What is Hypnotherapy?
A Brief History
The history of hypnotic or suggestive therapy is one of the oldest healing techniques, from the Sleep Temples of Egypt through the histories of ancient Greece and Rome some form of hypnosis has always been an intimate part of all cultures. In the early part of the 20th Century hypnosis was used almost exclusively by stage hypnotists, thereby projecting a hopelessly distorted view of this very powerful therapeutic tool. However, in 1955 the British Medical Association endorsed the practice of hypnosis in Medical School education, since when it has become a very valuable addition to conventional medical treatment.
What Is Hypnosis?
The actual experience of hypnosis is very difficult to describe. There is little difference between hypnosis and daydreaming, or becoming involved in a good book or television programme. It is an altered state of awareness which everyone experiences naturally - it's that lovely feeling that one experiences just before going to sleep at night, or as you come out of sleep in the morning. Generally you will be aware of what is going on around you and of what the therapist is saying to you, you will remember a lot of what has happened in your session, and throughout, you are always in control. It is really important to understand that nobody can be hypnotised against their will and even when hypnotised, people can reject any suggestions that do not fit in with their own set of personal belief systems and their own personal integrity.
Who may benefit from Hypnotherapy?
Again, the answer to this question is “virtually everyone”. Given that hypnotherapy can be utilised to access a person’s inner potential and that probably no one is performing to their actual potential, then this answer is literally true. However, it is not just potential which Hypnotherapy is well placed to address but also one’s inner resources to effect beneficial change. In this regard, it is the innate healing capacity of our own body that may be stimulated by Hypnotherapy. Consequently, the list of problems which may be amenable to Hypnotherapy is far too long and varied to catalogue but certainly includes: stress, anxiety, panic, phobias, unwanted habits and addictions (e.g. smoking, overeating, alcoholism), disrupted sleep patterns, lack of confidence and low self-esteem, fear of examinations and public speaking, allergies and skin disorders, migraine and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Additionally, it has proved of value within surgery, where normal anaesthetics have not been practical, in the wider sphere of pain management and in the areas of both sporting and artistic performance enhancement. As an adjunct to other counselling techniques, it can also assist in helping to resolve relationship difficulties and be useful within anger management strategies.
What is Hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy means the use of hypnosis for the treatment and relief of a variety of somatic and psychological symptoms. It can bring relief to existing conditions or to change areas where there are issues. With hypnotherapy it is possible to work with and transform the thoughts that lead to self-limiting beliefs - mainly this is achieved through using complete mental and physical relaxation and visualization techniques. It is vital to have the cooperation of the patient. Hypnotherapy is completely natural and safe and there are no harmful side effects. When administered by a professionally trained and skilled Clinical Hypnosis Practitioner the benefits are long lasting and often permanent. It is often successful when other, more conventional methods of treatment have failed.
Who can be Hypnotised?
The answer to this question is undoubtedly “virtually everyone”. This claim must, however, be qualified by the observation that some are more readily hypnotisable than others and that it will also depend upon one’s willingness to be hypnotised at the time.
Common concerns and misconceptions
People are sometimes concerned that they will “lose control” in hypnosis. However, general consensus indicates that regardless of how deeply people may go in hypnosis and however passive they may appear to be, they actually remain in full control of the situation. They are fully able to talk if they wish to (or not, as the case may be) and can stand up and leave the room at any time. Neither can a hypnotised person be made to do anything against their usual ethical or moral judgement or religious belief. It is likely that the notion of a loss of control stems from most people’s misconception of stage hypnosis, wherein participants are apparently made to perform all manner of (usually foolish) acts. However, the reader should be aware that participation in a stage act is an entirely voluntary process (thus “permission” is already given to the hypnotist) and that there can be no such volunteer who is unaware of exactly what they are letting themselves in for!
Stewart Boardman is a
Modern Clinical Hypnotherapist based in East Ardsley, Leeds, Wakefield, and the surrounding areas. Stewart Boardman Hypnotherapy is based between Leeds and Wakefield just off the M62 and M1 motorways