Hypnotherapy is the therapeutic use of hypnosis. It is the use of hypnosis for therapy. The therapist leads the patient to positive change while the patient is deeply relaxed in a state of heightened suggestibility called trance.
Hypnotherapy is often applied in order to modify a subject’s behaviour, emotional content, and attitudes, as well as a wide range of conditions including dysfunctional habits, anxiety, stress-related illness, pain management, and personal development.
Hypnosis can be a highly effective form of treatment for many mental, psychosomatic, and physical disorders. Hypnosis is a trance state in which the hypnotized person is in a heightened, more receptive state of mind. During hypnosis, the patient is not unconscious, does not lose control of his or her faculties, and does not do things under hypnosis that he or she would be unwilling to do otherwise.
Hypnosis, when using proven therapeutic procedures, can be a highly effective form of treatment for many mental, psychosomatic, and physical disorders. For example, through the use of regressive techniques, an adult patient may mentally travel back to a point in childhood that was particularly troublesome, allowing the healing of old unresolved emotional wounds.
Another patient can be led to understand that emotional pain has been converted to physical pain, and that the pain can be eliminated once the source has been addressed. Or, a person suffering from chronic pain can be taught to control the pain without use of medications.
There are many techniques for correcting dysfunctional behaviours such as self-destructive habits, anxiety disorders, and even managing side effects of various medical treatments and procedures.
Hypnotherapy has been used to stop self-destructive and addictive habits like smoking. It has also been used to control appetite for overeaters, allow insomniacs to sleep peacefully, stop bed-wetting, and reduce or eliminate anxiety. Excessive stress levels can be generated from many sources and can be the springboard for chronic anxiety.
Hypnosis therapy has been used successfully to eliminate the fear of: public speaking, test taking, and job stress. Hypnotherapy also works well for other anxiety disorders such as phobias and has proven to be an effective treatment for mild to moderate depression.
In order to understand hypnotherapy, it is necessary to understand the underlying concepts of hypnosis. Read about the History of hypnosis.
Milton H. Erickson was an American psychiatrist and one of the most influential hypnotists of the 20th century. From around the 1950s onward, Erickson developed a radically different approach to hypnotism, which has subsequently become known as “Ericksonian hypnotherapy”.” Ericksonian hypnosis is also known as conversational hypnosis. It utilises complex language patterns, and therapeutic strategies. Milton Erickson was responsible for getting the American Medical Association to recognise the medical benefits of hypnotherapy. Many hypnotherapists consider Milton Erickson the father of modern hypnotherapy.
Hypnotherapy in Childbirth
Hypnotherapy has long been used in relation to childbirth. It is used during pregnancy to prepare a mother for birth, and during childbirth to reduce anxiety, discomfort and pain. Hypnotherapy can also be used to release trauma from miscarriages and abortions and other suppressed emotions which may prevent fertility at an unconscious level.
Common Hypnotherapy Techniques
Age regression is often used to release unprocessed negative emotions or to update outdated beliefs that are limiting enjoyment of life.
Revivification is used to remember past experiences that can assist in resolving current day issues.
Guided imagery is a method by which the subject is given a new relaxing and beneficial experience or to direct the unconscious mind towards a future goal.
Parts therapy is a method used to identify conflicting parts that are damaging the well being of clients, then helps those parts negotiate with each other through the therapist to bring about a resolution
Confusion is a method developed by Milton Erickson inwhich the subject is more likely to be receptive to indirect suggestion due to an altered state of confusion.
Repetition is used to increase the probability that an idea is accepted and acted upon by the patient]
Direct suggestions are used to help the client, e.g. “You feel calm and confident”.
Indirect suggestions are used to bypass the critical faculty. E.g. “You may not notice that your self-confidence is increasing daily until someone points it out to you”.
Post-hypnotic suggestion is a suggestion that will be carried out after the trance has ended. “When you-awaken you will feel refreshed, happy and confident!”
Visualization is useful to create desired outcomes as the unconscious mind cannot distinguish between real and imagined memories.