What is Hypnotherapy?

what is hypnotherapyHypnotherapy: the holy grail of mind control. It’s the perfect opportunity to maneuver your friends and family into doing your bidding right? Well, not exactly. Technically, hypnotherapy aims to address the subconscious mind through the power of suggestion for the benefit of the subject. Still, if you’re ready to understand the subconscious and the power you have over it, check out this hypnotherapy course to turn yourself into a mastermind.

The Trance State

Hypnotherapy attempts to bring about an altered state of consciousness, like a trance state, in order to prime the mind to the power of suggestion and imagination. You’re familiar with the swinging pendulums and rotating swirls right? In fact, hypnotherapists use a variety of techniques to bring about a trance state. Fixing the eyes to a bright object, staring at the therapist or listening to a monotonous sound are the classic methods developed back in the 19th century. More recently, snap inductions, which interrupt an automatic process (like shaking hands) and cause shock or surprise, temporarily disengage the conscious mind. In that fleeting moment, a subject is in a receptive state that places hyper-emphasis on the suggested idea.

Suggestion Hypnotherapy

Suggestive hypnotherapy is the type we’re most familiar with seeing on television or in the movies. One can induce a subject to conquer fear, give up smoking, lose weight or potentially even commit criminal acts (here’s hoping you’re not an evil warlord.) Harnessing the power of the mind to make physiological and psychological changes has a long history of success. In the last five years, hypnotherapy has been repeatedly proven to ease or even eliminate symptoms of IBS. Suggestion hypnotherapy is also the idea behind this course The Virtual Gastric Band.

Cognitive Hypnotherapy

Eriksonian Hypnotherapy took cognitive suggestion to a new level by introducing complex language patters and employing metaphor as a way to subconsciously guide a subject towards an idea. Derren Brown uses this technique in a famous card trick wherein by prompting Steven Fry verbally and visually, Fry unconsciously gravitates towards the king of diamonds. By discussing comic idols like Woody Allen, he prompts Fry with a paternalistic association. Phrases like, ”do light up” make a positive association with a twinkling diamond. And there are other visually suggestive details, including the shape of the tables, how the tablecloths are folded, the candles, even how Brown holds his hands on the table. It’s nothing short of remarkable. Now imagine if you could harness that power in your daily life.

NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming)

NLP has been adopted as a technique for many hypnotherapists who recognize that the language we use does influence our perceptions. Mentalists like Brown control the perception, thereby dictating the subsequent thought. On a personal level, it’s not rocket science to imagine that if you wake up everyday saying, “I suck; I’m fat; I’m a loser,” you’re more like to internalize that identity than if you say, “I rock. I can do it. I’m the best.” Most contemporary practitioners incorporate both elements of suggestiveness and NLP in their practice.

Self Hypnosis

If you’ve got a habit you’d like to kick, consider tapping into the power of your own subconscious with a self hypnosis course. Modern self hypnosis is informed by the contemporary practice of NLP which can be tapped to help you learn more efficiently, modify your outlook, break bad habits and more. Skip the expensive Tony Robbins seminars and head to Udemy.com instead where you can enjoy lifetime access to courses like this one that teach you to learn like a superhero.

Wikipedia reports that self hypnosis requires four distinct steps:

  • Motivation—The need to achieve results is necessary for self induction.
  • Relaxation—The altered state is based on internal focus which requires relaxation and minimal external stimulus.
  • Concentration—Self hypnosis relies on the imagination to concoct mental images. Focusing on a single image gives it more power.
  • Directing—When seeking to achieve a specific goal, one visualizes the positive outcomes.

In this sense, to quit smoking one might first visualize the negative results of, say, cancer and emphysema (motivation) before subsequently visualizing the positive aspects of good health and long life associated with quitting (directing).

Some methods of pain management rely on self hypnosis and training the brain to perceive pain differently. These ideas are the foundations of pain management during a medical event like childbirth.

  1. The patient perceives the duration of the pain to be relatively short.
  2. The patient perceives the pain as something else like pressure, cold or hot—something not interpreted as pain.
  3. The patient attempts to transfer the pain to a ‘numbed’ body part such as a hand by touching the painful location.

Anyone who has ever given birth may debate the usefulness of these techniques, but the fact of the matter is: hypnosis has some really solid science backing it up as an effective therapy method for some people. If you’re keen to try self-hypnosis, you may first want to undertake a bit of meditation training to achieve a truly relaxed state where suggestibility can occur.

Who Else Can You Hypnotize?

We know what you’re thinking: self hypnosis is great, but can I get my mom to stop making meatloaf? According to BSCH, about 85% of us will respond to hypnotherapy to some degree. Some folks are just more suggestible than others. Some believe hypnotherapy will work, some don’t. All of these factors can influence how readily the subject takes on the ideas of practitioner. At the same time, hypnotists also acknowledge that some people achieve a deeper trance-like state than others. The deeper the trance, the more susceptible a subject will be. Will it work on your mom? You don’t know unless you try.

In the meantime, here’s an interesting factoid: according to Wikipedia, the people with the highest hypnotizability are those with dissociative identity disorder followed closely by those with PTSD.

See? You’re already going to be more interesting at dinner parties. Just imagine if you could make your pals bark like dogs at the snap of your fingers.

How a Typical Session Works

Typically, a hypnotherapist would discuss medical history and the health of the patient before coming to a conclusion with the patient as to the goals of the therapy. Before the induction, the therapist might also go through some demonstrations of suggestibility which will help you understand the process and will illuminate how suggestible you are as a subject for the practitioner. The practitioner may use a snap induction that takes a mere second or a longer induction that may take up to twenty minutes to complete. From improving confidence in public speaking to girding a woman for a less painful birth, the techniques of hypnotherapy have been applied far and wide. A practitioner may check the level of the hypnotic trance by elevating and dropping a subject’s arm or asking the subject to roll their eyes upwards. A skilled practitioner can judge from how much iris is showing after the command how deep the trance state is. Before the session ends, the practitioner may offer a posthypnotic suggestion—a trigger that will help the subject access the imagery of the session after the awakening. (This is the “when you hear the word drumstick, you will cluck like a chicken” idea.) Although a professional approach may be closer to: “when you see chocolate, you will want to barf.” A normal session can last anywhere from sixty to ninety minutes and some ailments can be remedied after only one session. Others may take multiple sessions to achieve the desired results.

 You, the Mentalist

If you’re ready to pick up the pocket watch and get into hypnotherapy yourself, now is a great time to do it. The interest in alternative therapies has never been higher and practitioners are in high demand. Get out there and discuss with hypnotists in your area to find out if it’s a viable career for you. And don’t forget, modern cognitive hypnotherapy draws from fields including psychology, neuroscience and NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) just to name a few, so whether you’re an amateur or keen to go pro, any information you gain from an understanding of hypnotherapy can help you become more influential in your day to day interactions. More importantly it can help you master your own destiny. And what’s worth more than that?