What Is Hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy uses hypnosis in therapy. It comes from the Greek word 'Hypnos' which means sleep, however one is not asleep while under hypnosis. Rather, one is in a heightened state of awareness where the brain waves are greatly slowed down allowing access to the subconscious mind.
What Is A Hypnotic State?
Entering a hypnotic state is in fact not new to any of us. We enter a naturally induced hypnotic state moments before we fall asleep and moments before we wake up. Most people have the misconception that the client is asleep or under the control of the therapist while under hypnosis. The aim of hypnosis is not to enter a state of sleep but is in fact to allow the client to reach a heightened state of awareness through relaxation and at no time is the client under the control of the therapist.
We too enter a hypnotic state when we are engrossed in an activity e.g. watching televsion. This is why commercials work so well. Therefore, strictly speaking, we do not need to be in a 'relaxed' state in order to be hypnotized. However, in a clinical setting, being able to relax will greatly assist with the process of therapy.
How Does Hypnotherapy Work?
We have our conscious mind which deals with logic, reasoning, critical thinking and rationalizing. We use this part of our brain when we are awake and engaged in activity and conversation. It serves as a 'protector', allowing us to make logical, rationale decisions.
The subconscious mind on the other hand, stores all information that occurs throughout our life. Memories, values, attitudes, fears, feelings, trauma all get stored in our subconscious. All the information that gets stored in our subconscious act like a computer program. It leads us to live our life the way a computer program leads a computer to function depending on the programs it contains. In light of this, we use hypnotherapy to get to the source of what might be impeding the healing, the erroneous programming and instead incorporate the right programming to help you move forwards.
During hypnotherapy, our brain waves slow to the point that our subconscious mind becomes more apparent to us. This can come in the form of a greater awareness of physical sensations, heightened awareness of one's thoughts and emotions, clearer mental images etc.
The language of the subconscious is through images, symbols, patterns and imagination. Leave your critical conscious mind behind during the session and allow yourself to be open to the flow of information and guidance that your subconscious can offer. An important pointer is to simply 'let go' of your analytical mind and open yourself up to your creative & intuitive side.
What Can I Expect During A Hypnotherapy Session?
A common misconception is that one is under the control of the therapist where you are unaware of what you are saying or doing. The media has portrayed stage hypnosis as such and hypnosis is absolutely not like this. Rather, most people report simply feeling very relaxed but still very much aware of what is going on. In fact, it is common to engage with the therapist during the session by talking aloud and knowing exactly what you are saying.
A common expectation that clients have is that they 'should' feel a certain way during the session. Everyone experiences clinical hypnotherapy differently. For example, one person might visualize images really well and can clearly articulate what they are imagining. On the other hand, another person might not be able to visualize but instead responds by noticing sensations in the body.
What If I Cannot Relax?
Some people find it harder to relax than others and fear they won't be able to relax enough to be hypnotized. Firstly, everyone can be hypnotized. Afterall, we naturally enter such a state before we fall asleep and when we first awaken. Before we can enter this naturally induced hypnotic state, firstly we have to relax.
Techniques such as biofeedback or progressive muscle relaxation exercises can be incorporated to assist with relaxation. Simple breathing exercises, relaxation/self-hypnosis CDs are all useful tools to assist with the ability to relax.
What Conditions Is Hypnotherapy Used For?
-Self esteem and confidence building
-Achieving aspirations and goals
-Resolving disease that is tied to past physical/emotional trauma
-Uncovering mental-emotional blocks
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