Hypnotherapy is a therapy that spans hundreds of years and has many practitioners across the United States. Researchers have studied whether hypnosis can treat a variety of medical conditions, from irritable bowel syndrome to anxiety and depression. The goal for hypnotherapy is to help a patient learn to better control their state of awareness. In the case of depression, hypnotherapy sessions may be focused on helping a person achieve a state of relaxation. In this relaxed state, they can discuss their feelings and emotions without raising stress and anxiety levels.
People may undergo hypnosis in order to address all manner of problems—from addictions, like mine, to emotional trauma. There’s some evidence that it could be an effective tool in dentistry, treating eating disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder, and helping with pain during childbirth. But despite its prevalence, there's still ample confusion about what it actually is, sometimes even among those who've already committed to it. I certainly had no idea what I was in for as I relaxed into my superlatively uncomfortable chair, ready for, well, something. Or maybe nothing.
Hypnotherapy is guided hypnosis, or a trance-like state of focus and concentration achieved with the help of a clinical hypnotherapist. This trance-like state is similar to being completely absorbed in a book, movie, music, or even one's own thoughts or meditations. In this state, clients can turn their attention completely inward to find and utilize the natural resources deep within themselves that can help them make changes or regain control in certain areas of their life.