The Association of Clinical Hypnosis defines hypnosis as a state of inner absorption, concentration and focused attention. It is like using a magnifying glass to focus the rays of the sun and make them more powerful. Similarly, when our minds are concentrated and focused, we are able to use our minds more powerfully. Because hypnosis allows people to use more of their potential, learning self-hypnosis is a way to learn self-regulation.
There are important differences between Clinical Hypnosis and Entertainment Hypnosis. Clinical Hypnosis is a psychological tool used within the context of a therapeutic setting and conducted by a licensed mental health professional. Entertainment hypnosis is conducted for amusement and is not therapeutic.
Clinical hypnosis can be used in three main ways. First, it is used to encourage the use of your imagination as mental imagery is very powerful, especially in a focused state of attention. The mind seems exquisitely capable of using imagery, even if it is only symbolic, to assist in creating the things we are imagining. For example, a person with a “pounding headache” can be encouraged to visualize it and soothe it.
A second hypnotic approach is to introduce suggestions to the person being hypnotized. While in a state of concentrated attention or hypnotic state, suggestions that are compatible with what you want to achieve tend to have a more powerful impact on the mind.
Finally, hypnosis may be used for unconscious exploration to better understand underlying motivations or identify whether past events or experiences are associated with causing a problem. Hypnosis avoids the critical sensor of the conscious mind, which often defeats what we know to be in our best interests. The effectiveness of hypnosis appears to lie in the way in which it bypasses the critical observation and interference of the conscious mind, allowing the client's intentions for change to take effect.
Source: American Society of Clinical Hypnosis
Goals of Hypnosis
The goal of a hypnosis session is successful installation of desired outcomes deep into the subconscious mind from where it eventually expresses automatically without any further conscious activity.
We disempower ourselves when we choose limiting beliefs which reduce the number of available options in our daily living and we empower ourselves whenever we open ourselves to more options.
Will I lose control while hypnotized?
Absolutely not. The hypnotherapist has no power over you at all and cannot make you do anything against your will. Hypnosis is really just self-hypnosis. All the hypnotherapist does is guide you into a hypnotic state, which you can easily learn to do for yourself, if you wish.
Can I be hypnotized to do things I don't want to do?
No. The client is in control at all times and may choose to accept or not accept any suggestion given. In fact, you can choose to enter or leave the hypnotic state at any time.
Is hypnosis dangerous?
Clinical Hypnosis, when conducted by a licensed mental health professional, is safe.
Is everyone able to be hypnotized?
Almost always, yes. However, there is a small percentage of the population who cannot be hypnotized.
How long will it take before the hypnosis works (i.e., reduce pain, improve insomnia, etc.)?
Since every person is different, each situation comes with its own set of variables. Sometimes a permanent result can be achieved after two or three sessions, but most cases require several sessions.
Uses of Hypnosis in Psychotherapy
- Pain Relief