Many people who have not experienced hypnosis fear that it is an altered state where they may lose control, or be subjected to embarrassing suggestions. Stage hypnosis has contributed to this misconception.
Hypnosis is a state of deep relaxation not unlike the trance-like states that we naturally experience when we are fully absorbed in a task. Many people have had the experience of driving when they realise that they have not paid conscious attention to their driving for several minutes. Hypnosis is similar to this experience, when the conscious mind remains focussed, but our awareness has shifted to a more inward-looking state. The external stimuli become less important and our inner experience becomes more vivid.
Hypnotherapy uses this experience of freeing the conscious mind to allow for an inner focus. The hypnotherapist assists in this process by encouraging relaxation, and then makes suggestions that are based on goals discussed prior to hypnotic induction. The suggestions are designed to help shift entrenched patterns of behaviour or unhelpful beliefs.
Hypnosis is incorporated into a normal therapy session once a good sense of rapport has been established. It is important that you feel a sense of trust with your therapist before engaging in this process. The results can be surprisingly effective, as much of our behaviour is unconsciously controlled. Hypnosis allows for a shift in inner processes, as we are most open to learning and change when in a trance state.
Hypnosis is particularly effective in treating anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, insomnia, and addictions. It may also be helpful for couples experiencing sexual difficulties.