Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy
Hypnosis is a procedure through which a subject experiences changes in sensations, perceptions, thoughts, and or behavior. The hypnotic context is generally established through an induction procedure. Although there are different hypnotic inductions, most include suggestions for relaxation, calmness, and well-being. Instructions to imagine, think, or visualize pleasant experiences are also commonly included in hypnotic inductions.
What happens in hypnosis?
People respond to hypnosis in different ways. Most describe hypnosis as a normal state of focused attention, in which they feel very calm and relaxed. Regardless of how and to what degree they respond, most people describe the experience as very pleasant. Most people are very responsive to hypnotic suggestions. A person’s ability to respond to hypnotic suggestions can be inhibited by fears and concerns arising from common misconceptions. Contrary to some depictions of hypnosis in books, movies, or television, people who have been hypnotized do not lose control over their behavior. They typically remain aware of whom they are and where they are, and unless amnesia has been specifically suggested, they usually remember what transpired during hypnosis. Hypnosis makes it easier for people to experience post-hypnotic suggestions, but it does not force them to have these experiences.
Hypnotherapy is not a therapy like psychoanalysis. It is vocational and avocational (self-improvement) counseling. Additionally, it has medical applications when a client is referred, by a dentist or physician. Only credentialed professionals, who have been trained in the use of hypnosis, and are working within the scope of their professional expertise, should use hypnosis.
What is a hypnotherapist?
This question is common from individuals encountering the profession of hypnotherapy for the first time. While the media has increasingly presented the virtues of hypnosis for a wide variety of applications, rarely do they make the distinction between hypnotherapists and healthcare or psychological care professionals.
Many people assume that a hypnotherapist must be a psychologist or medical doctor. Hypnotherapy however, is a profession whose scope of practice and preparation is quite different from these other professions.
Only the medical doctor is recognized to diagnose and treat medical disorders. Medical disorders can be defined as any symptom with a medical etiology; such as headaches, backaches, blurred vision, disease, etc.
The psychologist is the professional trained to diagnose and treat emotional and mental disorders.
If medical disorders are the domain of the medical doctor and emotional and mental disorders the scope of the psychologist, what then is the domain of the hypnotherapist?
The answer is vocational and avocational self-improvement counseling. In simple language, these areas involve areas that do not qualify as a medical disorder or an emotional or psychological disorder. They are the little things that the majority of Americans struggle with on a daily basis.
In the United States, 63% of the adult population is overweight, 21% smoke cigarettes, and 30% suffer from some form of insomnia. It is probably even safe to say that 95 % of the people you know would like to improve in some area or another. Improving sports performance, increasing confidence and motivation, addressing a fear of public speaking, and more are all specialties of a hypnotherapist.
Unlike psychologists and medical doctors, the hypnotherapist is the only professional specifically trained to work in these areas. Additionally, hypnotherapists can work, by way of referral from dentists, medical doctors, and psychologists, with issues beyond the scope of vocational and avocational counseling.
California does not have an explicit statute or regulation requiring licensure for hypnotists or hypnotherapy. California Business and Professions Code 2908 exempts persons using hypnotic techniques from the psychology licensing act to do vocational or avocational self-improvement as long as they do not treat emotional, mental, or medical disorders. Business and Professions Code 2908 also exempts persons using hypnotic techniques when they are working under referral of persons licensed to practice psychology, dentistry, or medicine.
What is hypnosis used for?
Hypnosis has been used in the treatment of pain, depression, anxiety, stress, habit disorders, and many other psychological and medical problems. The decision to use hypnosis as an adjunct to medical or psychiatric treatment can only be made in consultation with a qualified health care provider. In addition to its use in clinical settings, hypnosis is used in research, with the goal of learning more about the nature of hypnosis itself, as well as its impact on sensation, perception, learning, memory, and physiology. Researchers also study the value of hypnosis in the treatment of physical and psychological conditions.
Hypnotherapy has proved effective with phobias, anesthesia, and especially attitude behavior modifications. It can create the all-important positive attitude necessary for everything from attaining one’s goals to speeding healing. It can enhance learning, develop motivation, build confidence, and improve relationships.
A highly competent hypnotherapist, working with a client-subject of average suggestibility, can bring about significant achievements. Relaxation can be induced to relieve the pressures of stress at home and at work, or to alleviate insomnia. Additionally, problem habits can be brought under control. Examples of typical problem habits include smoking, overeating, and unwanted mannerisms.
Hypnotherapy has been emerging as an exceedingly valuable discipline in helping people achieve their goals and objectives.
The following provides an easy to understanding analogy about how hypnosis can be used to change behaviors that my be limiting ones capacity to achieve goals and objectives.