, your therapist will work with you, to find out how you want to think, feel and act. The hypnosis is used to program your mind, similar to the way in which a computer is programmed. Medical hypnosis is used to help you take control of your mind and your life.