Hypnotherapy attempts to address an individual's subconscious mind, using the power of suggestion for beneficial change. A hypnotherapist uses hypnosis to give relevant, positive beneficial suggestions to help an individual bring about the change they desire. Although hypnotherapy is not the same as sleep (the individual will still have awareness and control), hypnotherapists often require the individual to be in a deeply relaxed state to enable them to use their imagination fully. For this reason, it’s imperative that the individual feels completely comfortable with their hypnotherapist. Hypnosis is a different state of consciousness from being awake or asleep, and many people compare the deep, relaxed state of hypnosis to daydreaming.
Altered states of awareness have been recognized for thousands of years and hypnosis is widely accepted as a beneficial psychological therapy to access our inner potential. Techniques can be used to reveal issues from an individual’s past that may be causing them distress, or the approach can be focused more on their present problems. Hypnotherapy can generally help with most emotional problems an individual is finding hard to cope with, and some physical problems can also be effectively treated with hypnosis too, such as IBS and insomnia. However, it’s important for an individual to consult their GP before approaching a hypnotherapist if they suffer from clinical depression, epilepsy or schizophrenia.
Practitioners say that hypnosis creates a state of deep relaxation, quiets the conscious mind, and leaves the unconscious mind open to suggestions that can help to improve health and lifestyle. People who are hypnotized have selective attention and are able to concentrate intensely on a specific thought, memory, feeling, or sensation while blocking out distractions.
Hypnosis is commonly used to reduce stress and anxiety and create a sense of well-being. It is also promoted to change undesirable behaviors, such as smoking, alcohol dependence, and bedwetting. It is used along with other methods by some mental health professionals to help patients overcome common fears, such as the fear of flying or of meeting new people. Hypnosis is sometimes used to help relieve pain caused by cancer. Supporters generally do not claim that hypnosis can cure cancer or any other disease or that it always attains the desired results. However, they say that it can be a useful addition to conventional therapy for some conditions.
Hypnosis is occasionally used instead of anesthetic drugs during minor surgical and dental procedures and during childbirth. Some supporters also believe hypnosis speeds recovery after operations, reduces the amount of surgical bleeding, and enhances the body’s immune system.
Hypnotherapists will often combine hypnosis with other psychotherapy and counseling techniques to benefit individuals. The techniques used will depend on the issue the individual is seeking help for.