Demystifying Hypnosis

There are many misconceptions and myths around hypnosis and hypnotherapy. Some are great believers and work well within the process and some people, after a session of hypnosis, don’t believe that they were hypnotized at all. This is probably because of those who have been hypnotized really don’t know what to expect, what the ‘trance’ state really is thought to be. First, we of all, those hypnotized are in complete control, and choose whether or not to be hypnotized. Only those suggestions agree upon are readily accepted. If a suggestion is disagreeable or contrary to the person’s moral or ethical codes, they will end the hypnosis by opening their eyes. If the eyes cannot be opened voluntarily, they are hypnotized.

The media feeds the notion of being out of control by portraying clients that are hypnotized doing bizarre activities for entertainment that is at the expense of their dignity, such as quacking like ducks and doing the chicken dance. However, with a truly hypnotized client, there is actually a measurable difference between the brain waves of people who are asleep and those who are in trance. A genuine hypnotic session bears little resemblance to these stereotyped images for entertainment purposes.

People generally remember everything that occurs while they were hypnotized. Actually, a hypnotherapist does not hypnotize the individual. Rather, the hypnotherapist serves as a sort of coach or tutor whose job is to help the person become hypnotized." While hypnosis is often described as a sleep-like trance state, it is better expressed as a state characterized by focused attention, heightened suggestibility and vivid fantasies.

Many people are attracted to hypnosis as a viable healing tool, and as an experiential activity. The hypnotherapist is a guide through this experience that can take you to an altered state of mind, where suggestions work like magic although there is a definite science behind the process that seems to bring desires easily and effortlessly to you! Even so, you take yourself into altered states a lot. It’s like when you are totally absorbed in some activity, say a long, boring drive where you lose all track of time, and time seems to pass slowly where a minute might seem like an hour. Or the opposite, an hour passes like a minute when time passes quickly, when you are having fun with an art project or gardening, football game or work that you like doing. Do you have things that make time pass like that?

Other sensations you might notice are a more rhythmic pace to your breathing, extreme relaxation of your muscles. A slight tingling or numbness is also a common experience as you go into a deeper hypnotic state.

How can hypnosis be used clinically? Some 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

  • The reduction of the symptoms of dementia

  • 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

Besides behavioral types of reprograming and healing, hypnotherapy is a beautiful and useful tool for spiritual development that is, for the development of the inner life, and removing blocks. Both Past Life Regression and Spiritual Regression can, along with new thinking strategies, provide the therapeutic clearing of a life, allowing new insight to old issues.

  • Use of Past Life Regression can assist a individual who has any number of clinical issues related below or relationship issues that seem to have a powerful hold on them. Looking at a past life can find a connection between a previous life and this one.

  • Use of Spiritual Life Regression Similar to past life work, it can assist those interested in seeing how their lives have evolved over many lifetimes, and whether relationships have meaning beyond the obvious. They can also gain understanding of their life’s purpose.

Finally, hypnotherapy works as a tool that moves the mind from what we think of as an objective conscious awakened state into a more subjective subconscious state. In hypnosis, the inner mind becomes hyper suggestible and influenced to modify behavior and bodily processes, to a remarkable degree. Hypnosis seems to program the mind to function through the automatic nervous system rather than the sympathetic nervous systems. That said, hypnosis has little value unless the client is willing to accept it. With that willingness, the affect of an accepted suggestion will “bypass critical mind and establish selective thinking that brings about miracles…When you work with a hypnotherapist, you will simply be using this natural ability to bypass your own self-limiting beliefs so that you can use more of your mind than you do in your regular state of mind.

Shirley Ryan, PhD, CCHt is a practicing hypnotherapist and spiritual mentor. See more at.

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