Hypnotherapy: Understanding the Specialty
Hypnotherapy, the use of hypnosis as a tool in therapy to reprogram the subconscious mind, is an evidence-based practice that is becoming increasingly popular for its use in helping treat people with mental health issues and people that want to change their bad habits, like smoking. You might have a lot of lingering questions about hypnotherapy, so let’s answer some today.
“Am I going to end up doing something embarrassing in hypnotherapy?”
In short, no. While the term “hypnosis” is easily associated with the classic hypnotist scenes you’ve seen before in movies and shows, this kind of hypnosis is usually exaggerated and dramatized.
Real hypnosis involves someone going into a “trance” state– a heightened state of awareness and relaxation where a person is hyper-focused and concentrated. In this state, people are better able to respond to suggestions.
Trance is a common everyday occurrence. Recall the last time you were lost in your thoughts and missed a turn or exit, or didn’t see the traffic light change colors.
How quickly do two hours fly by when you are enthralled in a movie you like?
And don’t get me started on having to drag a kid off their iPad or video game– that’s a tough trance to break.
Hypnosis is merely taking that highly focused state and turning it inwards for a specific objective.
The field of hypnosis has come a long way from the days of Anton Mesmer (ever used the word ‘mesmerized’?), the German doctor renown for his animal magnetism. Milton H. Erickson, M.D., deemed the “father of modern hypnotherapy,” really helped bring hypnosis out of the shadows and give it the medical credibility it deserves.
Hypnotherapy is about connecting the subconscious mind with the conscious mind. When conducted by a hypnotherapist, the goal is that you become more susceptible to suggestions for self-improvement or behavior changes. But this doesn’t mean that you lose all control; nobody is actually taking over your mind.
“Whew…That’s a relief. Who does hypnotherapy help?”
A wide range of people. Hypnosis is used in anywhere from the surgery room to the dental chair to the therapist’s couch. When combined with other therapies, hypnotherapy can help treat a variety of disorders and issues including:
Hypnotherapy also has an analysis component that explores the root of a psychological disorder or symptom, like a past trauma. A person can then work through the emotions associated with that trauma with a therapist. Hypnotherapy isn’t just for adults either, it can even be effective with kids.
“So what you’re saying is…hypnotherapy works for everyone!”
Not exactly. Hypnotherapy doesn’t replace medical treatment. It’s important to note that hypnotherapy is not considered a common form of psychotherapy. Think of it more as a supplement to other treatments. It can be used for pain control after a doctor has evaluated a patient. Hypnotherapy can’t cure diseases like cancer, but it can help treat pain associated with cancer. It also might not be the best treatment option for people experiencing psychotic symptoms, like hallucinations.
“Okay, but does it actually work?”
Combined with other therapies, hypnotherapy may help people through pain and mental health management. You could take our word for it or The American Psychological Association’s. They say, “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.”
Convinced yet? Here’s a suggestion (pun intended), find one in your area and have the experience for yourself.