It's quite amusing how movies portray hypnosis as a control tactic, for instance, to influence individuals to commit crimes or to fall in love. Unfortunately, hypnotists are commonly regarded as eccentric magicians who put viewers on stage and make them neigh at the mention of "horses."
The way hypnosis is depicted in the media may give the impression that it is only used for entertainment, yet hypnosis has way better and more essential uses beyond amusement.
Official definition of terms
An article in Psychology Today (What Hypnosis Really Can Do for You) says that a group of experts was assembled by the American Psychological Association (APA) in 2014 to develop a concise definition of hypnosis. And they ultimately provided four related descriptions:
- Hypnosis. “A state of consciousness involving focused attention and reduced peripheral awareness characterized by an enhanced capacity for response to suggestion.”
- Hypnotherapy: “The use of hypnosis in the treatment of a medical or psychological disorder or concern.”
- Hypnotizability. “An individual’s ability to experience suggested alterations in physiology, sensations, emotions, thoughts, or behavior during hypnosis.”
- Hypnotic Induction. “A procedure designed to induce hypnosis.”
It is an alternative method that makes use of hypnosis to help treat particular symptoms or medical issues.
In order to concentrate on internal experiences and to experience ‘removed’ external attention, hypnotherapy induces a hypnotic state characterized by waking awareness.
It's sometimes used as part of treating anxiety disorders and phobias. At times, it's used for a variety of applications including smoking cessation, weight loss, and pain management.
The therapeutic uses of hypnosis were first formally studied in the late 1700s, but it wasn't until recently that these investigations gained scientific credibility.
Ran D. Anbar, MD defines it as “using your imagination to help yourself.” Hypnosis can be best described as a combination of deep relaxation and focused attention, during which your mind is more susceptible to enacting tiny changes in feelings and behaviors.
Although the intense focus and concentration of hypnosis may sound strange, Dr. Elvira Lang, a radiologist and the founder of Comfort Talk, compared it to "being lost in a fantastic book or movie, getting lost on the internet, or scrolling on your phone."
According to experts, it is a technique that, much like meditation and mindfulness, requires focus and diligence. Hypnosis requires a change in the thinking pattern that helps an individual feel and BE better.
Considering hypnotherapy to treat your health issues? Contact JarvisHypnotherapy to help you.
So, how does it work?
Trance-like states often occur in daily life. But in a clinical setting, a qualified therapist will aid you in entering a concentrated state of focus. Once you're in this altered state, they'll suggest visualizations relevant to your therapy goal. And they'll guide you back to your normal state of consciousness after the session is completed.
However, note that not everyone is hypnotizable. About 10%-20% of us can't be hypnotized. One study states that hypnotizability is, in fact, a hereditary trait.
It is NOT mind control. As a trance-like state, it puts you in a relaxed, deep focus but you can snap out of it as you can still hear what's happening around you. Hypnotherapy cannot force or induce you to do something against your will. No hypnotherapist has the power to force someone to do anything against their will. Hence, you'd find that those who undergo hypnotherapy for smoke cessation may still continue to smoke.
What happens to the brain during hypnosis?
Research on brain imaging indicates that if one is under hypnosis and visualizing an image, parts of the brain are stimulated as if they were in conscious, waking reality. When one experiences physical pain (or pain is created during hypnosis), the regions in the brain connected to pain are active.
Common health issues for hypnotherapy treatment
The following are some of the health conditions that hypnotherapy can help treat:
dental pain and dental phobia
post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
irritable bowel syndrome
nausea from chemotherapy
needle-related pain and distress
palliative or end-of-life hospice care
childbirth (pain associated with childbirth)
performance anxiety (sports, test, sexual, career)
Read related: What Can Hypnosis Do for Your Health?
In Australia, the average cost for seeking treatment with a certified and trained hypnotherapist ranges between $150 and $300. This also depends on the duration – whether it's 60 or 90 minutes. However, it might take several sessions to see results.
When is hypnosis not helpful?
Individuals with severe mental illnesses, such as psychosis, delusions, or hallucinations should not do hypnosis. And it's highly risky for those with schizophrenia and dissociative disorders.
Since many mental health specialists dispute its usefulness, hypnotherapy is still viewed as controversial. People's perceptions of hypnotherapy might be influenced by a variety of misconceptions and myths regarding this clinical tool.
1- Stage hypnosis and hypnotherapy are often confused.
Stage hypnotists are entertainers with exceptional skills in reading people. They seek out extroverts who can entertain the crowd well. Although it is debatable whether their subjects are actually hypnotized, they are prepared to comply with the occasionally absurd suggestions made by the stage hypnotist.
2- Hypnosis causes you to forget what happened.
Since you won't be asleep or unconscious during the hypnotic state, you'll recall what happens while you're hypnotized, and you'll be able to break the hypnotic trance at any time.
3- Hypnosis causes you to lose control.
You maintain control while undergoing hypnosis. Even while you are hypnotized, no one can make you do anything against your will. Although you're not paying attention to your surroundings as you are tuned in to the cognitive work you’re undergoing, you'll always be in control of your own actions, behaviors, and words.
4- One is unintelligent, naive, or weak-willed if they are hypnotizable.
In fact, recent research reveals that being hypnotizable is correlated with intelligence, focus, and concentration.
While some people think they cannot be hypnotized, research shows that the majority of people can be hypnotized to some extent. It's not an all-or-nothing phenomenon, but a continuum. Only 10% or so are extremely difficult or impossible to hypnotize.
It is, hence, empowering to realize that your own mind can help you heal with the proper use of hypnosis as a clinical tool.
If you're thinking about utilizing hypnosis to address your health issues, contact JarvisHypnotherapy today! It's critical to find a mental health expert with hypnosis training. With this, you'd feel at ease during your sessions. We’re here to provide you professional help!
Read related material by JarvisHypnotherapy: Proven ways mindfulness is good for your Health.