Hypnosis is often portrayed with exotic images of mystical men with long beards and waistcoats maniacally swinging pocket watches and purring for one to look deeply into their eyes.
Hypnotherapy is definitely a far cry from those mysterious days. It is a modern practice and is the focus of many a scientist researching the mind and its capabilities. Hypnosis is simply when the body and mind enter a meditative and relaxed state, and a hypnotherapist helps people achieve this by themselves. No magic, no mind control and definitely no hocus pocus.
Hypnosis has a “very real” effect that can be picked up on brain scans, say Hull University researchers.
So what is hypnotherapy and how does it work?
The key is for the hypnotherapist and client to work with the subconscious mind together, by helping the conscious mind calm down into a meditative and extremely relaxed state of body and mind. This enables both the hypnotherapist and client to communicate effectively with the subconscious without the conscious mind getting in the way and complicating matters.
A meta-analysis published in a special issue of the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis found that hypnotic suggestions relieved the pain of 75% of 933 subjects participating in 27 different experiments. The pain-relieving effect of hypnosis is often substantial, and in a few cases the degree of relief matches or exceeds that provided by morphine.
Once the conscious mind has been calmed, the hypnotherapist and client will begin communicating with the subconscious mind to remove old, pre-existing negative thoughts, memories and/or feelings and replace them with new, positive thought patterns, memories and feelings. We can even look for past memories, feelings or thought processes and reboot the memory to fit into a more positive mind set, that enables you to live your life the way you want, without those negative thoughts and feelings gnawing away at you.
The hypnotherapist’s job is to help you make changes by finding the problem or memories, and make positive suggestions for permanent change in your life. There is no pressure on you to find the problem and no need to struggle with weak willpower to achieve the results you want. We simply give positive suggestions that your subconscious will turn into reality by accepting them as your truth.
A special issue of the respected journal Cortex will shortly be dedicated to the neuropsychology of hypnosis, additionally pointing to the growing momentum of the scientific revival. The wider public, however, still base their knowledge on the watches and weight-loss stereotype, meaning it is likely to be a while before neuroscientists feel comfortable about breaking their self-imposed silence.
So to answer the question, “What is hypnotherapy?”, it is simply using the tool of hypnosis to give beneficial suggestions to the subconscious mind.
When To Seek Hypnotherapy
We all experience periods in our lives where we suffer from anxiety, stress, lack of confidence, or may want to break a bad habit like smoking, or even lose/gain weight. Whatever problem you are facing, there is a good chance hypnotherapy can help you overcome these problems while simultaneously creating a new and brighter future for you.