Clinical hypnotherapy is a genuine psychological phenomenon that has valid uses in clinical practice. Simply put, hypnosis is a state of highly focused attention or concentration, often associated with relaxation, and heightened suggestibility. Hypnosis is the original mind/body medicine. (There is proof, from NIH clinical trials, that patients hypnotized before surgery have an easier time and their surgeons complete their operations quicker!)
Since hypnotherapy is an adjunct form of therapy, used along with other forms of psychological or medical treatment, there are many applications. Many leading medical figures since the 18th century (including Austrian physician Franz Mesmer, for whom the verb “mesmerize” was coined) experimented with putting patients into trance states for healing purposes.
Hypnotherapy can be used to treat anxiety, phobias, substance abuse including tobacco, sexual dysfunction, undesirably spontaneous behaviours, and bad habits. It can be used to help improve sleep, learning disorders, communication, and relationship issues. Hypnotherapy can aid in pain management and help resolve medical conditions such as digestive disorders, skin issues, and gastrointestinal side effects of pregnancy and chemotherapy. It can also be used by dentists to help patients control their fears or to treat teeth grinding and other oral conditions. When you are hypnotized you are very suggestible. If you and the hypnotherapist decide, ahead of time, what suggestions to say to you while you are in that altered state, you will accomplish your goal.
- You are born with a talent for hypnosis and you’ll never know how talented you might be until you try it.
- Everyone can be hypnotized, to some extent or another.
- Hypnosis aids in the cessation of cigarette addiction.
- Hypnosis can help you change your attitude. You may learn to love broccoli and hate chocolate.
- Hypnosis can help you achieve peak performance–on a ball field or on stage or in the bedroom.
- Most women who’ve been hypnotized before childbirth actually enjoy the experience.
- Millions of people don’t get regular dental care because they are fearful; there is evidence that hypnotherapy assists in reducing this fear.
- Children are naturals at hypnosis. Hypnotherapy can easily help them do better at school, cooperate at home, play a better game of soccer, and manage having needles at the pediatricians office.
- Children learn to self-regulate via hypnosis—delay gratification, use self-control, manage their responses to challenges. The goal for many kids is “skills not pills”. Problems are reframed as interesting situations that are possible to solve, emotions are reframed as interesting feelings that are possible to manage.
More recent research using modern brain imaging techniques show that the connections in the brain are different during hypnosis. In particular, those areas of the brain involved in making decisions and monitoring the environment show strong connections. Among the leading researchers in the field is Guy H. Montgomery, PhD, a psychologist who has conducted extensive research on hypnosis and pain management at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, where he is director of the Integrative Behavioral Medicine Program.
Katie Duchscherer, a psychology major at Stanford University, says, “If you’ve ever really gotten into reading a book or watching a television show and the rest of the world around you has sort-of gone away. Hypnosis is very similar to that.”
Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) explores the relationships between how we think (neuro), how we communicate (linguistic) and our patterns of behavior and emotion (programs). They were trying to understand why some people handle pressure situations with ease and others do not. Researchers looked closely at the work of three well-known psychotherapists: Fritz Perls, the founder of Gestalt therapy (which emphasizes self-awareness of one’s feelings); family systems therapist Virginia Satir; and hypnotherapist Milton Erickson.
NLP is an incredibly powerful discipline that enables people to unblock the structures of human communication and human excellence. By doing so people can think, communicate and manage themselves, and others, more effectively. These techniques are part of neuro-linguistic programming, which was developed in the mid-1970s by psychologist and linguist John Grinder and psychology graduate student Richard Bandler, both then at the University of California at Santa Cruz. NLP is like the “user’s manual” for the mind, and allows us to use the language of the mind to consistently achieve our specific and desired outcomes.