Hypnosis – the Facts

Hypnosis Facts vs Myths…

Hypnosis is an  state of inward attention and focused concentration. It is often referred to as trance or as an altered state of consciousness.  When the mind is concentrated and focused, people are better able to tap into and utilize their inner resources, to make personal changes, and learn how to better govern their own lives .  Because hypnosis and self-hypnosis allow people to use more of their potential, they gain more self-control (it is a myth that people lose control during hypnosis).

Everyone has experienced hypnosis or trance, although it may not be referred to by that name. If you’ve ever been absorbed in thought, reading a book or watching TV, and failed to hear someone talking to you—-you were in a trance-like state.  Perhaps you have been watching a movie at the theater, and lost track of the fact that there are dozens of people nearby—another hypnotic-like state of mind.  These very focused states of attention are, in fact, everyday experiences of what is called hypnosis.  Clinical hypnosis is different only to the extent that you will be experiencing it with the guidance of your Hypnotherapist, rather than spontaneously.

The hypnotic state

The brain has different levels of consciousness, or awareness, ranging from fully alert to drowsy to fully asleep, with variations in between. Hypnotic states occur naturally and spontaneously.

Everyday examples include:

  • Daydreaming
  • Being absorbed in a pleasant task and losing track of time
  • Doing a mundane task (such as washing the dishes) while thinking about something else, to the degree that you can’t actually remember performing the task
  • Getting lulled into a dreamy state by boredom, for example, when listening to a dull speech.

Clinical hypnosis deliberately induces this kind of relaxed state of awareness. Once the mind is in a relaxed state, any therapeutic suggestions can have great effect on attitudes, perceptions and behaviours. The way that this occurs isn’t fully understood. Some researchers believe that hypnosis promotes particular brain wave activity that allows the mind to take in and adopt new ideas, while others suggest that hypnosis accesses the ‘unconscious mind’, which is more open to new ideas than the rational ‘conscious mind’.

You are in control

Suggestions may be taken to heart, but only if those suggestions are acceptable to the hypnotised person. Contrary to popular belief, you can’t be hypnotised into doing things against your will. You can’t be forced into a hypnotic state either. Instead, you allow yourself to be hypnotised. It is a voluntary altering of your own consciousness, and you are always in control. In other words, you are hypnotising yourself.

Risks of hypnosis

Hypnosis is considered to be a safe treatment when performed by a qualified and experienced practitioner. In rare cases, however, a patient may have unwanted side effects such as:

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Feelings of anxiety
  • Stomach upset
  • False memories.

Results of hypnosis

While it appears that almost anyone can be hypnotised, hypnosis does not always bring about good results. It is unclear why hypnosis does not work for everyone. Some researchers believe that a person is born with character traits that allow hypnosis to work, while other researchers believe that the ability to be hypnotised is a learned skill.

Suggestibility doesn’t mean you have a weak character, as popularly believed. A strong-minded person may be a good candidate for hypnosis because they will strive to get results from treatment.

People who get the best results from hypnosis appear to have a few things in common, including:

  • A good imagination
  • The ability to get lost in a movie or book
  • The ability to concentrate and keep mental focus.

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