A brief description of hypnotherapy
Hypnotherapy can be variously described as “a talking therapy” or as a form of Psychotherapy or, alternatively, as a “psychological intervention.” Each of these terms are accurate and are widely used. However, regardless of which description one uses what is much more important is an understanding of what hypnotherapy does to help people deal with a range of personal problems and issues.
At it's core, hypnotherapy is a therapeutic technique which uses the hypnotic state to:
In broad terms, this is achieved by the therapist helping the client to enter a hypnotic state, often by means of progressive relaxation. The therapist induces this state by using the voice, with different suggestions, to gently lead the client into relaxation.
As for the hypnotic state, that is simply an “altered level of awareness” which most people experience daily as pleasantly relaxing, similar to daydreaming.
The conscious mind then becomes calmer and less active, allowing the subconscious part of the mind to take precedence. This is the part of the mind which contains all the resources necessary to make beneficial and effective changes in thoughts, beliefs and behaviours which are no longer helpful or relevant. This is achieved by means of suggestion and negotiation presented to the client in hypnosis.
The subconscious mind, which tends to accept suggestion much more readily than the conscious mind, will then incorporate the positive suggestions into the client's belief system, allowing them to make the desired behavioural changes.
Hypnosis is however emphatically not mind control) and the subconscious mind will not accept any suggestions which conflict with the client's moral code or which they would not accept in their normal waking state.
Clients usually come out of hypnosis feeling very calm and relaxed, as if they have woken from a deep refreshing sleep.
Some problems may be dealt with in one session only (such as smoking cessation or weight) while others may require a course of treatment. The method and duration of treatment is usually agreed in the initial consultation.
Hypnosis is also sometimes called a state of “heightened suggestibility” which is a reasonable description, but only part of the story. What is known is that hypnosis is an entirely natural and usually beneficial state, permitting greater access to the unconscious part of the brain.