Clinical Hypnotherapy is one of the oldest types of therapy in the history of humanity. The description of those techniques were found in Egyptian, Greek and Hindu temples from thousands of years ago. There are almost 10,000 published studies that involve hypnosis and Guided Imagery – some of the most studied of all therapeutic holistic practices.
One good example of it were Egyptian ‘sleep temples’. Sleep temples were hospitals of sorts, healing a variety of ailments, perhaps many of them psychological in nature. The treatment involved chanting, placing the patient into a trance-like or hypnotic state, and analyzing their dreams in order to determine treatment. Healers in ancient Greece and Rome have used forms of hypnosis on the regular bases as well.
In 1843 a Scottish physician James Braid, known as the “father of hypnosis”, tried to explain trance state in scientific terms. He coined the terms “hypnotism” and “hypnosis” after the Greek word hypnos, which means sleep. Later he realized that hypnosis was not sleep, but by then the term had already stuck to the phenomenon.
Since then number of prominent and talented researchers including Bridey Murphy, Carl Jung, Edgar Cayce, Milton Erickson, Richard Bandler and John Grinder contributed to the development of the science of clinical hypnotherapy.
At the beginning of 20th Century hypnosis was mostly used by stage hypnotists therefore creating very distorted perception of this extremely effective therapeutic tool. Hypnotherapy is very different from stage hypnosis. In 1955 British Medical Association accepted hypnosis, followed by American Medical Association in 1958. In 1955, the National Institute of Health reported that meditation and other relaxation techniques are often times better treatment for a variety if illnesses than is medicine. They call this approach New Age or Alternative Therapy medicine. Dr. Julia Richmond of the Harvard Medical School reported that current medical treatment (drugs and surgery) is not near as effective for some illnesses as is the Alternative Medicine Approach.
Today we have Transpersonal Hypnotherapy, which is the crossing of mind, body and spirit. It embraces the clinical aspects of hypnosis but adds the client’s higher dimensional realities therapeutic interventions. It is believed that hypnosis is the bridge between the mind, body and spirit.
Imagery represents the essential “language” of the mind and body. Guided imagery directs this non-verbal language to elicit the desired healing outcomes. Basically, hypnosis, like guided imagery, involves a concentrated attention directed towards achieving specific positive therapeutic result. According to the American Psychological Association (APA)’s Division of Psychological Hypnosis, hypnosis is “a procedure during which a health professional or researcher suggests that a client, patient or subject experience changes in sensations, perceptions, thoughts, or behavior.”
In order to understand the mechanism of hypnosis and how it works for you successfully, it is necessary to understand what “hypnosis” means. Hypnotherapy can be best described as a process which produces deep physical and mental relaxation, increased awareness, and heightened suggestibility, and allowing access to the subconscious mind through the use of imagination and imagery. All while being guided by a professional hypnotherapist who is consciously adhering to a goal that you have decided.
We always act, feel and perform according to what we imagine and believe to be true about ourselves and our surroundings. Hypnotherapy allows you to use your own imagination to achieve your desires and goals.
Our mind is extremely powerful and affects any and every aspects of our lives. We ordinarily think of our minds as our own—as something belonging to ourselves and to no one else. No one can “read” our minds. We basically think of ourselves as in control of our own thought processes. However, we are not ordinarily in control of our minds, despite what we may
think. We can’t turn them off, and we can’t always make them do what we want. Judgments, thoughts, and emotions seem to arise unbidden and often unwelcome. Rather than being in control of our minds, our minds seem to control us—compelling us, driving us, urging us in the directions it deems fit.
“Whatever an enemy might do to an enemy, or a foe to a foe, the ill-directed mind can do to you even worse .” Buddha
The Buddha, who warned of the tremendously harmful potential of the undisciplined mind, also proclaimed the tremendous benefits of a well-trained mind: “Whatever a mother, father or other relative might do for you, the well-directed mind can do for you even better.”
Our conscious mind, the part that we are most aware, consist of only 10-12% of our mind. This part is responsible for logic, reasoning, decision making, critical thinking and will-power. Our subconscious consist of 88-90% of our mind that is mostly below the level of our awareness. This part of our mind is responsible for memories, ideas, reflective actions, ideomotor responses, automatic physical actions (breathing, blood circulation, etc), ideas, emotions, creativity, values, beliefs, and contains negative and positive associations we have made though life. The subconscious mind is where we can find out why someone has a limiting belief, habits, negative thoughts, fears, phobias or health issues (as a complement to existing medical treatment) and address it through hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapist guide clients into hypnosis and into the subconscious mind and work with the issue in order to help clients heal from the inside out. Clinical Hypnotherapy uses hypnotic trance state for therapeutic purposes. It means that person is not treated with hypnosis, but is treated in hypnosis.
