Understanding Hypnosis—What Is It and What It’s for
Hypnosis or hypnotherapy is a procedure that brings a person to a state of trance and high mental focus. This procedure should only be done by a professional therapist. The technique involves use of suggestion that brings the subject to relaxation. Unfortunately, some movies and television shows portray this procedure erroneously, using unusual methods and tools. In real life, however, it is used in psychological therapy to reduce sensation of pain and to abate anxiety.
Purpose of Hypnosis
One of the popular medical applications of hypnosis is for treatment of anxiety. It works in this case as it brings the patient into a state of relaxation, which helps quiet down brain activity that gives rise to anxiety. This is important in patients who are about to undergo surgical procedures. Surgery triggers anxiety in many patients, and one way to put a lid on the jitters is to perform hypnosis.
Clinical studies now assess the effects of hypnotherapy in the management of pain caused by a wide variety of disorders such as migraines, cancer, and abdominal problems. In addition, research also aims at finding out whether this technique can actually be used in treating sleep disorders, drug addiction, bad habits, and eating problems.
A lot of people think that hypnosis involves someone swinging an amulet in front of the subject until the latter falls asleep. In reality, it does not work that way, and it certainly does not involve some witchcraft ritual. Professional therapists who conduct hypnosis don’t have special powers or magic. They carry out the procedure in a standard way. For the procedure to be successful, the subject should cooperate.
Dangers of Hypnosis
Hypnosis may tax the subject’s brain in some cases, especially when done by an inexperienced coach. Reported bad effects of the procedure include headaches, dizziness, and anxiety. A few people suffer from false memories due to hypnotherapy that has gone wrong. Therapists should employ caution when subjects into regression. When this method goes wrong, memory distortion can occur. On the other hand, hypnotherapy is never suggested for severely mentally ill people.
Before the procedure, the therapist should explain the process and its goal. He then proceeds by talking in a soft voice and making the patient imagine images that bring about peace. The patient needs to reach a receptive state for hypnosis to be successful. The therapist gets on with the goal of the procedure and suggests possible ways to resolve the patient’s issues. During the receptive stage, the therapist or coach facilitates visualization of images that will motivate the patient to meet his goals or resolve his problems. Take note that during this state, the patient is actually conscious and aware of what is going on. In fact, he definitely will remember the events that transpired during the whole session.
At the end of the session, the therapist shall rouse the subject from the state of trance, but in some cases patients are able to come out of trance on their own.
Trained people can bring themselves to a hypnotic state. Self-hypnosis is applicable during instances when it is impractical to call a therapist. People who suffer from frequent migraines or anxiety may benefit from self-hypnosis. Nonetheless, it remains imperative to consult a professional.