Hypnotherapy has been around for millenniums and dates back to the Greeks. The word ‘hypnotherapy’ derives from the Greek word ‘hypno’ which translates to sleep or instances where one is placed intentionally into an altered state. Credit is given to numerous people for coining the term and practice of hypnotherapy and most notable is James Braid dating back to 1840.
Much of Braid’s research is directly based on what he learned about the Greeks and other cultures, and much of his research and published materials and records have been proven to be incorrect as Science continues to learn more about this subject.
So what exactly is hypnotherapy? In essence, hypnotherapy is the clinical or new age practice of altering the state of one’s being. Hypnotherapy is widely practiced in the psychology field where emotional distress, mental disorders and a mirage of bad habits need to be addressed by the overall public.
What sets hypnosis apart from other forms of therapy is that first, the research remains ongoing and much of what we know and understand about this topic is still unclear, as is how it works. Though a lot of success has been attributed to hypnotherapy, many that utilize still aren’t sure exactly why it is so successful
Hypnosis and hypnotherapy works with people’s subconscious and this is also why it may be so successful. As mental illnesses and unwanted behaviors often lie within our sub or unconscious, the practice of hypnotherapy goes right to the source of the issues so to speak.
Hypnosis often involves first placing the person or ‘client’ in an ultra relaxed state as it is thought that within such states our minds are easily accessed and we are more accepting of suggestions and direction. Many hypnotists also use the power of the individual client’s imagination to work through issues and unwanted behaviors and this seems to be successful as well, as the clinician can use specific memories, metaphors and role playing that will speak directly to the client and therefore they will be more receptive to the session overall.
Because hypnosis isn’t as rudimentary as say medications are, where when the person takes a pill it automatically shifts or alters their behavior regardless of whether they want it to or not, with hypnosis the person seeking help truly has to be in a mental place where they want to change their habits, behaviors or mannerisms. The power of suggestion can only be as successful as the person receiving the treatment wants it to be.
Unlike other traditional methods of psychological practice and therapies, hypnosis is a short term therapy and often times is used in conjunction with other forms of therapy such as talk therapy or shock therapies.
The general practice of hypnotherapy or hypnosis lies within the thought process that throughout our lives we experience events and circumstances. When this happens we either consciously or unconsciously apply emotions, both good and bad, to each instance. By using hypnosis to go back in time to recall and address instances or memories that are not pleasurable, we can then reportedly shift or alter the feelings we have attached to those memories and begin to think differently and hopefully more positively about them.
During a session of hypnosis the professional will use a series of techniques to help you relax which will hopefully allow you to expand your mind and make you more accepting to that is said and suggested throughout the session.
Some of these techniques include relaxed breathing exercises, playing soft instrumental music in the background and in many cases the clinician or professional will ask the person to focus on something such as the clinician’s voice or a repetitive object that is moving. Moving objects will engage the eyes and brain and after a period of time places us in a relaxed, almost sleepy state much like we experience in the initial stages of REM when we attempt to sleep.
During this time, your focus is clearer, your heart rate and blood pressure will likely slow and although you feel a sense of tiredness or acute relaxation, you are still awake, conscious and completely aware of what is going on around you. But because you are so attune and focused, revisiting old memories and addressing those feelings attached to them is easier.
Most people that use, practice or conduct hypnosis will do so in stages which include initial relaxation techniques followed by framing and reframing memories and issues. Further treatments will include teaching you how to let go of old feelings associated with those memories and then taking the suggestions that the hypnotherapist gives in an attempt to reestablish new thoughts and patterns that should ultimately change your behaviors overall.
Most hypnosis treatments contain anywhere from four to ten sessions in entirety but it varies with each individual and each session is an hour long. Hypnosis has been used to treat things such as depression, mania, anxiety, addiction and smoking cessation as well as many more ailments and behaviors.