Hypnosis is one of the most misunderstood and perhaps controversial methods of psychological therapies, yet it has been used for over 100 years to help people with a wide variety of issues from low self-esteem and depression to fertility and childbirth.
Hypnotherapy is nothing like the performances you see in stage shows, where people are barking like dogs or clucking like chickens. There are no swinging pocket watches, no purple capes and no mind control.
Hypnotherapy is a form of therapy used to readjust the subconscious mind. When in hypnosis, you put your mind and body into a heightened state of learning, making your mind more open to positive suggestion for self-improvement or behaviour modification. The goal is to rebalance the subconscious and conscious mind allowing them to work together in harmony, which in turn helps give you greater control over your behaviour, emotions and physical wellbeing.
Contrary to popular belief, hypnosis is not a state of deep sleep. It involves the induction of an induced state of deep relaxation. In hypnosis, you are acutely aware, concentrated and focused and it is in this state that the conscious mind can relax and stay calm and become more responsive to positive suggestions, ideas, concepts and lifestyle changes.
Let’s dispel a few more myths:
You cannot get stuck in hypnosis – this is quite impossible.
You do not become in any way unconscious or semi-conscious.
You cannot, at any time, be made to do things you do not want to do.
You are aware of yourself and your surroundings at all times.
You do not go to sleep.
You are not in anyone’s power, and nobody can take control of you.
You can leave the hypnotic state whenever you want.
You cannot lose your mind.
Hypnosis cannot permanently remove memories or thoughts from your mind.
You will not suddenly blurt out your ‘dark’ secrets.
Hypnosis cannot bestow psychic abilities or supernatural powers.
Hypnosis cannot make you act against, or abandon, your moral
You do not say or do ‘funny things’ unless you want to.
Hypnosis is a truly natural state of mind and body and is therefore perfectly safe.
Does it work for everyone?
Hypnosis is a willing state and so if you would like to have hypnotherapy, you are a good candidate for it. It is quite impossible to hypnotise someone against their will, it simply wouldn’t work. For that reason, if you are extremely sceptical of its efficacy, or if you are frightened of it, it may not work for you.
However, the evidence speaks for itself.
In clinical studies hypnosis has been shown to aid weight loss, effectively reduce physical pain, post-surgical pain or pain related to other medical procedures. When it comes to labour and delivery-related pain, hypnosis can in many cases significantly add to the benefits of standard medical care including epidurals and drugs. Hypnosis is helpful for smoking cessation, in treating stress, anxiety and PTSD, and can even alter a person’s immune function in ways that offset stress and reduce susceptibility to viral infections.