What is Hypnotherapy?

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The term “hypnosis” comes from the Greek word Hypnos, meaning, “sleep.” Hypnotherapists use exercises that bring about deep relaxation and an altered state of consciousness, also known as a trance. A person in a deeply focused state is unusually responsive to an idea or image, but this does not mean that a hypnotherapist can control the person’s mind and free will. On the contrary, hypnosis can actually teach people how to master their own states of awareness. By doing so they can affect their own bodily functions and psychological responses.

Hypnotherapy is generally classified as a directive therapy since hypnosis tends to produce a passivity during which the client accepts direction from the hypnotherapist. The present view is that a hypnotic state does exist.

Myths around hypnotherapy.

Myth 1: When you wake up from a hypnotic trance, you will not remember anything that happened when you were hypnotised.

While amnesia may occur in very rare cases, people generally remember everything that occurred while they were hypnotised. Nonetheless; hypnosis can have a significant effect on memory. Post hypnotic amnesia can lead an individual to forget certain things that occurred before or during hypnosis however, this effect is generally limited and temporary.

Myth 2: Hypnosis can help people remember the exact details of say,
a crime they witnessed.

While hypnosis can be used to enhance memory, the effects have been dramatically exaggerated in the popular media. Research has shown that hypnosis does not lead to significant memory enhancement or accuracy, and hypnosis can actually lead to false or distorted memories.

Myth 3: You can be hypnotised against your will.

Despite stories about people being hypnotised without their consent, hypnosis requires voluntary participation on the part of the patient.

Myth 4: The hypnotist has complete control of your actions while you are under hypnosis.

While people often feel that their actions under hypnosis seem to occur without the influence of their will, a hypnotherapist cannot make you perform actions that are against your values or morals.

Myth 5: Hypnosis can make you super-strong, fast or athletically talented.

While hypnosis can be used to enhance performance, it cannot make people stronger or more athletic than their existing physical capabilities

What Can Hypnosis Be Used For?
The following are just a few of the applications for hypnosis that have been demonstrated with research:

  • The treatment of chronic pain conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
  • The treatment and reduction of pain during childbirth.
  • Hypnotherapy may be helpful for certain symptoms of ADHD.
  • The reduction of nausea and vomiting in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
  • Control of pain during dental procedures.
  • Elimination or reduction of skin conditions including warts and psoriasis.
  • Alleviation of symptoms association with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

What Effects Does Hypnosis Have?
The experience of hypnosis can vary dramatically from one person to another. Some hypnotised individuals report feeling a sense of detachment or extreme relaxation during the hypnotic state, while others even feel that their actions seem to occur outside of their conscious volition. Other individuals may remain fully aware and able to carry out conversations while under hypnosis.

Unfortunately, the phenomenon of hypnosis has attracted a coterie of charlatans, faith healers and more recently night club entertainers who have damaged the therapeutic nature of hypnotherapy.

© 2013 – 2015, Content: Dr Vasilios Silivistris – Artwork: Ian Francis. All rights reserved.

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