Well, some of you are familiar with hypnotherapy. You have heard that it can be used to cure a number of ailments, including stress, alcoholism and the like. But if I were to ask you, how many people do you know who have been treated by a hypnotherapist? You may not remember any! Of course, you would know those who regularly visit a psychiatrist or associations like the Alcoholics Anonymous. So why don’t people go straight for hypnotherapy? To find out the answer to this question, as well as what hypnotherapy has to offer, keep reading.
Mention hypnotism and it’s directly related to the occult or magic, probably influenced by famous magicians who manage to make entire buildings disappear right in front of your eyes! Despite these fantastic feats, hypnotism remains simply a method of bringing about an artificial state of sleep in the subject by the power of suggestion. That is why the word hypnosis, derived from the Greek word hypnosis, means sleep. It induces a state of reduced consciousness, where the subject remains awake, can speak and move, but becomes highly susceptible to suggestions.
The origin of hypnotism
Hypnotism is nothing new. It has always been a powerful tool of the occult. Sorcerers and shamans have used it for thousands of years. However, the first use of hypnosis was in the 17th century and also on animals. It was used successfully to calm chickens by dangling wood shavings in their beaks or by tying their heads to the ground and drawing a chalk line in front of their beaks. French farmers even used it on chickens to sit on eggs that were not their own!
The modern history of hypnotism is nothing more than a to-and-fro battle between believers and skeptics. Dr. Franz Anton Mesmer applied this science to humans, although he called it magnetism. James Braid, a Scottish surgeon, introduced hypnotism as a modern concept in 1843. Before Freud, this was the only known method of psychotherapy and was even used to perform major surgical operations, including amputations!
The power of hypnotherapy
The reason hypnotherapy is preferred over other forms of healing is that it generally speeds up the therapeutic process. What could take months or years of regular psychotherapy can usually be accomplished in weeks with this therapy.
Hypnotherapy is effective in curing addictions, phobias, stress, anxiety, and insomnia. It has been used to provide motivation and build self-confidence and self-esteem. It has even come to the aid of those who want to lose weight, quit smoking, become a better public speaker, and overcome their fear of heights.
However, hypnotherapy is not magic. And it certainly can’t make you a superhero! For example, it can’t make you run a field through nothing, unless you’re already a runner. But to a cross country runner it can give you a psychological advantage that can make the difference between a gold and a bronze medal. Hypnosis can be compared to a tool, like a knife. You don’t expect a knife to cut vegetables for you. But their availability makes it so much easier to cut them the way you want, rather than using your own hands! So, in other words, hypnosis is the tool that a hypnotherapist wields to cure his ailments.
This brings us to the important question of selecting the right hypnotherapist.
Selection of a hypnotherapist
A hypnotherapist is a person who induces a hypnotic state in you. Now this sounds risky, because, once hypnotized, you can fall under his will and command. It is this feeling of vulnerability that discourages most from choosing this type of therapy. And that’s probably why people don’t usually go straight to a hypnotherapist! However, the answer to the question “Can I be made to do things against my will?” it will come a little later in this article.
So what is the selection method? Well, there is no foolproof way to select the right hypnotherapist, any more than there is a guaranteed way to select the right doctor, lawyer, accountant or mechanic. However, reputation counts and you can find out about good hypnotherapists from your personal doctor, family or friends, the workplace or the Yellow Pages. You can also get a list of professional associations or go through the International Registry of Professional Hypnotherapists.
However, whether the recommended hypnotherapists are up to your needs is entirely up to you. Your suitability depends on various factors such as personality, ideology (which can affect a good relationship) and also the nature of your problem. Although the best indicator of a good professional is their satisfied clients, this is not the case in this case, due to the highly personalized nature of this therapy. That’s why someone’s recommended hypnotherapist may sometimes not be good enough for you.
Then, what are you going to do? There are several ways to choose a good hypnotherapist. On your first meeting, have a long conversation to find out his comfort level with him. Answer questions like: Do I feel welcome and accepted? Does your closeness give me nice vibes? Does your office feel like a haven? Do they seem informed enough? Are they really interested in my problems and me? Do they ask about me a lot and do they really listen? Do they seem hopeful?
