Hypnosis -- or hypnotherapy -- uses guided relaxation, intense concentration, and focused attention to achieve a heightened state of awareness that is sometimes called a trance. The person's attention is so focused while in this state that anything going on around the person is temporarily blocked out or ignored. In this naturally occurring state, a person may focus his or her attention -- with the help of a trained therapist -- on specific thoughts or tasks.
According to Dr. Ken Grossman, a clinical hypnotherapist in Sacramento, “The only quality that makes someone a good candidate for hypnosis is that they want to stop. What makes someone a poor candidate is that they have no desire to stop.” McGrail agrees, adding, “There are very few people that will not allow themselves to be led into a hypnotic state.” While this may sound far-fetched to skeptics, think of it as the sort of state you’re in when you’re driving and miss your exit — that’s a mild form of hypnosis in and of itself. What these therapists do is just deepen the experience, using our natural capacity for dropping into trance-like states.
According to many sources including the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) which is part of the United States National Library of Medicine and a branch of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), hypnosis is scientifically proven to help relieve both mental challenges and physical pains. Hypnosis can alleviate stress and reduce pain after surgeries, has been shown to relieve anxiety in children in the emergency room, and can be useful for managing pain associated with everything from arthritis to migraines. Hypnosis is non-invasive and gives you a way to control pain or discomfort that might otherwise seem out of your hands. Hypnosis shouldn’t be used as a substitute for medical care, but may be an excellent complementary tool that is best provided by a trained therapist or licensed medical provider. The University of Maryland Medical Center shares many conditions for which hypnosis can be useful:
Learn From Your Personal Time-Line: Describe key turning points in both your career and personal life, with an eye to what shaped your values, attitudes and behavior; how your career decisions and experiences have affected your personal development. Identify the consequences, both positive and negative. What does this knowledge point you towards, in terms of reclaiming and growing dormant or neglected parts of yourself?
Motivation: A major subject within sports psychology, the study of motivation looks at both extrinsic and intrinsic motivators. Extrinsic motivators are external rewards, such as trophies, money, medals or social recognition. Intrinsic motivators arise from within, such as a personal desire to win or the sense of pride that comes from performing a skill.
Although there are different techniques, clinical hypnotherapy is generally performed in a calm, therapeutic environment. The therapist will guide you into a relaxed, focused state and ask you to think about experiences and situations in positive ways that can help you change the way you think and behave. Unlike some dramatic portrayals of hypnosis in movies, books, or on stage, you will not be unconscious, asleep, or in any way out of control of yourself. You will hear the therapist’s suggestions, but it is up to you to decide whether or not to act on them.
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