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Hypnotherapy is the process of using hypnosis to interact with the subconscious mind in an open-reflective process to create positive change in your life. There are many techniques and many styles and many applications of hypnotherapy. They all have several things in common: (1) a strong desire to change, (2) a state of deeply relaxed focus, and (3) language and visualization in relationship to emotions.
Hypnosis is simply a state of relaxed focus. It is a natural state. In fact, each of us enters such a state – sometimes called a trance state – at least twice a day: once when we are falling asleep, and once when we are waking up. That kind of fuzzy, timeless state between dreaming and awake is a trance state. When a nine-minute snooze-button seems to give you enough time to have an-hour long dream, that’s a trance state.
There are many other times that people enter a natural state of trance. Driving, watching TV, listening to music, working on a favorite hobby or activity in the “flow” state. These are all “altered states of consciousness,” and all are various levels of trance. Trance is normal, natural and common.
Some people leave their first hypnotherapy session saying, “I wasn’t hypnotized – I knew what was going on the whole time!” Well of course you did! Hypnosis is not a state of amnesia or of no awareness. Just the opposite true, in fact: hypnosis is a state of very heightened awareness and focus.
Hollywood has perpetrated many myths about hypnosis, and not remembering anything from the hypnosis session is one of those myths. Only under special circumstances would a person forget everything from a session.
Much more can be accomplished when the person undergoing hypnosis remembers everything.
Serious psychiatric or mental health problems are referred to a qualified psychotherapist or psychiatrist. Medical problems with the physical body must always be treated by a physician, who can, at his or her discretion, prescribe hypnotherapy for pain control, hypnoanesthesia or relaxation.
Drug addiction, family dynamics disorders, clinical depression and other such problems need to be treated by doctors and psychiatrists, who can, at their discretion, prescribe hypnotherapy as a supplementary treatment.
This is another Hollywood myth. You always have control, and you can always hear what’s going on. Hypnosis is nothing but a state of relaxed deep focus. It is a natural state that you enter at least twice a day (while waking up and while falling asleep!), and probably much more often than that. If at any time you are in trance and you wish to be fully awake, you can just count to yourself “1 – 2- 3” and open your eyes.
Myths about hypnosis, perpetuated by Hollywood movies, urban legends and fiction books lead people to think all kinds of things about hypnosis, including that it is somehow dangerous. Some people have heard that you can go into trance and not wake up. Or that the hypnotist can make you do things you don’t want to do. These things are untrue. You are always in control, always able to “came back” to full waking state at anytime if you wanted or needed to. The number one job of the subconscious mind is to protect you, and it is always on the job.
Of course, you will want to choose a hypnotherapist that has been well trained and that is trustworthy. Select one that gives you confidence. Hypnosis is a safe and beneficial procedure when facilitated by an ethical and trained professional.
Do always keep in mind that hypnosis is not a treatment or cure for mental illness, and people suffering from psychosis, suicidal depression, or that are on medications for psychological stability should only be hypnotized by their doctors or psychiatrists or by an experienced hypnotherapist with the client’s doctor or psychiatrist present.