Hypnotherapy has become a popular choice for those trying to quit smoking or struggling with insomnia. However, there’s still a lot of misinformation and skepticism surrounding hypnotherapy – many people still associate it with the type of “hypnosis” commonly seen as a parlour trick on tv (making people quack like a duck, for example). Despite these misconceptions, there is a growing body of evidence to support the use of hypnotherapy for a variety of concerns, so what exactly is hypnotherapy and who can benefit from it?
What is Hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy guides patients into an intense state of relaxation and concentration to bring the patient into a state of hyper awareness/mindfulness (similar to meditation). This part of hypnotherapy is what many think of when they think of the “hypnosis” they see on TV, where the person “goes to sleep” or enters a trance-like state. However, in this trance-like state patients are still in full control (unlike what is suggested by the media).
In this state of intense relaxation and mindfulness, the psychotherapist or practitioner will guide the patient’s attention to the particular concerns or tasks. This relaxed state allows you to explore repressed or painful memories, or become aware of sensations that may be perceived differently during consciousness.
Hypnotherapy typically involves suggestion and/or analysis to achieve the desired patient outcome. The analysis is used more in psychotherapy to explore repressed memories, trauma, and feelings of being “stuck.” Where suggestions are used to help with changes in behavior such as quitting smoking.
What Does It Feel Like?
Hypnosis feels like extreme relaxation – if you are someone who meditates, it will feel similar to how you feel during/immediately after meditation, or that feeling of being slightly groggy/extremely comfortable when first waking up in the morning. You do not lose control or full awareness during hypnotherapy – you will still be aware of what is going on in your surroundings.
“I Can’t Be Hypnotized!”
That’s entirely possible. Hypnotherapy does not work if the participant isn’t willing and open to it. If you are not committed to the therapy it is highly likely that you will not achieve the relaxed state necessary for the work to be done and beneficial.
Okay, but Does it Actually Work?
There is a continuously growing body of evidence to support the effectiveness of hypnotherapy as a treatment for a variety of concerns. So of these include:
- Hypnotherapy has been proven to be 72% effective at symptom control for those with IBS, with results lasting at least 5 years in the majority of those studied.
- Hypnotherapy in addition to CBT has shown to be significantly effective in helping patients lose weight and adjust eating habits.
- Hypnotherapy improves the chances of patients successfully quitting and staying abstinent from smoking for at least 1 year.
Who Can Offer Hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is a regulated profession and should be performed by a licensed hypnotherapist or psychotherapist with training in hypnotherapy. Always ensure that you are seeking hypnotherapy from a licensed and regulated professional such as those at Dynamic Health Therapy if considering hypnotherapy.
What is Hypnotherapy Used For?
Hypnotherapy can be used to address a number of concerns, these include but are not limited to:
- Nail Biting
- Weight Loss
- Smoking Cessation
- IBS and GI Concerns
- Fears and Phobias
- Bed Wetting (in children)
- Night Terrors (in children)
If you have a particular concern that you think may benefit from hypnotherapy, just ask! A hypnotherapist will be able to best assess your concern and determine whether or not hypnotherapy may be right for you.
Are There Risks to Hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is generally safe for most people, however, it is not indicated for those who experience severe psychological symptoms such as hallucinations (visual and auditory), paranoia, etc. It should not be performed on individuals who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol or that regularly use most illicit substances.
It’s important to remember that hypnotherapy is a complementary therapy and should not be considered an “alternative” to other conventional therapies such as medication if not approved by your primary care physician. You should always consult your doctor before participating in complementary therapies such as hypnotherapy.
Hypnotherapy uses a state of intense relaxation to create a state of mindfulness that allows you to be guided through suggestions or analyses to address your main concerns. A lot of misconceptions remain about hypnosis and hypnotherapy, but it is a regulated and safe therapy that can be used in combination with other psychotherapy interventions or on its own. There’s a growing body of evidence to support hypnotherapy as an effective treatment for a variety of common concerns such as IBS and smoking cessation.
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