Dispelling the Myths
PUBLISHED: 10:53 26 May 2009 | UPDATED: 16:02 20 February 2013
Do you want to achieve a goal or get rid of an unwanted habit? As Sara Agombar suggests, hypnotherapy might be the answer
There are many misconceptions regarding hypnosis and hypnotherapy. These are answers to the most common ones...
YES, it is completely safe with a trained therapist.
YES, you are in full control.
YES, it is a very effective form of therapy, now becoming more recognised.
NO, it is most definitely not stage hypnotism.
NO, you cannot get stuck in hypnosis.
NO, you cannot be made to say or do anything you don't want to.
Hypnosis is a wonderful, natural state of total relaxation within the body but with heightened awareness of the mind. The client is aware and in control throughout. It is a unique experience for every individual, but nonetheless, pleasant. It is not, however, sleep. Consciousness is not lost, it simply becomes more selective. Daydreaming, for example, is another state of consciousness: you remain aware of your surroundings but your focus of attention is elsewhere.
The same kind of feeling can be said for the trance state during hypnotherapy. During this heightened state of awareness the analytical left-hand side of the brain steps into the background and allows the non-analytical right-hand side of the brain to become more alert. Hypnosis, when used within hypnotherapy, is a highly focused state for promoting healing, positive suggestion and personal development and wellbeing.
Clinical hypnotherapists are trained using a range of defined methods and techniques to assist the client, in a safe setting, to take control and effect the positive changes that they would like to make. Good rapport is important between the therapist and the client to achieve the necessary relaxation for the therapeutic work to begin.
Bypassing the critical conscious mind enables the therapist to access the subconscious mind so that the agreed positive affirmations can be accepted; this leads to new and more beneficial responses and enables the client to change behaviour or unwanted habits. The client is then brought out of trance, and is completely re-orientated to full conscious awareness. There are no negative side-effects from hypnotherapy.
The British Medical Association recognises that hypnosis used in a therapeutic setting is a valuable tool for many physical and emotional problems. Medical tests have also taken place using MRI and CAT scans, showing clear evidence that different parts of the brain are active when the person is in a hypnotic state.
Hypnotherapy can be used to help a range of issues, from addressing weight control (including encouraging healthy eating and exercise), stress management, anxiety reduction for exams, driving tests, public speaking, motivation, improving low self-esteem and lack of confidence to help achieve a personal goal, to those issues more commonly associated with hypnotherapy, such as stopping smoking, and much more. With children it can help with night-time bed-wetting and habits such as thumb-sucking. A parent or guardian is always present with any child under the age of 16.