Hypnotism was one of the earliest psychoanalytic techniques employed by Sigmund Freud, who was introduced to the technique by physician Josef Breuer. Freud and Breuer believed that traumatic memories that were not accessible to the waking mind could be revealed while a person was under hypnosis, thus facilitating a “cure.” Freud eventually abandoned hypnosis in favor of forced association, and then free association, after he found that not all of his patients responded to hypnotism.
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:
A 2007 study from researchers at the American College of Chest Physicians compared hypnosis to nicotine replacement therapy. Fifty percent of patients who were treated in the hypnotherapy group were still quit at 26 weeks compared to just 15.78 percent in the nicotine replacement group. Patients who underwent NRT and hypnotherapy also experienced a 50-percent success rate at 26 weeks.
4. Pain as Effort: If you have “good pain,” the pain of effort, that is not seriously damaging your body, just shift attention to your breathing or cadence of movement, and let the discomfort fade into the background. You can also use the pain as feedback. Register it not as pain but as effort level. Say: “Now I know exactly how hard I’m working. I know how this pace feels. My body is doing what it should be doing.”
Hypnosis is not a psychotherapeutic treatment or a form of psychotherapy, but rather a tool or procedure that helps facilitate various types of therapies and medical or psychological treatments. Only trained health care providers certified in clinical hypnosis can decide, with their patient, if hypnosis should be used along with other treatments. As with psychotherapy, the length of hypnosis treatment varies, depending on the complexity of the problem.