Hypnosis can help you resolve the negative thoughts, feelings, habits and behavior patterns that interfere with your quality of life. At the same time, it can help you learn positive psychological skils that aid vital engagement in daily life.
Hypnosis helps you access the negative associations, habits of mind and behavior, and relational patterns that develop over time across different life experiences. These negative associations can be triggered without conscious awareness as you go through the day, leading anxiety, inner conflict, and problemmatic habits, behavior patterns and repetitive patterns of interaction with others.
Hypnotherapy as a Powerful Resource
Hypnotherapy offers powerful means to develop mindfulness and to resolve negative emotional triggers and associations that can trip you up even when your best intention is to be calm, clear-headed, loving and joyful and making healthy choices.
Using the powerful resources of your own mind, you can learn to resolve difficulties, develop emotional coping skills and intelligence, reach your goals, integrate healthy life style actions and practices and improve relationships.
At the same time you can learn to cultivate positive emotions and habits of mind at will, envision the successful behavior and relationships you want to develop and set goals and rehearse action steps, enhance performance, and develop self confidence.
Hypnosis as a Self-Help Tool
Hypnosis is a skill you learn to help you master other skills. It is not the treatment approach itself. The therapist implements the evidence-based treatment protocols within hypnosis.
Hypnosis tends to be beneficial when the client is highly motivated for change and wants to learn a new skill to aid relaxation, coping, decision-making and behavior change. Like all other treatment strategies, it may be helpful for some and not benefit others. When it is successful, hypnosis often improves the pace of therapy.
So What, Exactly, Is Hypnosis?
Hypnosis is an inner state of focused and concentrated attention that allows for absorption in vivid sensory imagery. During hypnosis the therapist helps the client enter a deep state of relaxation, allowing the body to relax and thoughts to become more focused, with inner sensory experience heightened while awareness of general surroundings fades. Normal daily hypnotic experiences include becoming fully absorbed in a book or movie, highway hypnosis, and staring at a point in space while absorbed in inner experience.
In hypnosis the client retains free will and will not engage in behavior against her will. Just like other forms of relaxation, hypnosis lowers blood pressure and heart rate and activates certain types of brain wave activity. In hypnosis the client feels both physically relaxed and mentally alert, and may become receptive to suggestions for the desired change.
Are There Any Proven Benefits of Hypnosis?
Yes. Hypnosis has been used by psychiatrists, psychologists, physicians, dentists and others for decades. Researchers have demonstrated the benefits of a range of treatment protocols utilizing hypnosis, including those listed below:
Medical Hypnosis: Hypnotic communication and suggestions effectively change aspects of the person's physiological and neurological functions
- Gastrointestinal Disorders: Ulcers, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Colitis, Crohn’s Disease, Indigestion
- Dermatologic Disorders: Eczema, Herpes, Neurodermatitis, Itching, Psoriasis, Warts
- Neurologic Disorders: headaches and migraines, pseudo seizures, tinnitus
- Acute and Chronic Pain: back pain, fibromyalgia, cancer pain, dental anesthesia, headaches and migraines, arthritis, temporomandibular disorders
- Burns: Hypnosis is not only effective for the pain, but when hypnotic anesthesia and feelings of coolness are created in the first few hours after a significant burn, it appears that it also reduces inflammation and promotes healing
- Surgery: improve recovery time and decrease pain and anxiety following surgery
- Nausea and Vomiting associated with chemotherapy and pregnancy (hyperemesis gravidarum);
- Childbirth: to aid in pain regulation
- Hemophilia: Hemophilia patients can often be taught to use self-hypnosis to control vascular flow and keep from requiring a blood transfusion
- Allergies, asthma
- Improve immune system function
- Decrease stress and fight/flight response
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Raynaud’s disease
- Menopausal symptoms: hot flashes, irritability, anxiety, heart palpitations
- Anxiety & Phobias that interfere with medical treatment: pill swallowing, injections and blood draws, dental procedures, painful procedures (e.g., spinal tap)
- Weight loss, compulsive over-eating
- Habit Disorders: skin picking, nail biting, tongue thrust, throat clearing, TMJ, bruxism, clenching, emotional eating, compulsive eating
- Sexual pain disorders and dysfunction
Hypnosis in Psychotherapy and for Behavior Change:
- Life meaning, purpose, establishing life in balance
- Identify and achieve the goals and outcomes you want for yourself
- Secure attachment-focused parenting and primary relationships
- Fertility, pregnancy, childbirth, post-partum concerns & first time parenting
- Healthy sexuality, sexual dysfunction, balancing love and the responsibilities of life
- Healthy lifestyle changes: increased daily motivation, energy, performance & consistency with healthy eating, exercise, & relaxation practices
- Academic performance, test anxiety, writer's block, procrastination, improved concentration & comprehension
- Career planning and goal setting, work performance, strategies for conflict resolution, building and sustaining confidence
- Planning & organizing projects/tasks /thinking, enhancing memory & executive function
- Development of a positive self concept: building self efficacy ("I have what it takes to do the job"), self agency ("I can put it into action"), self confidence ("I am successful when I do") & self worth ("I am deserving of the the benefits of life and relationships")
- Performance enhancement, public speaking, stage fright
- Decision making, removing psychological blockages & resolving inner conflict
- Anxiety & stress management, negativity, anger, fears, phobias, PTSD
- Depression, negative self concept, difficulty with motivation & vital engagement in life activities
- Loss, grief, ending relationships, divorce, traumatic grief
- Ending unwanted habits: smoking cessation, emotional and compulsive eating, picking behaviors,
- Weight loss & management
How Do I Find a Qualified Hypnotherapist?
It is important to locate a licensed and specially trained professional to ensure quality of care. Check the directories of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (www.asch.net) or the Society for Clinical & Experimental Hypnosis (www.sceh.us). These organizations certify independently licensed mental health and medical professionals who completed specific coursework and hours of specialized supervision.