What is Hypnotherapy?
May 10th, 2020
A bit ago, I mentioned a less conventional form of therapy, hypnotherapy. Simply speaking, hypnotherapy is the use of hypnosis in therapy. Hypnotherapy has been a source of interest for me for some time now, well because how could you not find it interesting. You're using hypnosis as therapy! Coolio. It’s generally viewed with a bit of speculation, naturally because of its unorthodox nature coupled with the criticism associated with stage hypnosis. So let’s get one thing straight, hypnotherapy is not like what you’d see on a hypnosis stage show. Being hypnotized on a stage setting is a performance, while hypnotherapy is an adjunct form of therapy. Hypnosis is not a form of psychotherapy, but instead a tool to be used to aid therapy or treatment. Additionally, not everyone is susceptible to hypnosis, and not everyone who is “hypnotizable” will benefit from hypnotherapy.
Hypnotherapy involves the field of clinical therapy that utilises hypnosis in a therapeutic setting. Through guided hypnosis, you’d find yourself in a trance-like state directed by the assistance of a clinical hypnotherapist. Hypnosis can be explained as an alternate, distorted state of consciousness that can include varying perceptions. You experience a state of highly focused attention (concentration), all while achieving relaxation. Concentration and relaxation? A bit of an oxymoron, hey. This effect is similar to being immersed in a good book, good music, or meditation—you’re really quite into what you’re doing, while also maintaining a comfortable state of relaxation.
The goal is to reprogram behavioral patterns within the mind, similarly to CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). And when you're hypnotized, this process supposedly becomes easier. This is why it’s made its way into the realm of psychotherapy, by facilitating the ability for change and adaptation.
Under hypnosis, you can also experience altered states of consciousness or distorted memory, ideas or responses you wouldn't normally experience [when you're not hypnotized], or increased and heightened vulnerability to suggestion. The noteworthy point here is the "increased and heightened vulnerability to suggestion." As I said, the main goal is to encourage the change of behavioral patterns. And when in a hypnotic state, you are more easily subjected to foreign suggestion and therapeutic insight. This essentially means that you're more likely going to listen to and absorb your therapist's counsel when hypnotized, which makes hypnotherapy a useful aid.
It is proposed that while under hypnosis, the conscious mind is suppressed, and the unconscious mind is exposed. It’s not uncommon for people to reject or be unresponsive to conscious, direct and up-front suggestion, so hypnotherapy tries to sidestep this by going through the “back door” of consciousness. And in the therapist’s ability to access, even to some degree, your unconscious mind, they can plant therapeutic seeds of suggestion while you’re more open to them.
As I mentioned briefly, “hypnotizability,” or the depth in which you can be hypnotized is indeed a factor worth considering. Some people are more likely to be able to be hypnotized, while others may not have that ability altogether. In order to be successfully hypnotized, you have to actually want to be hypnotized. But unfortunately, even if you are hypnotizable, there’s a chance that hypnotherapy won’t work for you. Just as with any therapy, success is highly dependent on the person receiving it; sometimes it works out and sometimes it just doesn’t. Luckily, there are so many varying types of therapy out there, you just have to find the right fit.
Here at Insight Wellness Center we offer BrainTap, which is a form of hypnotherapy that focuses on guided meditation, while also uses neuro-linguistic programming and cognitive behavioral therapy. BrainTap incorporates positive subliminal messages, lights, binaural beats and acupressure around the ears for a deeper meditative and hypnotic state.
BrainTap is an adjunct form of therapy, incredibly utile in changing the way people think, rewiring their cognitions. It is known to improve self-esteem and change negative thoughts into positive and productive ones. BrainTap is also great for smoking cessation, weight loss, pain, and PTSD. Insight Wellness Center is a licensed BrainTap provider and seller. For more information on BrainTap, visit our the BrainTap tab on the drop-down menu of Alternative Therapies.
Lauren Tortolero, MSc
Hypnotherapy. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapy-types/hypnotherapy
Jones, H. (1998). Doctor, what's the alternative?: All you need to know about complementary therapies - what's available and what really works. London: Hodder & Stoughton.
Lazarus, C. N. (2013, January 29). The Truth About Hypnosis. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/think-well/201301/the-truth-about-hypnosis
Whorwell, P. J. (2005, September 22). Review article: The history of hypnotherapy and its role in the irritable bowel syndrome. Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 22(11-12), 1061-1067. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2036.2005.02697.x