Hypnosis, likewise referred to as hypnotic suggestion or hypnotherapy, is a trance-like condition where you have heightened concentration and focus. Hypnosis is typically done with the help and guidance of a therapist using mental images and verbal repetition. When you are under hypnosis, you would typically feel relaxed and calm, and you are more open to suggestions.
Hypnosis has become an option for the treatment of various health concerns. Before we get into the potential benefits of using hypnosis, it is important to address some of the concerns that can often come along with hypnosis.
For some, the only exposure to hypnosis has been in a carnival or show type setting where hypnosis was used for entertainment purposes. Individuals who volunteer to participate often end up doing something silly, that they may find embarrassing later.
When we think about using hypnosis as a part of a medical treatment, for example with alcohol addiction, the last thing that a person would want is to worry about being more embarrassed than they may already be.
Addiction treatment often requires that individuals open up and become vulnerable which can be uncomfortable and scary. To feel comfortable doing this, an important focus for a therapeutic relationship is the rapport and trust.
Naturally, you can see where a concern about feeling embarrassed could be more harmful than beneficial.
As discussed above, there are many things that have contributed to the misunderstandings of hypnosis. Its use in media and other entertainment areas portray hypnosis in a way that may not be realistic or truthful. Keep in mind that the purpose of it in those activities is to entertain, not educate.
“There are some people who cannot be hypnotized”
This is a common thought among individuals who struggle to be hypnotized. The truth is that hypnosis is a state of consciousness very much like one we experience daily when we wake up and when we fall asleep.
With that being said, it means that we have the ability to reach that state of consciousness as we do a minimum of twice per day. When you work with a properly trained and certified Hypnotists, they have a variety of strategies that they can use for individuals who struggle. Professionals will work with you, to find the best strategy for you.
“They can make me do things I don’t want to do”
Hypnosis is not a state of unconsciousness, which means that while you are hypnotized you are aware of what is going on around you. Your Hypnotist would act as a guide, and they would follow your lead. This gives the individual who is hypnotized the opportunity to decline suggestions offered.
Again, keep in mind that if you are working with a credentialed and licensed individual. That means that they will act as a professional. Their motive comes from a place of wanting to help you, and not to harm you.
“I won’t be able to wake up”
A common concern would be that if you enter a hypnotic state, you may not be able to come out of. Try to have some peace of mind knowing that there are no known risks, such as staying in a hypnotic state, when you are working with a trained professional Hypnotist.
“Only the weak minded can be hypnotized”
Research has shown that intelligent and creative individuals tend to respond quite well to hypnosis. Being hypnotized does not mean that an individual is weak minded or can be manipulated.
As stated above, the state of hypnosis is one that we all experience daily when we fall asleep and wake up. As such, it is a normal state for all individuals. Not only those who are viewed as “weak”.
“I will become dependent on my Hypnotist”
As mentioned above, when hypnotized, you still have the ability to stay involved in weather or not you want to follow the suggestions offered. As a result, you are the one in control of your time while hypnotized.
If you are in control, then it is not possible to become dependent on your Hypnotist. Keep in mind that a Hypnotist only serves as a facilitator to help and guide you.
“Hypnosis will bring back memories I don’t remember”
It is true that there are some hypnosis can help a person remember things from their past. For some individuals, this can be a helpful strategy to help with whatever is troubling them.
However, it is not necessary or true that engaging in hypnosis will bring back old memories. If you are interested in focusing on that, then your Hypnotist would work with you. But if it is not something that you are interested in, then you can talk about that with your Hypnotist. As previously mentioned, you are an active participant when engaged in hypnosis and are able to reject suggestions that your Hypnotist makes.
“Hypnosis goes against my religion and beliefs”
Some individuals claim that hypnosis is the “devils work”. This statement shows that the individual speaking does not know much about hypnosis and how it works.
Hypnosis is not associated with any religion, and Hypnotist will respect the beliefs of the person participating. The truth is, that many religions view hypnosis as a helpful practice when done with a trained and credentialed professional.
Now that you know a bit more about hypnosis, let’s talk about some of the concerns that hypnosis can be helpful for.
· Hypnosis for pain management- Chronic pain is a growing concern in today’s
society, and tied to the growing opiate epidemic. Treatment options that can help decrease the need for opiates is an attractive option as opiate medications are known and proven to be highly addictive.
Hypnosis for pain management has been shown to help improve the effects of other treatment approaches. Hypnosis has also shown to be helpful in decreasing anxiety symptoms, improve mood, release stress and reduces the need for opiates to manage the pain.
· Hypnosis for fears and phobias- Hypnosis has been found to be quiet helpful for individuals struggling with fears and phobias. This could be a fear of public speaking, fear of heights, fear of doctors and medical professionals or fear of going on a plane.
When using hypnosis to address fears and phobias, individuals have found that they are able to gain confidence, release what is holding them back and gain peace of mind.
It is important to note that there is a difference between a hypnotist and a mental health professionals. Hypnotist’s are not trained to diagnoses and treat clinical diagnoses. However, many work in conjunction with mental health professionals to provide the best possible care.
· Hypnosis for drug and alcohol addiction- Let me be clear by saying that hypnosis is not a cure for drug or alcohol addiction. Addiction is a cunning and tricky disease. Rather, hypnosis should be viewed as an addition tool that a person can use while in recovery.
Hypnosis can help an individual gain insight into past events or underlying concerns that are related to their addiction. While in a hypnotic state, it is possible that the participant can take in suggestions that deter drug and alcohol use which can help make coping with triggers more manageable. Moreover, by helping change the thinking, hypnosis helps individuals change their destructive habits easily with healthy habits. This is an important part of the hypnosis process resulting in long term success to eliminate addictions.
A theme that I hope was obvious throughout this article is the importance of working with a trained and credentialed Hypnotist. When attempting to deal with alcohol use, it is best to find support from a trained and credentialed professional. The reasoning for this is the same as wanting any helping professional to be trained. You want to make sure that you are receiving proper care and treatment to help get the best results.
There are a few different avenues that a person can take to find a hypnotist. One would be a personal referral. If you have someone in your life who has been working with a hypnotist, ask them if they are comfortable sharing a bit about their experience with you. What has helped and any downsides that they have seen.
Another option would be to ask a medical professional, such as your Primary Care Physician or a Mental Health Counselor if you are in therapy. It is possible that they have worked with clients who worked with a hypnotist in the past.
You can do an internet search. Some suggestions would be the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis and/or the General Hypnotherapy Register. Be mindful of the credentials listed on the sites. Many hypnotists have their own personal website which could also offer reviews from previous clients.
Another option would be to call your insurance company to see if they know of any Hypnotists that are in network. Your insurance company likely requires a certain level of education and experience for a person to be in network.
Lastly, some hypnotists offer teletherapy which would allow you to work with a Hypnotist that is not local. This can be a beneficial option for individuals who live in a remote area.
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