Updated: Apr 28, 2022
What are the first thoughts that come to mind when you hear or read the words hypnotherapy and hypnosis? More often than not a lot of people have a misconception about both or have no understanding of how the therapy can literally transform a person’s life. Whilst some think that it’s used on stage for the purposes of entertainment by making someone cluck like a chicken, there are people who have experienced seeing a hypnotherapist and they know a very different story!
What is hypnosis?
Well firstly we experience hypnosis every day from reading a book, watching TV, meditating or exercising because we are focusing on that one thing. Hypnosis is a heightened state of focus and attention and has been likened to meditation.
In order to connect to our subconscious mind through hypnosis, a hypnotherapist will use techniques that allows the brain to be fully focused on any suggestions it is given. Our brainwaves frequency will change according to the activity we are doing. For example, when we are fully awake, we are in our ‘waking/alert state’ where our brainwaves are running on Beta waves. When we go for a walk or read, our minds become calmer and begin to slow down into Alpha waves, which is when a hypnotic state can begin; this is where we are more relaxed and become receptive to suggestions and our imagination is tapped into. The deepest state of hypnotherapy is when our brainwaves go into a deep state of relaxation, called the Theta state. It’s also where our conscious mind is quiet, allowing our subconscious mind to open up and receive positive and uplifting suggestions. It’s important to note, that hypnosis can only happen effectively with the willingness of the client.
Did you know?
Hypnosis stems from the Greek word ‘hypnos’, meaning sleep which was coined by James Braid who studied it in the 19th Century and is known as the state of mind in when we experience being hypnotised i.e., a ‘trance like state’.
What is hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is a form of talking therapy i.e., psychotherapy alongside the use of hypnosis.
What can hypnotherapy and/or hypnosis treat?
There are many forms of conditions and illness that a hypnotherapist can treat and these fall into 2 different types, psychological and medical and they will specialise in certain areas. (I specialise in psychological treatments.)
However, hypnotherapy will only work when you have the willingness and true commitment for change to happen.
Mental illnesses can impact the way we live our life, which can impede on work, relationships and functioning every day. Whilst some behavioural traits can be genetic others are learnt.
Stress – is the most common reason people are off sick from work because of the knock-on effects it can have on people. Our body and mind are connected, so when our mind is feeling overwhelmed, it can subsequently cause a physical ailment in our body in response to the stress being released. Or a hairdresser is no longer wanting to do her job, so develops eczema on her hands.
Anxiety – symptoms can present themselves as sweaty palms, stomach pains, dizziness amongst many others. A hypnotherapist can use hypnotherapy alongside hypnosis to find out the root cause of the anxiety. Habits can be picked up as a diversion from dealing with stress or anxiety, so in order to cope someone may start a habit such as, comfort eating or biting their nails.
Grief – this doesn’t have to relate specifically to a loved one passing. It can be the end of a marriage, friendship or relationship or losing a job because we all deal with grief differently. A therapist can help a client who isn’t coping with their grief due to it impacting their life in some way.
Sleep disorders - such as insomnia. The therapist can use hypnotherapy to ascertain the root cause for the patient not being able to sleep well.
Have you ever found yourself comparing your life, how you look and what you do to other people on social media? This often leads to feelings of low self-esteem, self-worth, feelings of sadness and frustration and sometimes a dramatic lifestyle change such as, eating disorders or depression. Hypnotherapy can be used to help change your belief system and improve self-confidence, self-esteem, self-worth, self-belief. Once the therapist has finished their face-to-face treatment, they can supply the client with audio recordings in order to continue giving their subconscious.
We are only born with 2 types of fear (1) loud sudden noises and (2) falling, but as we observe other people around us growing up, we can learn their fears or phobias. For example, if you saw someone react to seeing a spider by screaming, then this is something you have learnt and so without knowing it, you develop a fear for spiders.
A hypnotherapist can break the cycle of the fear or phobia. Here’s a list of some phobias and fears that a hypnotherapist can treat (this is not an exhaustive list):
- Going outside
A hypnotherapist can help improve:
Sports performance e.g., Tiger Woods has had hypnotherapy to stay focused and improve his concentration levels.
Sex life (psychosexual), if a man has erectile dysfunction a hypnotherapist can use therapy to find out the cause.
Business related life – someone has a creative block at work and has lost their motivation. Hypnosis and hypnotherapy can help teach a client how to channel and achieve creativity.
Here are some examples of how hypnosis and/or hypnotherapy can be used to help pain management:
Surgery/Operation – because some people might be allergic to anaesthetic or don’t want to have it, if they are having a minor operation, hypnosis can be used instead of anaesthetic. They will help relax their mind and control the pain.
Hypnobirthing allows the client to learn how to do self-hypnosis in order to manage pain during labour and feel in control of and handle their labour pain better.
Dentists can use hypnotherapy to talk their patient through a treatment, such as a root canal or filling. Or in some instances, some patients may have a fear or dentists, so hypnosis can be used to calm the them.
Arthritis and fibromyalgia can cause discomfort, so they hypnotherapist can help the patient to learn how to reduce their pain levels.
BENEFITS OF HYPNOSIS AND/OR HYPNOTHERAPY
Although the different applications of hypnosis and/or hypnotherapy mentioned above are not exhaustive, it gives an insight into what can be treated and it might not be for everyone. But for those who choose to try this form of therapy, its often an investment that can transform their life, feeling happier and content with who they are, bringing about positive changes into their life. Their mind and body may feel restored, re-energised and aligned. For some, they will no longer be living in fear or have a feeling of being trapped because now they know how to control their mind and thoughts.