What is Hypnotherapy?
The safe and ethical use of Hypnosis is called Hypnotherapy.
Hypnosis is the process of inducing a relaxed, altered state (like daydream) followed by positive relevant suggestion. It does not necessarily require sleep. The skill of the Hypnotherapist is to suggest the right things in the right way when the hypnotee has relaxed the conscious, analytical mind sufficiently. The hypnotee can reject any suggested changes if they are being suggested in an unwanted and/or manipulative way, or if they have no desire to change in the first place.
How does it work?
The process allows access to the part of the brain (the unconscious / the cerebellum) where habits and other desired behaviour is formulated and stored. Once accessed the unconscious can create new circuitry to adopt new behaviour if that is suggested in a positive fashion.
Hypnosis works because it treats the root of any problem – the cause not the symptom. It effectively reprograms the unconscious, removing the urge to follow a certain type of automatic learnt behaviour.
(In the case of smoking, for example, the conscious intention to not smoke is overpowered by the memory of having a cigarette at certain moments. So the use of patches, gums, sprays, medication and e-cigarettes just replaces one product for another, they don’t manage the impulsive cause of smoking, which will not break the habit. A behaviour must be altered while in a subconscious state; i.e. during hypnosis.
Are there any side effects?
There are no negative side effects, although it is not recommended for anyone with a medicated psychotic disorder, epilepsy, or serious clinical depression.
Can anyone be hypnotised?
Yes (but some people are more receptive than others).
A good hypnotherapist and a good hypnotee is the dream combination, but the onus will be on the therapist!
How easy is it to qualify to practice?
Whilst it can be quite straightforward to gain a basic qualification in hypnotherapy it is always recommended to check that your potential practitioner is a member of an accredited organisation and part of the General Hypnotherapy Register which ensures he / she has public liability insurance. It is always acceptable to ask for references and testimonials.
Can Hypnotherapy offer a permanent solution to a range of problems?
Yes, there is plenty of evidence that hypnosis can provide a permanent change in behaviour. Human behaviour is simply activity that has been learned over time and so becomes the default automatic reaction to a certain set of stimuli. Two or three sessions of hypnotherapy over a short period of time (depending on the patient and severity of condition) can create new circuitry in the brain, and new automatic reactions to the old triggers can be learnt.
You should start to feel the benefits immediately. It is simply a case of breaking the old habit cycle and replacing it with a better one.
Is there anything that hypnotherapy cannot help?
Of course – anything physiological. But anything behavioural has been learnt at some point in one’s life for good reason. If the reason is no longer valid it can be relearnt with hypnotherapy.
What is the medical view on hypnosis?
Hypnotherapy is unlikely to be embraced by some parts of the medical and pharmaceutical establishment anytime soon as the research to evaluate its positive benefits would be too costly and regulation of the industry would be too challenging.
Sad but true.
I would seek to reassure you on the neuroscience before any work, but if you are in surfing mode there is plenty of robust clinical research online which should help.