It is important to separate fact from fiction with hypnosis, since many people's perception of hypnosis is based on stage shows and TV programmes. Although some of the techniques used are the same/similar, it would NOT be appropriate for therapists to ask their clients to behave like dogs or chickens! So here are the FACTS -
1. HYPNOSIS IS a "state of altered awareness" which is known as a "trance". It will feel simialr to when you are engrossed in a really good book/film, yet are able to hear and be vaguely aware of background noises/conversations, without engaging in them. Or you may have had the experience of driving along a familiar road and noticing that for a few minutes, you have not been aware of driving - you conscious mind has taken over the driving, while you subconscious has a day-dream, or thinks about stuff, then, as soon as you need to be aware ( a turning, finding an address, etc) the two come together again - this is how it works.
2. You will NOT be asleep, or unconscious! When hypnotists use the word "sleep", they are referring to the state of trance (see 1). You will remain vaguely aware of your surroundings and will be able to recall some/all of what was said.
3. In a trance you will be very deeply relaxed, but can still hear and be capable of action.
4. Once trance state is reached, a process of deepening takes place, until the client reaches a stage where therapeutic change can take place, at subconscious level.
5. Suggestion therapy follows - this is very powerful. Such therapy draws upon the brain's ability to learn new thinking patterns and perspectives , which in everyday life is over-ridden by our own deep-rooted thoughts, emotions, addictions, urges and learnt behaviours.
6. NOBODY can "make" you be hypnotised! Hypnosis is a natural (see 1) state of mind which you can only enter if you are willing. You will NOT be "under the power" of the hypnotists/hypnotherapist. Nobody can make you do anything that goes against your morals/beliefs/character - and that includes stage hypnotists - all participants are willing to be hypnotised and follow suggestions.
7. Anybody can resist trance. Some people are more suggestible than others and so are easier to hypnotise. However, if you have decided upon hypnosis to help you overcome a problem, resistance is pretty pointless, since therapy will not be possible if you resist or are unwilling and it will be a waste of your time and money. Just use you own natural ability to relax, listen and follow suggestions, in order to gain the best possible results.
8. You cannot get "stuck". If you accept the suggestion to go into trance, you will accept the suggestion that you will wake up.
9. You do not have to keep completely still - you can still scratch, stretch, yawn, change position, if you want to.
10. Hypnosis cannot "cure". However, it can help to alleviate symptoms and to support therapeutic change.
11. A hypnotherapist cannot diagnose medical conditions, or offer medical advice.
12. You must really want to engage with the therapy. If you come for 'stop smoking' or 'weight loss' therapy, fully intending to continue to smoke/over-eat the minute you get outside, then that is what you will do! If you are determined to change and intend to change, then hypnosis will make it far easier - but you must engage with the therapy.
CONTRA-INDICATIONS for hypnosis
Hypnosis may not always be suitable if you suffer from any of the following -
Severe Panic Attacks
Low blood pressure
If any of these apply, please tell me, so that we can discuss you particular needs.
I hold a professional Diploma in Hypnotherapy and am a full member of the Professional Hypnotherapy Practitioner Association.
This info sheet was designed by Dr Kate Beaven Marks and additional info was added by Jackie Browne.
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