Hypnosis - Hypnotherapy
Hypnosis is not a therapy in itself. Rather, a therapy is conducted in hypnosis, which is known as hypnotherapy. Hypnosis is a state of relaxation and concentration at one with the state of heightened awareness induced by suggestion. It is a natural trance state, like daydreaming, when the mind is relaxed and focused, where time passes very quickly, accompanied by good feelings of deep relaxation of mind and body.
Hypnotherapy is a treatment that is based on the premise that the mind and body do not work in isolation. By sending the patient into a hypnotic state, the therapist aims to trigger the body's mental and physical self-healing processes that lie in the subconscious.
Anybody can be sent into a hypnotic state; it is not a sign of gullibility or suggestibility on the part of the patient. Hypnosis induces a state of relaxation and concentration that practitioners claim is a natural manifestation of the mind at work. When undergoing hypnotherapy, patients are conscious and aware, but are open to the power of suggestion. They cannot be induced to do anything against their will.
How does hypnotherapy work?
Scientists are not really sure how it works. The autonomic nervous system controls all the automatic functions of the body while we are asleep and it has been proven that words and suggestion can affect the central nervous system while we are awake. Distracting the conscious mind causes a dissociation of the conscious and unconscious mind and is the first step in inducing hypnosis. There are many differing techniques a hypnotherapist can use to put a client into hypnosis.
By talking to their clients in a soothing voice and getting them to visualise relaxing and monotonous situations, practitioners are able to send their clients into a state of very deep relaxation where they will still be aware of their surroundings but are very much more sensitive to suggestion. Once the patient has closed their eyes, the hypnotherapist deepens the trance by suggesting to the conscious mind to daydream or relax. While the conscious mind is inactive the subject is likely to respond to all suggestions literally. Positive suggestions are then introduced and absorbed by the conscious mind.
When in this state, the patient's subconscious can be 'reprogrammed' to deal with certain feelings in a different way and as such, hypnotherapy is not only very effective in the treatment of phobias, addictions, but it can also reduce stress and alleviate pain.