What is hypnosis?

Simply put it is an altered state of consciousness.

"A state of increased awareness and responsiveness to ideas (or suggestions)"
~Milton Erickson

"A natural focussed state of concentration (trance) similar to day dreaming but at a higher level"
~Erickson & Rossi

"It is a process of inducing a trance-like state by another person, hypnotist or hypnotherapist or aided by oneself. During this heightened state of awareness the subconscious mind can be easily accessed becoming very receptive to suggestions and change. As the body relaxes, so does the mind (the conscious mind). If you relax the mind you relax the body. The process allows the subconscious mind to become more active and come to the forefront. As the conscious mind is relaxed it is bypassed and takes a back seat because it is not as active."

What is hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy is a form of therapy using hypnosis as the core method of treatment to facilitate positive change or improvements in one's life. Hypnosis and hypnotherapy are used, here, interchangeably as within the this context one implies the other.

Why is it important and how can it help me?

It allows, via the help of a hypnotherapist, the subconscious mind to communicate with the conscious mind and the conscious mind to communicate with the subconscious mind. Hypnosis is like a key which we can use to unlock the subconscious mind to enable the hypnotherapist to communicate with it by inducing a trance-like state using induction techniques. During this state the subconscious mind is very receptive to positive suggestions, as suggested by the hypnotherapist. Thus it enables the client to change their behaviour, habits, negative feelings for positive outcomes and goals. The conscious mind, is our awareness of what is happening around us, of the environment. It is the logical rational part so it can be highly critical and get in the way of achieving our goals. During hypnosis the conscious mind is less active and more relaxed. So that the subconscious mind can be accessed. We need to access the subconscious mind as this is where everything we do automatically starts. The subconscious is where our intuition and instinctive behaviour comes from (it's our proverbial gut when we talk about "gut feeling"). It controls all our bodily functions and everything we have learnt. Behaviour, habits, beliefs and values are all stored in the subconscious mind, including our memories, good or bad. It is the powerhouse that drives us to do what we do and determines how we behave. It influences everything we do and acts as a filter to our external sensory input before presenting it to the conscious mind. In other words things can be hidden in the subconscious that we are unaware of. So for anything we want to change and resolve (I.E habits, behaviour, phobia, issues, increasing self-esteem or increasing wellbeing) we have to communicate with the subconscious mind to change it. Hypnosis is a quick and effective way of bringing about these changes, a valuable tool to resolve problems.

Does hypnosis really work?

Yes, many doctors, dentists, other leading health professionals and sports coaches know the power of hypnosis and have documented its benefits. It was approved as a legitimate medical and dental treatment method by the medical association in 1958.

Can it work for me?

Yes, you must be motivated to want to change and have the desire to be hypnotised and experience hypnosis. All you need is the ability to concentrate. As the experience is relaxing and pleasurable, the more you experience it the easier it will become to get into this state. Good explanations will alleviate fear and mistrust.

I have had a poor experience with hypnosis in the past, will this time be any different?

Yes, through using different inductions more suited to the person, the depth of relaxation is improved and repeated positive suggestions can improve the depth of relaxation, motivation, concentration and absorption.

Will I lose control?/Will the therapist have control over me while I'm in hypnosis?

No. "All hypnosis is self-hypnosis" (Milton Erikson) - Meaning you are the person in control not the hypnotherapist. You choose to go into a trance and can come out of it at any time, just like when you are reading a book, you can be focussed and absorbed into it but stop at any time if the book's content makes you feel uncomfortable or you just want to do something else. The therapist cannot make you do anything you don't want to do as you are in control of your actions, thoughts and feelings. The subconscious mind protects you at all times and keeps you safe. You will not reveal secrets unless you want them revealed and you don't have to talk to the therapist about a traumatic event or episode as the subconscious mind can still work for you. You are in charge. You will not act against your beliefs and values unless you want to. You will have a greater awareness of what is going on and be able to focus on the hypnotherapists voice, positively controlling your own mind and body. You are in complete control, you cannot be made to do anything against your will. You can't be made to bark like a dog, or eat an onion instead of an apple or cluck like a chicken. This is not a stage of hypnosis.

Can I become stuck in hypnosis or feel that I cannot wake up from it?

Getting stuck is not possible as you do not lose control of your senses. You are the one in control of your mind and body, whilst in hypnosis. It is a cooperative two way relationship between therapist and client.

Is it another form of relaxation?

No; you will feel relaxed but it is a different state of awareness. You will become receptive to suggestions given to your subconscious mind. These will work outside outside hypnosis.

Is hypnosis a magical cure?

Hypnosis is no guarantee or magic. The therapist is not responsible for curing the issue, neither is hypnosis; this is the clients responsibility. If the client the desire and commitment towards change and holds responsibility to their success it will have the desired effect in achieving their goals. "Hypnotherapy is not magic, however if the right ingredients are present, if the time is right and if a suitable practitioner can be found, with whom the client is willing to work, then all their realistic goals are achievable" - General Hypnotherapy Register

Is it dangerous?

Not in itself. It is a safe, natural, effective treatment, with no side effects. If not properly used in can lead to negative reactions, so it is important to use a professional, registered hypnotherapist. "Hypnosis itself is not harmful but an incompetent can do inadvertent damage, usually through ignorance and not as a reaction to distressing memories and feelings that come up to the conscious mind." The experience of hypnosis is both relaxing and pleasant, with a slowing of physiological functions, including breathing and heartbeat and the persons body feels wonderfully comfortable. Such responses are healthy and very effective in reducing stress, anxiety and discomfort. If you want a haircut you could do it yourself, the end product being a crew or crude cut or you could hire a professional hairdresser to do a proper haircut. The same is true of hypnosis.

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