Hypnotherapy is a form of adjunctive technique that utilizes hypnosis to aid in the treatment of different specific symptoms or conditions. Hypnotherapy works by inducing a hypnotic state that is marked by a state of waking awareness in which people experience detached external attention and a focus on inner experiences.
It is sometimes used as part of a treatment plan for phobias and other anxiety disorders. It is also sometimes used for pain management, weight loss, smoking cessation, and a variety of other applications.
How It Works
During a hypnotherapy session, people go through a process that induces a trance-like state that helps them focus their minds, respond more readily to suggestions, and become deeply relaxed. Hypnotherapy utilizes the heightened awareness of the hypnotic state to help you focus on a problem more deeply. During hypnotherapy:
- You will be guided by the hypnotherapist to visualize yourself in a state of peacefulness and relaxation, even when confronting a problematic behavior or the object of your fears.
- Your hypnotherapist may make gentle suggestions for behavior changes that can help you conquer your issue. For example, you may be taught to see yourself as a supportive advisor during a phobic reaction, thus learning to trust yourself and your ability to get through the situation.
- You may be taught certain cognitive-behavioral coping skills, such as guided imagery and the STOP! technique, that you can use when confronting fears or anxieties.
- You may even be encouraged to talk about the first time you experienced the behavior or problem that you are trying to overcome and how you felt at that moment.
- Some people may experience dramatic results. In other cases, people may simply feel very relaxed. Some of the effects that hypnotherapy may have include:
- Awareness: Some people remain fully aware during the entire experience. They recall everything that happens and are even able to have conversations while under hypnosis. Other people may experience states of relaxation that are so deep that they may even feel detached from what is happening.
- Focus: Most of the time, we are distracted by our surroundings. Whether the TV is blaring, your kids are demanding attention or your spouse wants to talk, it can be difficult to fully focus on yourself. Our conscious minds are also cluttered. You may be worried about paying a bill, concerned about an upcoming project, or planning tonight’s dinner. The therapy session is intended to break through these day-to-day concerns and allow you to focus completely on the problem at hand.
- Relaxation: In the hypnotic state, you are deeply relaxed. Your conscious mind is quieted, allowing your unconscious mind to deeply focus on your issue. You are also calmer, and therefore more receptive to facing your problems or fears.