Guided Hypnosis

NAME:

Guided hypnosis, hypnotherapy


PURPOSE/EFFECTS:

In a hypnotherapy session led by a professional hypnotherapist, the subject is slowly led through a monologue given by the therapist that relaxes the body and mind while keeping the latter in a state of subdued alertness.  In this trance state, the mind becomes more open to forms of suggestion toward specific or general healthy behaviors.  Hypnosis also promotes relaxation and is a good stress relief technique.  Hypnotherapy has been strongly indicated as a treatment for gastrointestinal problems, chronic pain, anxiety, and countless other conditions.


METHOD:

Summary

Find a hypnotherapist and undergo sessions with her or him, addressing your individual needs.


Long Version

1. To decide if hypnotherapy is right for you, you should first make a list of what you feel you need to address.  Many individuals use hypnosis for very specific reasons, quitting smoking and weight loss being two of the most popular, but hypnotherapy is also very effective as a general stress and emotion management technique.

2. Decide what kind of hypnotherapist interests you: you can find social workers, counselors, and psychologists certified in hypnotherapy.  If you are interested in talk therapy in addition to hypnotherapy, many professionals will offer a combination of both.  This can be especially helpful if you tend to bottle up your emotions; by talking a bit first, your hypnotherapist can suggest messages that would be particularly helpful.

3. Look around.  You can start by going through the National Board of Certified Hypnotherapists' website or do a Google search using your area.  If you know people in the mental health community, you may want to ask around for recommendations.  When you find a hypnotherapist, ask her or him about areas of specialization.  There are hypnotherapists who specialize in anxiety, in eating disorders, in irritable bowel syndrome, and nearly anything else you might need.  When you find someone who looks promising, make an appointment.

4. During your first appointment, you and your therapist will probably begin by just talking.  She or he will want to know about your life and what concerns brought you in.  Be honest and forthright, as you would be with any therapist.  The information you give now will help her or him tailor the hypnosis session to your needs.

5. She or he might suggest a mini-session during the first appointment, so that you can see how you respond to the trance state.  If she or he doesn't recommend it, and you have time, you can choose to bring it up as a possibility.

6. Your hypnosis session will begin with you relaxing into a comfortable position in a chair or on a couch and closing your eyes.  Your practitioner will then begin to read or recite a monologue that encourages your body to relax.  Don't think too hard about what's going on or worry that you're not relaxing enough.  Try to just listen.

7. You will start to sink into a relaxed state of trance.  In this state, you may find your body reacting in strange ways: your limbs might tingle, you might hallucinate that you are rocking back and forth, etc.  Don't be afraid; these are perfectly normal and safe.

8. The therapist will then take the opportunity to offer messages that correspond to the needs you addressed earlier, often in addition to messages of general physical and emotional wellbeing.  Hypnosis will have put you in a state of susceptibility to these suggestions.

9. Slowly, your therapist will ease you out of the trance, gently and with easy breaths.  You will remember what has been said, but it will most likely seem a little hazy.  You body may feel extremely relaxed, to the point of being on pins and needles.  Be sure to get up slowly.

10. Adjust your appointment schedule to your needs.  Maintenance for anxiety reduction and general wellbeing may only require a session or two a month, while appointments intending specific results like quitting smoking may require more frequent sessions at first that taper off over time.



HISTORY:

The 18th-century German physician Franz Mesmer developed a primitive form of hypnosis based on what he called "animal magnetism" that became known as "Mesmerism".  In 1841 the Scottish physician James Braid took these ideas and developed what he called hypnotism.  Many psychologists of the day became fascinated by hypnotism and began used its effects on suggestion in their own experiments and trails.  Freud began as an enthusiastic proponent of hypnotism but eventually abandoned it in favor of psychoanalysis.  Now hypnotherapy is a discipline divided into many divergent branches used to treat almost every condition you could think of.


CAUTIONS:

Hypnosis can often bring about powerful emotions.  You may feel the urge to cry afterward, or you might feel light-headed and airy.  This is normal and okay.


NOTES:

A hypnotherapist will not have control over you; you will still be awake and rational.  The stage hypnosis you see on TV where the hypnotist can bend people to his will is just showbiz.

Hypnotic regression is a controversial procedure in which the hypnotherapist sometimes uses the trance state to access repressed memories, generally of traumatic experiences like child abuse..  Most hypnotherapists do not do these extreme forms of hypnotic regression and many are strongly opposed to it.  However, if you are interested in this form of hypnotherapy, consult with your practitioner.

This video explains how hypnotherapy actually works:

Concrete Explanation of Hypnotherapy



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