Demystifying Clinical Hypnotherapy

Have you ever wondered about hypnosis? What’s it all about? I mean, isn’t it some person on a stage making people do ridiculous things? Or maybe you’ve heard of someone who went to a hypnotist to help quit smoking or for weight management? What about pain management or as a tool to help with emotional/behavioural issues? Well, it’s all of these and more. My focus in this article is the clinical applications of hypnotism and how it might be of benefit to you.

woman practicing self hypnosis

The word ‘hypnosis’ is actually the state of mind the client is in.

It is the same mental state as when you are really focused on something, for example when your full attention is on a book, a movie, or music. The outside world just isn’t as important in that moment, ie. your peripheral awareness is reduced. You’re in a trance-like state of concentration. In this state, the mind is more open to suggestions.

In a session with a hypnotherapist, you discuss why you’re there and what the desired outcomes are. Together you choose suggestions that are beneficial to you. And YOU decide whether to act on them or not. The hypnotherapist guides you to a relaxed state of mind which is a bit like a guided meditation. You are always in control of the session and can choose to return to your fully alert state at any time.

It is not at all as it is portrayed in movies. You are not asleep. You are not unconscious.

Is being hypnotizable the same as being mentally weak?

As with most therapeutic approaches, there is a higher degree of success when you are a willing participant. Being open and inquisitive significantly boosts progress, especially when multiple sessions are required. Children, for example, are often more easily hypnotizable than adults because of this natural curiosity.

The American Psychological Association and American Medical Association have recognized Hypnotherapy since 1958 as a valid protocol. And the NIH (National Institutes of Health) has recommended it for chronic pain since 1995. As a complementary treatment, it has been effectively used for panic attacks, PTSD, substance abuse, learning disorders and relationship challenges. Its use in pain reduction has been widely studied and shown to be an effective treatment method (International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, April 2000). And as we enter a season of less sunlight, it’s good to know it is very effective for seasonal affective disorder as well.

Can you hypnotize yourself?

Yes. The protocol is simple and a safe method to feel in control of your mind when stress arises. It is also an effective way to develop new habits. It takes a little practice but after a short while you can sense a trust in yourself. Here is a brief protocol that you can start practising right now. It’s safe and short, and will start you on your way to using your mind for your well-being.

  1. Take 3 breaths and as you exhale the 3rd breath count down 5 to 1.
  2. Wait. Just wait for a couple of breaths.
  3. When you’re ready, count down 5 to 1 again and with each number let yourself relax. It might be the space between exhale and inhale. Really relax. Your whole body – top to bottom.
  4. Wait. Just wait and breathe. Listen to those breaths.
  5. Let thoughts just float away like clouds. Unimportant for right now. As much as you can. (This is the part where you are just being present with yourself. Really. Just be. Really.)
  6. Now inhale and begin to count 1 to 5. It might take 2 or 3 breaths. It’s up to you what’s right for you.
  7. Feel your body. Feel what it is touching. Breathe a bit loudly through your nose. See what is around you. Move your body…fingers, toes, the rest of you. Become fully in your body… fully present. Knowing you have made a change…taken control…become present…for whatever amount of time it was… This is success. This is your Now.

This brief practice is an extremely valuable tool for you.

It’s easy and inexpensive. And only took a few minutes. Think of where you could practice this. In your car at the grocery store parking lot? Waiting to pick up someone? These minutes are yours to use. I encourage you to.

Hypnosis is yours if you’d like it to be. Using your own mind for shifts/changes for your well-being is accessible to you. You may need a qualified Hypnotherapist to help out. And we’re here for that. Many warm blessings.

If you would like to book an appointment with Paula to explore hypnosis, call us at 902-425-7759.