Welcome to the world of healing and wellness. Today I will be demystifying the world of Psychotherapy, starting with the one that’s assumed to be the most mystical, Hypnotherapy. Though the word, Hypnosis conjures up bizarre images of stage acts, magic and mind control, Hypnotherapy in reality is a type of complementary or alternative therapy, meant for healing.
What is Hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is a practice where hypnosis is used for therapeutic purposes. In other words, hypnosis is the tool that a trained Psychotherapist uses to achieve the healing needed in his or her client. Contrary to belief, and contrary to popular media depictions, no swinging pendulum or scary mind control is involved. Instead, in a hypnotherapy session, clients are conscious, awake, and they remember the session.
Psychology would define Hypnotherapy as a guided hypnosis, or a state of focused awareness. This trance state is characterised by the following:
* A deep state of relaxation
* Hyperfocus and concentration
* Increased suggestibility
Interestingly, trance state is not uncommon in our daily life. Most of us go in and out of trance state quite regularly, for example, when we concentrate on a task and are in a flow, or when we zone out in a boring seminar or when we forget everything else and concentrate on an interesting movie. Get the picture? That’s trance state and that’s how hypnosis in a Hynotherapy session feels like.
What can Hypnotherapy help with?
Hypnotherapy is used for healing, for discovery, or for stress relief. Trained Hypnotherapists help their clients to overcome fear, stress, phobia and anxiety. Hypnotherapy can also help in quitting smoking, in relieving chronic and acute pain, depression, Irritatble Bowel Syndrome, and dermatological conditions. Hypnotherapy helps to increase confidence, self esteem and can assist in improving relationships.
Hypnotherapy has been known to very effective for the following:
* Personal Development, confidence and poor ego states
* Habits and behavioral problems
* Depression, anxiety & stress
* Acute pain, and pain with psychological origin
* Bulimia & anorexia
(Please note that Hypnotherapy is less effective for those with Psychotic illnesses, personality disorders and epileptics).
What exactly happens at a Hypnotherapy session?
In a Hypnotherapy session, you will be in a calming space where you can talk without inhibition and without being judged. It’s a relaxing yet a structured session, where you will be seated comfortably and will focus on your inner mind.
Your Therapist, will first talk to you in order to get to know you and will discuss the short and long term objectives of the session, and then he/ she will use verbal repetitions and/or guided imagery to induce a relaxed state where your focus will be directed inwards.
You will have awareness of this session. You will not do anything that you don’t want to do or are not comfortable with. In this calm state, you will have access to the part of your mind that is not easily accessible to you otherwise. You will have access to memories that you may have buried long ago or even recently. This part of the mind has tremendous power to unlock problems that you maybe facing currently. The answers will come to you from your own mind. The therapist will just be the facilitator and will help you access these answers in the form of thoughts, memories and emotions.
Think of it as a computer with many stored folders. These folders have information that you need for the presentation that you are currently working on, however you don’t have access to them. Hynotherapy will help you access the information, so that, you can ace your presentation. As soon as the information comes to the conscious mind, many of your presenting problems will disappear. What about those that don’t disappear? Your hypnotherapist will work with you to overcome those in the following sessions, and this will be based on the road map that your subconscious has provided. Your hypnotherapist will use Analytical Therapy (analysing the answers revealed by your subconscious) and/or Suggestion Therapy (positive suggestions and affirmations) to help you.
Why Hypnotherapy works?
The science of Hypnotism contains both Analysis and Suggestion, which if applied correctly has the potential to break problems in to components for analysis, and can then put individual back together again with a synthesis.
Iceberg theory states that only the tip of our mind is accessible to us.
Hypnotherapy achieves an altered state or a relaxed state that allows focused awareness. In this state of disassociation from the outside world, a person can connect to the internal working of the mind. Thus Hypnotherapy provides instant access to the subconscious mind, and reaches to the source of many issues and concerns that the traditional methods may miss out on.
According to the founding father of Psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud,
the unconscious mind is the primary source of human behaviour and it is the most important part of the mind. Unfortunately, it is also the part of the mind that we cannot see or have access to (like an iceberg).
But why do we need access to this part?
We need access to this part because our feelings, motives and decisions are influenced by our past experiences, and these experiences are stored in the unconscious. It contains thoughts and feelings that a person may currently be not aware of. However, these thoughts exist just below the level of consciousness and can be brought to consciousness easily.
Our behaviour is often the result of memories of incidents that we can’t recall and since we don’t have conscious awareness of these, we are left baffled when we feel an emotion that we can’t explain the cause of, or when we keep repeating a life pattern, or behave in a certain way with certain people or get unnecesarily stressed in one particular situation.
Take the example of a man who feels overly agitated in certain situations without understanding why. He can’t remember a single negative incident linked to these situations. However, during a Hypnotherapy session, his subconscious reminds him of a traumatic bullying incident that had happened in his childhood. His conscious mind had effectively blocked this episode and his defense mechanism came up with many secondary reactions that prevented him from leading a productive life. The awareness of this incident can help him to overcome his anxiety and agitation in his current life.
Hypnotherapy & other modalities
Once Hypnotherapy has access to a source of memory that caused a certain issue to arise, it can work and compliment other modalities of therapy to achieve healing. Once healing is achieved, an individual can flourish and lead a fulfilling life.