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What is Hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is the process of using hypnosis to interact with the subconscious mind to create positive change in your life. It empowers people to change and update subconscious beliefs. Through hypnosis, we can reframe and update old beliefs (for example - that changing careers will be difficult and painful) and replace them with new, more helpful expectations.
What is Hypnosis?
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 ~ probably more! 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.
Think about when you are watching a movie on the big screen and you just “let go”. You feel the emotions. Your heart starts pounding with fear or you tear up at a heartbreak. But there’s always a part of your brain that knows you are still in control. If you have to go to the restroom or fill up that popcorn bucket you will have no problem switching back to reality. If someone yells “fire” you will be heading to the nearest exit without hesitation.
There are many other times that people enter a natural state of trance. Driving, 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.
What Does Being Hypnotized Feel Like?
This differs with every client. Some people “go out”. Some people are just relaxed and receptive to change.
Clients sometime 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 is true, in fact: hypnosis is a state of very heightened awareness and focus.
Hollywood has perpetrated many myths about hypnosis. Yes, there are stage hypnotists ~ and if you get a chance to see a good one I sure recommend it! But entertainment is not the purpose of hypnotherapy.
What can't be treated with hypnotherapy?
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, refer to a qualified hypnotherapist 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.
Will I bark like a dog or cluck like a chicken?
Let me guess: you've seen a stage show where a hypnotist made people do all these crazy things. Or, perhaps you have ideas from Hollywood's movies and TV. Hollywood has perpetrated many myths about hypnosis! Yes, there are stage hypnotists ~ and if you get a chance to see a good one, I sure recommend it! But entertainment is not the purpose of hypnotherapy.
A stage hypnotist will carefully select his subjects and he chooses people he knows WILL bark like a dog. And they will do it because, deep down inside, they think it would be funny to bark like a dog and they want to entertain people.
Hypnosis cannot make you do something that is against your morals or ethics. All hypnosis is self-hypnosis, in truth, and no hypnotist can make you do something that you really don't want to do. That's why some people can be hypnotized to stop smoking and yet they still smoke. You have to want the change, agree with the change, and then hypnosis is an instrument for helping make that change better, faster, and permanent.
Will I lose control?
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. Remember the movie theatre example?
My friend tried hypnosis to quit smoking and it didn't work. Why?
There is more to changing a serious habit like smoking than just a few hypnotic suggestions, I'm afraid. In the simplest terms, the person must want the change, and they must have a replacement for smoking. Hypnosis can be used to find a healthy, effective replacement, and then it can be used to help flip the subconscious over to the new, healthy habits.
How is hypnotherapy different than affirmations?
Hypnotherapy has the advantage of being able to communicate with the subconscious in a two-way fashion. Affirmations don't facilitate direct responses from the subconscious; they only seek to speak to the subconscious.
A post-hypnotic suggestion is also different than an affirmation: effects tend to be more direct, more specific, and more immediate when using post-hypnotic suggestions.
Other than that, the language of hypnosis and of affirmations is similar. Both are always expressed in the present tense, and always in the positive.
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.