A research-based approach proven to increase suggestibility to change and to get to the root of underlying issues.
WHAT IS HYPNOTHERAPY?
When telling about certain topics, sometimes people find it easier to know what something is not to better understand was something is. This style of explanation works well for hypnotherapy.
Perhaps you've seen a stage hypnotist pull out a pocket watch and force people to cluck like chickens. This is an excellent example of what hypnotherapy is not. Additionally, other myths surrounding hypnotherapy involve loss of control, loss of consciousness, and loss of memory. Again, all of this is what hypnotherapy is not.
So just what is hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is a research-supported therapy intervention that can be used for a wide range of conditions. The American Psychological Association (2014) defines hypnotherapy as "the use of hypnosis in the treatment of a medical or psychological disorder or concern." Hypnosis is defined as "a state of consciousness involving focused attention and reduced peripheral awareness characterized by an enhanced capacity for response to suggestion."
If you have ever been driving down the road and suddenly realized that you have missed your turn because you were so focused on a chain of thought, then you have experienced a hypnotic state.
During hypnotherapy, your hypnotherapist guides you into a heightened state of awareness/focus called a trance. A trance is a natural state of mind which we all frequently experience (losing track of time while watching a movie, driving on “autopilot” while focused on a thought). During hypnosis, you learn how to deliberately bring yourself into this state of being in order to make positive changes in your life. It is in this state that your mind becomes more receptive while bypassing the more analytical parts of the brain, which is why it can be a helpful addition to typical therapy sessions.
WHAT CAN HYPNOTHERAPY ADDRESS?
Hypnotherapy can be used to aid the following challenges, issues, and goals:
Trauma-related issues and PTSD (single traumatic events and complex trauma)
Behavioral Changes (weight loss, smoking cessation, etc.)
Performance Enhancement (sports, public speaking, etc.)
Past Life Regression
WHAT DOES A HYPNOTHERAPY SESSION ACTUALLY LOOK LIKE?
Hypnotherapy sessions typically last between one hour and an hour and a half.
The first stage of the hypnotherapy process is called the Interview Phase, in which you answer questions about your ego/self-esteem and about the issue you are wanting to address. Think of this phase as the “priming phase," where you prepare your mind for the work that is to come. After this 10-15-minute stage, the hypnosis portion of the session will be begin. During the hypnotic process, you will be asked to close your eyes or stare at a spot on the wall.
The next stage lasts roughly 10-15 minutes and is called the Induction Phase. The hypnotherapist will guide you into a relaxed trance through guided imagery, deep breathing, and/or progressive muscle relaxation. This stage is very similar to meditation or mindfulness relaxation.
Following this stage, you will enter into the Working Phase, in which the hypnotherapist will guide you in working on your goals. This phase can last anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes and may include memory regression, thought/feeling/behavior exploration, or positive affirmations. This is the stage where the real work occurs, where you begin exploring subconscious associations and the deeper cause of your challenges. For clients with traumatic memories, this would be the stage at which those are addressed.
After the working phase, you will be guided through a 5-10 minute Healing Phase. This phase is meant to help positive reinforcements, lessons, and messages sink into your subconscious.
The Waking Phase is the end of the hypnosis process in which you are slowly brought out of trance. This phase typically lasts no more than 5 minutes.
Even though you may not feel different, your subconscious will typically continue processing for hours, days, and even weeks following the session. You are encouraged to write down any insights/realizations that you experience during this time, as you may want to explore these during a psychotherapy session or another hypnotherapy session.
If you have any further questions about hypnotherapy or are interested in scheduling your first hypnotherapy appointment, just click the "Contact Me" link below to get in touch with me. Additionally, check out the Hypnotherapy Pamphlet under the Resources tab.