You may also need to find out about their background, professional qualifications, years of practice, and experience with your type of problem. Besides:
-Find out if your problem can be treated without hypnosis. -Be clear about the hypnotherapy procedure. Will the hypnosis be physically induced or will it be taken with the help of audio tapes? -Know if a personalized service will be provided, tailored to your needs. Settle for nothing less. -Ask if someone can accompany you to the session. Genuine hypnotherapists will be happy to find a friend or family member with you. -Find out if the session can be recorded. Well meaning hypnotherapists would let you do it to use later at home as a booster. -Ask for referrals and memberships in hypnotherapy associations. -Know if self-hypnosis will be taught. Hypnotherapists who care about your interests will automatically do so to help you become self-sufficient. -Educate yourself about the fee structure, but don’t worry too much about the fee per session. If you can heal in the right number of sessions, a high fee would seem like a bargain!
Don’t worry too much about how long or how many sessions your problem might take though, as there are just too many variables. Also, don’t ask about the success rate, as this is not an indication of your chances of success.
Methods Employed by Hypnotherapists
A hypnotherapist can choose from several techniques for hypnotic induction. The six main categories of induction are:
- A. Eye Fixation or Stare Method: As the name implies, this method requires the subject to look at a spinning disk, or something similar, in order to enter a trance. However, it is not a very successful method since most of the subjects do not respond. b. Progressive relaxation and imaging method: This involves having the subject imagine being in a safe or quiet place, and then awakening them to full consciousness. against Mind Confusion Method: This is designed to confuse the conscious mind so that it simply becomes easier to relax the mind and “let go” into hypnosis. d. Mind Bypass Method: This employs the active use of imagination, along with the response, to hypnotize by responding to suggestions. my. Loss of balance method: This makes use of a gentle rocking to make the subject go into a trance. F. Nervous System Shock Method: This employs a sudden emphatic command given in a surprising manner. The subject experiences a moment of passivity during which you will resist the trance, or come on and quickly fall into hypnosis.
Hypnotherapists may combine two or more methods to achieve the desired results. The combinations of methods can be as limitless as the imagination of those who use them!
What to expect in hypnotherapy
To know how it feels to be under the influence from a hypnotherapist, let’s see how a hypnotherapy session is carried out:
-First, the hypnotherapist will discuss in detail the problems that afflict you to determine the nature of your problem. -Next, he will explain the process to relieve your anxiety and prepare you for hypnosis. – Once this is done, he will guide you through some exercises to determine the degree of physical and emotional suggestibility to measure your threshold to suggestions. -After this, he will put you in a hypnotic state using individualized methods and techniques. -As you begin to fall into the hypnotic trance, your body will relax and your mind will disconnect from daily worries and responsibilities. This will be accompanied by increased muscle relaxation, a feeling of well-being, a higher pain threshold, and a decreased ability to vocalize. -Now, the hypnotherapist will apply his power of suggestion, telling you to focus on the things you would like to change. Then he will proceed to show you the way to achieve those changes. You may have flashbacks of stressful memories and become almost childlike accepting ideas or suggestions about yourself.
So when will you start to notice the changes? It depends on the intensity of your session or the number of times you have to listen to your audiotape, which can last up to a month. You will begin to notice behavioral changes arising spontaneously in your conscious mind almost immediately. Your subconscious mind will help you break out of your old patterns with these signs.
The risks of hypnotherapy
Hypnotherapy is not dangerous and to date no one has been seriously injured (except a few in the pocket region due to unscrupulous hypnotherapists!). Even the American Medical Association Council on Mental Health has approved hypnosis as a safe practice with no harmful side effects. The reason is the great resistance of our subconscious that always has our best interest as its main concern. The only danger is ignorance and misconceptions about this procedure.
Coming to the most feared question, “Can they force me to do things against my will?” The answer is a definit no! Most people develop these false beliefs by witnessing stage hypnosis performed by magicians, which is pure fun and entertainment. Under hypnosis, no one can force you to do anything against your will or contrary to your value system. No one can force you to reveal your deepest secrets without knowing it. People have also been known to tell lies under hypnosis, which is why the court of law will not admit testimony under hypnosis!
Some people fear that hypnosis will weaken their will and make them dependent on the hypnotherapist. Nothing can be further from the truth. Hypnosis is indeed a tool to gain more self-control and can actually help improve focus in life!
What if you don’t wake up? There is not a single case where someone has refused to rise and shine after the session. Hypnosis, as explained above, is similar to falling asleep and getting up, as if you have woken up after a nice long nap.
So, for those who urgently need help and want to try something different, hypnotherapy can be a shot in the arm. It’s fast, it’s safe and it’s effective.