What Is Hypnotherapy? - Information On How Hypnotherapy Can Help You
Updated: Oct 28
Hypnotherapy is a powerful and effective method of solving a wide variety of physical, mental and emotional problems. To understand fully how it can benefit you, we'll look at:
What hypnotherapy is
When you'd want to use it
Why you'd want to use it
How it works
Who to use it with
So that by the end of this article you'll know all you need to use hypnotherapy effectively in your life.
What is hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is a process in which a hypnotherapist helps a client to solve problems using hypnosis. These problems could be emotional - such as the fear of heights, behavioural - such as smoking or overeating, or physical - such as chronic pain or tension.
A hypnotherapist is a person trained in hypnotherapy. The requirements to qualify as a hypnotherapist vary widely depending on where you live. You can find out more about the rules governing hypnotherapists where you live from the organisations listed at the end of this article.
The job of the hypnotherapist is to help the client solve a specific problem by hypnotising them. This may happen just once, or the hypnotherapist and client may work together several times over a longer period. This process will give the client more control of their thoughts and feelings. As a result it will help them to change their behaviour and solve the problem.
Hypnosis is a natural process by which a hypnotherapist can place a client in a particular state of consciousness called trance. In this state, the client is more open to suggestion and can more easily change how they think, feel and behave. Trance is generally experienced as a pleasant, relaxed state much like the moments directly before sleep.
Hypnotherapy is separate from stage hypnosis. Stage hypnosis uses hypnosis for entertainment. The stage hypnotist creates a show in which the power of hypnosis is used to encourage the participants to behave in bizarre, amazing and entertaining ways. Since one of the cornerstones of therapy is trust between the client and hypnotherapist, a reputable hypnotherapist will only engage the client in activities which are comfortable, appropriate and helpful.
When is hypnotherapy useful?
Hypnotherapy is useful when you have a specific personal problem you want to solve. The sort of problems that hypnotherapy can be applied to include:
Hypnotherapy can help with chronic pain and muscular tension. It is effective both for relaxing the body and altering the way the brain perceives pain to reduce its intensity.
These can include fear and anxiety; e.g. phobias, panic attacks, exam nerves etc., grief, anger, guilt, shame, low self-esteem and many more.
These can include smoking, overeating, drinking too much and various other kinds of addictive behaviour. It is also possible to help with insomnia and disturbed sleep.
In general, hypnotherapy provides a useful complement to other kinds of medical care. You should check carefully as to whether your hypnotherapist is medically qualified and only take medical advice from qualified professionals. Almost anyone with normal brain functions and no serious mental illnesses can be safely hypnotised. However, your chances of being hypnotised will vary depending on the hypnotherapist you work with. An experienced, professional hypnotherapist with whom you feel secure and supported is most likely to succeed.
Why would I want to use hypnotherapy?
First of all, hypnotherapy is quick and effective. It often helps people to make changes in their lives that they had previously been unable to accomplish, such as stopping smoking or flying in an aeroplane. Second, hypnotherapy can work where other things may have failed. Although there are a wide range of drugs and therapies that can help, none of them is effective in every case. Since hypnotherapy is different to any of these treatments, it is worth considering when other have failed. Third, hypnotherapy is safe and there are no physical side effects. In the hands of an experienced, compassionate and ethical hypnotherapist, hypnotherapy is a very safe form of treatment with few or no risks.
How does hypnotherapy work?
Hypnotherapy works through the use of hypnosis. This is the process by which the hypnotherapist helps the client attain a particular state of consciousness called trance. All of us experience altered states of consciousness such as sleeping or daydreaming every day. The trance state is different in that it has special properties.
In an ordinary state, people are limited in their ability to respond to suggestions. They may find it hard to control their thoughts, feelings and behaviour. In particular, it is difficult for them to control their unconscious mind - that part of the mind that controls automatic activity such as emotions and habits. For example, when you got dressed today, you didn't have to think about how to do it. You simply performed the task on a kind of autopilot using your unconscious mind. Sometimes that autopilot is very helpful, as when it drives you safely along the road. Sometimes it is unhelpful, as when you experience thoughts, feelings or behaviours you don't like but can't seem to stop.
In trance, a client's unconscious mind is open to the influence of the hypnotherapist and can thus be reprogrammed in the way the client desires. Naturally, this makes solving problems easy and rapid.
Who should I use hypnotherapy with?
The best approach is to contact an official organisation in the country in which you live. In the United Kingdom, you can use the General Hypnotherapy Register (www.general-hypnotherapy-register.com) In the USA, you can use the National Guild of Hypnotists (www.ngh.net). These organisations can put you in touch with their members in your area. You will also find others in the phonebook and on the Internet. In these cases, check with the hypnotherapist concerned regarding their qualifications and membership of professional bodies. Once you have some contact details, approach each hypnotherapist on the list.
Many will offer some kind of free initial consultation. Firstly, use your judgement to decide if the hypnotherapist is right for you. Do you feel comfortable with them? Do you think they are the sort of person you would want to trust in helping you with personal problems? Then, ask if they can supply any testimonials and whether they have worked with your sort of problem before. Apply all the rigour and careful thought you would use if hiring a lawyer, doctor or any other sort of professional.
In summary, hypnotherapy is a very useful process for solving physical, emotional and behavioural problems. It is a safe, effective and often rapid method of improving your life. In the hands of a competent and ethical hypnotherapist, and alongside any necessary professional medical care, it can provide great benefits. For further information, contact the organisations listed above or visit the author's website.
Phil Mattingly LHA E.Hyp is a professional hypnotherapist with a busy private practice in Bath, England. For more information, please visit http://www.philmattingly.com.