Hypnotherapy is a form of complementary therapy that utilizes the power of positive suggestion to bring about subconscious change to our thoughts, feelings and behavior.
The process itself aims to alter our state of consciousness in a way that relaxes the conscious part of the mind while simultaneously stimulating and focusing the subconscious part. This heightened state of awareness – reached using skilled relaxation techniques – allows the therapist to then make appropriate suggestions.
There are varying theories throughout both the medical and psychological arenas as to how the process of hypnosis works. Some experts believe that people who practice hypnosis effectively are predisposed to this therapy or have developed enhanced cognitive and interpersonal abilities that allow them to respond accordingly to hypnotic cues and conditions. Recent studies have shown that this form of communication actually alters elements of a person’s neurological and physiological mechanisms.
Therapist speaks to a client under hypnosis in a hypnotherapy session, after identifying client goals for the session and reviewing how the session will proceed; the practitioner will use guided imagery and soothing speech to help the person to feel relaxed and safe. When the recipient of hypnosis has achieved a more receptive state, the practitioner will provide suggestions that could help the person reach his or her goals. The person in the trancelike state remains aware and is usually able to return to a more alert state independently once the session is over. Some people find that just one hypnotherapy session is sufficient, and others may attend several sessions.
Hypnotherapy is widely endorsed as a treatment for habit breaking, stress related issues and for a range of long-term conditions, and in recent years has been gaining steam in the medical world after a recommendation from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recognized hypnotherapy as a treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
While more concrete evidence is needed to support the use of hypnosis in additional areas as an alternative to conventional medicine, many have found the process has been incredibly effective either when used in tandem with traditional treatment or when used independently after other avenues have been exhausted. Hypnosis has the capacity to work for the majority of individuals but some are more susceptible to suggestions than others. The most important thing to remember is that you must be fully committed to the process and feel that you can place your trust in your hypnotherapist. It's also important to keep an open mind, as any skepticism may subconsciously dampen your susceptibility.