FAQs About Hypnosis & Hypnotherapy
Common Questions & Answers
What Is Hypnosis & Hypnotherapy?
Hypnosis is not a state of deep sleep but one of altered consciousness. There is a feeling of well-being, an ability to recall past events and the acceptance of new ideas that are not in conflict with personal values. There is also a higher threshold to pain. The hypnotic state is like meditation, where the body is relaxed but the mind has heightened awareness. The ability to vocalise is limited, and the limbs feel leaden or light, tingly or somewhat numb. The perception of time is also distorted where an hour might seem like just a few minutes
Is hypnosis real? If so, how does it work?
Yes, it’s real. Exactly how it works from a scientific perspective is still under investigation though there are literally thousands of well-respected scientific research papers addressing the subject. Over the past few years, researchers have found that when someone is hypnotised they positively respond to suggestions. During hypnosis, it is as if the brain temporarily suspends its efforts to validate incoming sensory information, allowing new behaviours and thoughts to occur.
Is hypnosis medically approved?
Hypnosis was first officially recognised as a viable therapeutic tool by the British Government through the Hypnotism Act in 1952. In 1958 both the British and the American Medical Associations (AMA) sanctioned the official use of hypnosis by physicians. In 1958, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) also approved hypnotherapy for use by professionally responsible individuals.
Prestigious hospitals in the US such as Stanford University School of Medicine in San Francisco, the Beth Israel Medical Center in Boston, and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas now use and teach hypnosis. Since the AMA sanctioned the use of hypnosis, many insurance companies cover hypnosis for medical and dental uses. Now, more and more people are choosing hypnosis over anaesthesia for surgery. Some choose hypnosis simply because they fear not waking up from anaesthesia. The fear-factor aside however, there are definite medical advantages offered by hypnosis; less bleeding, faster recovery time, and the need for fewer post-operative medications.
Does hypnosis really stop pain during surgery?
Patients who have used it say yes. During operations, they report that they can hear and see everything that is going on, but they feel no discomfort.
How is hypnosis thought of today, generally?
Myths still abound regarding hypnosis, although it is becoming more widely accepted and trusted. Hypnosis cannot be used to control someone else's mind or their actions. In fact, in contrast by using hypnosis, people gain greater control over their own minds and their own actions.
What is hypnosis like?
Hypnosis is not a state of deep sleep but one of altered consciousness. There is a feeling of well-being, an ability to recall past events and the acceptance of new ideas that are not in conflict with personal values. There is also a higher threshold to pain. The hypnotic state is like meditation, where the body is relaxed but the mind has heightened awareness. The ability to vocalise is limited, and the limbs feel leaden or light, tingly or somewhat numb. The perception of time is also distorted where an hour might seem like just a few minutes.
Who can be hypnotised?
Most people can be hypnotised, and different people go into hypnosis in different ways. Part of the hypnotist's job is to identify what approach will work best for which subject. Those who have trouble trusting the hypnotist or the process, may take more time to go into a hypnotic state and may not enjoy as many benefits.
There is a common idea that those with 'a strong will’ cannot be hypnotised. It has been shown that intelligent people can be hypnotised faster because they have greater access to their imagination and can follow instructions. The prerequisite to someone being able to be hypnotised is their willingness to allow hypnosis to happen.
What about stage shows?
Sometimes hypnosis is feared, because often the view of the subject surrendering their 'will' is reinforced by stage hypnotism. It is helpful to remember that stage hypnotists design their shows for entertainment purposes, which include participants doing strange things. What people don't realise is that the stage hypnotist chooses only those who are natural extroverts and are highly suggestible. These people typically have a desire to have a "different" or less inhibited experience of themselves. In a hypnotic state, people can give themselves permission to do many things that they may not otherwise be able to do.
In getting more comfortable with the subject of hypnosis, it is often helpful to know what hypnosis is NOT, to know better what it IS, and can do. Solid research findings can help dispel even the most popular of myths.
Points of Interest About Hypnosis:
- Research shows that physiological responses indicate that hypnotised subjects are not lying.
- Hypnotic procedures are natural and safe and no more distressing than history lectures in high school.
- Hypnotised subjects may be relaxed, but they are fully awake; and a person can be in hypnosis while running, or dancing, or driving.
- Many research tests show placebo responsiveness and hypnotisability are not correlated.
- Hypnotised subjects are perfectly capable of saying no, or terminating hypnosis all by themselves. And there is research available to show that as well.
What can hypnosis help with?
Hypnosis helps change attitudes, which is the key to changing behaviour. With hypnosis, a person is empowered and made independent enough to solve his/her own problems. With hypnosis a person can change behaviours that would otherwise seem difficult, if not impossible, to change.
Hypnosis can also improve your essential experience of life, in all its circumstances. Only within the past 40 years have scientists become equipped with instruments, techniques and methods for accurately separating the facts of hypnosis from exaggerated claims. The study of hypnotic phenomena is now properly held within the domain of normal cognitive science, with papers on hypnosis published in many major scientific and medical journals. Newest clinical research findings reveal however, that hypnosis and hypnotic suggestion, when used properly, can powerfully alter cognitive processes as diverse as memory and pain perception.
Hypnosis is not talk therapy and does not include advising, diagnosing or prescribing. That would be the domain of other professionals, usually licensed to counsel. The primary aim of hypnosis itself is self-healing, and self-change. The hypnotist's job is to assist the subject to achieve those natural states of mind where healing and change best happen. Used correctly, hypnosis is especially useful for tapping into that awesome power of the human mind.
If you can think it, and believe it, hypnosis can help make it so.********************************************************************
Hypnosis cannot, and should not, stand alone as the sole medical or psychological
intervention for any disorder. Hypnosis should not be used instead of appropriate medical, dental, or psychological treatment and any individual with a medical or psychological problem should first consult a qualified health care provider for diagnosis and professional advice. Hypnosis should only be practiced by those who have been appropriately trained, who practice appropriately, and within the scope of their training.
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