Hypnosis is a very natural and common state of mind that average person experience several times during the day (for example, daydreaming, deep concentration or prayer). During the hypnosis the physical body and conscious mind are in relaxed state while the subconscious mind remains in a heightened state of suggestibility – the key to addressing our problems and concerns, changing unwanted behaviors and habits and unleashing our true potential. The hypnotic trance is a state between the sleep and awake and can be compared to a dreamlike state, though you are completely aware to what is happening, alert and in complete control. We still have ego or the conscious mind in the hypnosis present in the current awareness, while there is a production of subconscious imagery. Hypnosis is an education-communication process to a person’d mind that allows the conscious and subconscious minds to agree. Basically, all hypnosis is self-hypnosis. You’re guided into the hypnotic trance state through guided imagery and progressive muscle relaxation techniques. Once the person is in a trance state, the hypnotherapist uses many different therapeutic methods from simple suggestions to psychology. The therapist can ask about past, present or future issues or concerns to find out the reasons for the problem brought forward by client, establish goals related to that issue and then provide suggestions during the hypnosis session to the subconscious mind directed at overcoming that specific problem or behavior.
When the subconscious mind is given a new suggestion that is within the bounds of a person’s belief system and moral orientation, the subconscious mind accepts it literally as a new reality! The ability to reprogram emotional attitudes and reactions is a natural and very often undiscovered talent within each person. Hypnotherapy is an effective, practical and reasonable way to train lifelong attitudes.
Here are some of the conditions that could be successfully treated with Clinical Hypnotherapy:
- Changing unwanted habits: smoking, nocturnal enuresis (bed wetting), nail biting, stuttering, drug abuse, etc.
- Hypnotherapy is very effective for weight management; athletic and sports performance; increasing work or study performance; enhancing creativity and imagination; developing the imagination, improving self-esteem and self-confidence, achieving our true potential
“…hypnosis has been embraced by scientists. Those using hypnosis lost an average of nearly 15 pounds, those not using it, only 6.”— Oprah Magazine, Dec. 2006
- In health: managing the stress and anxiety, relieving symptoms of migraines, bronchial asthma, gastrointestinal and neurological problems, reduce high blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
“Studies have shown that non-pharmacologic analgesic in the form of self-hypnotic relaxation during invasive medical procedures significantly reduces patient’s pain, anxiety, drug use and number of complications.” – National Institute of Health
- Pain control in dentistry, pre/post surgery, dentistry, arthritis and general neuromuscular aches and pains.
Dr. Gerard Sunnen of the New York University School of Medicine calls hypnosis “the most potent non-pharmacological relaxing agent known to science.” He will prescribe hypnosis before prescribing a tranquilizer
- Gynecological issues such as PMT, amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, psychogenic infertility and in obstetrics.
- Hypnotherapy can help people overcome phobias, addictions, depression, compulsions, insomnia, emotional issues, inhibitions, feelings of guilt, jealousy and variety of the worries and anxieties of daily lives.
WASHINGTON -April 28, 2013- “Hypnosis seems helpful in treating addictions and the depression and anxiety associated with them”- Psychology Today
- Sexual problems including impotence, premature ejaculation, frigidity and others.
- Dermatological conditions like eczema, psoriasis, neuro-dermatitis, herpes simplex or even warts.
In January of 2015, Banner Estrella Medical Center in Phoenix launched a pilot program called the Guided Imagery Project. Linda Bennett, SWIHA’s Hypnotherapy Program Director, states: “Data has shown that using guided imagery and hypnotherapy creates a 40 to 50 percent decrease in pain, anxiety or nausea from the initial meeting”. During the 1200 hours since the launch of the program in 2015 the recorded numbers are as follow: 42% reduction of pain, 52% reduction of stress, and 56% reduction of nausea.
Journal of Clinical Psychology, Vol 41, Issue 1, 2006 study “Abstract Effectiveness of hypnosis as an adjunct to behavioral weight management” describes that a 9-week behavioral treatment with the addition of hypnosis resulted in significant weight reduction in patients. Also at the 8-month and 2-year follow-ups, the hypnosis clients showed significant additional weight loss, while those in the behavioral treatment without hypnosis exhibited little further change. More of the subjects who used hypnosis also achieved and maintained their personal weight goals.