The following questions are frequently asked by potential clients who would like more information before deciding to utilize Hypnosis. The answers address fears, dispel myths and encourage people to experience how Hypnosis may enhance their lives.
What is Hypnosis?
Hypnosis is a state of heightened awareness. Recent clinical research reveals that Hypnosis and hypnotic suggestion, used properly, can powerfully alter cognitive processes as diverse as memory and pain perception. A person under Hypnosis experiences a heightened awareness, with the ability to concentrate intensely on a specific thought or memory while blocking out sources of distraction.
Contemporary research suggests that hypnotic subjects are fully awake and focusing attention, with a corresponding decrease in their awareness of peripheral distractions. Clients show an increased response to suggestions though they remain capable of saying 'no' or terminating Hypnosis at any time.
Only in the last 40 years have scientists had tools and techniques to accurately assess Hypnosis, separating fact from fiction. The study of hypnotic phenomena is now properly held within the domain of cognitive science. Papers on Hypnosis are now published in major scientific and medical journals.
It is important to recognize that Hypnosis is not Psychotherapy, nor does it entail advising, diagnosing or prescribing.
How does Hypnosis work?
During Hypnosis it is as if the brain temporarily suspends its efforts to validate incoming sensory information allowing new behaviors and thoughts to occur. In this way, Hypnosis affords an opportunity to gain greater control over our own minds and actions, and to release unproductive and unhealthy behaviors.
Is Hypnosis Safe?
Hypnotic procedures are natural and safe. Hypnotized subjects may be relaxed but are fully awake. Being awake, hypnotized people are capable of saying 'no' or terminating hypnosis at any time. Hypnosis cannot be used to control someone else's mind or their actions. A pleasant by-product of Hypnosis is the sense of ease and deep relaxation that most Hypnosis clients experience.
What can Hypnosis help with?
The primary aim of Hypnosis is self-healing and self change. The Hypnotist's job is to assist the client to achieve those natural states of mind where healing and change happen easily. Correctly used, Hypnosis taps into the unlimited power of the human mind.
The key to changing behavior is changing attitudes. Hypnosis facilitates attitude changes. With Hypnosis, people are empowered to solve their own problems, allowing them to change behaviors that would otherwise be difficult, if not impossible, to change. Hypnosis can also improve one's essential experience of life in all its circumstances.
Some of the things Hypnosis can help with:
Sleep Problems - trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
Performance Issues – sports, public speaking, artistic endeavors
Motivational Issues – starting tasks, making changes, completing tasks
Pain Management – chronic conditions, child birth
Fears – Heights, Bridges, Flying, Public Speakiing
Chronic conditions – Asthma, Stuttering, Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Moving through creative blocks or other stuck areas
Who can be Hypnotized?
Most people can be hypnotized.
Though we do not know why, science has shown that some people are more hypnotizable than others. People go into Hypnosis in different ways. Part of the Hypnotist's job is to identify the approach that will work best for each client. Developing ongoing trust of the process and the Hypnotist allows the client to go into the hypnotic state more easily.
There is a perception that the 'strong willed’ cannot be hypnotized. Actually, a correlation has been demonstrated between intelligence and the ability to be hypnotized. Perhaps this is due to the associated ability to follow instructions or to access the imagination. Those of lower intelligence are more of a challenge to hypnotize and those with extremely low intelligence cannot be hypnotized at all.
The prerequisites to successful Hypnosis sessions are an openness to the process, a willingness to change and trust of the Hypnotist.
What is Hypnosis like?
Hypnotism has been described as a state of physical relaxation and heightened awareness accompanied and induced by mental concentration. Guided imagery and progressive relaxation are used in a safe, comfortable environment to gently ease you into a relaxed, open, hypnotic state. This state superficially resembles sleep and is marked by a different level of awareness than an ordinary state.
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 vocalize 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 medically approved?
Hypnosis has been recognized as a viable therapeutic tool for a long time. It's use by professionals has been sanctioned by the British Medical Association (BMA) and the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Psychiatric Association (APA) since the 1950's.
Prestigious hospitals use and teach Hypnosis, including the Stanford University School of Medicine in San Francisco, the Beth Israel Medical Center in Boston, and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.
As Hypnosis is a recognized and sanctioned therapeutic tool, many insurance companies cover medical and dental uses of Hypnosis, including major surgeries. As a result, more people are choosing Hypnosis over anesthesia for surgery. While some choose Hypnosis out of fear of anesthesia, it has some distinct medical advantages, including: less bleeding, faster recovery time, and the need for fewer post-operative medications.
Hypnosis is not a substitute for Medical, Dental or Psychiatric Care
Hypnosis is not a substitute for Medical, Dental or Psychiatric care. Individuals in need of such care must consult a qualified provider for advice, diagnosis and treatment prior to Hypnosis. Further, one should never stop a medical treatment without consulting a qualified provider.
The Hypnotist must be kept fully informed of all medical, dental or psychiatric conditions as well as the treatment a client is receiving at all times. Used properly as an adjunct, Hypnosis may enhance such care. Hypnosis should only be received from a trained professional who practices within the scope of his or her training.
But I saw this stage show...
Hypnosis is sometimes feared because of the notion, reinforced by stage shows, that the subject surrenders his or her 'free will'. It is helpful to remember that stage shows, much like 'reality' TV are designed for entertainment. Both feature participants doing 'strange' things.
Stage show Hypnotists often select people who have a strong desire to experience themselves in a 'different' or less inhibited manner. People may give themselves permission to do many things in a hypnotic state on stage that they may not do otherwise.
What is frequently not apparent in stage shows is that hypnotized people are capable of saying 'no' or terminating Hypnosis at any time and cannot be 'forced' to do something they do not want to do.