What is hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is a complementary technique that uses hypnosis to help treat certain symptoms or health problems. Hypnotherapy works by promoting a hypnotic state marked by conscious awareness that allows people to gain a state of mindfulness. This helps them focus on internal experiences.
The discovery of the healing process of hypnosis began in the late 1700s but did not receive scientific approval until recently. Modern researchers have thoroughly investigated how hypnosis can be used, the conditions it can treat, and its effectiveness compared to other treatments.
Methods commonly used in hypnotherapy
During a hypnotherapy session, people are guided through techniques to induce a trance-like state that helps them focus their attention, respond more easily to suggestions, and feel relaxed. Hypnotherapy uses a heightened awareness of the hypnotic state to help you focus more deeply on your problems.
Hypnotherapy uses techniques such as:
Relaxation: A hypnotherapist will guide you to find yourself in a state of calm and relaxation, even in the face of your problematic or dangerous behaviour.
Suggestions: Your hypnotherapist can offer gentle suggestions for behaviour changes that can help you overcome your problems. For example, you can be taught to see yourself as a supportive counsellor during a phobic reaction, thereby learning to trust yourself and your ability to work through the situation.
Coping Skills: You can learn some cognitive-behavioural coping skills, such as guided imagery and Stop! techniques, which you can use when facing fear or anxiety.
Exploration of past experiences: You may be encouraged to talk about the first time you experienced a behaviour or problem you are trying to overcome and how you felt then.
9 Exciting Benefits of Hypnotherapy
Hypnotherapy has been shown to be as effective as other forms of therapy, such as cognitive behavioural therapy, which uses relaxation and imagery techniques. It has also been shown to be effective when used to reduce anxiety in people with dental anxiety and phobias.
Hypnotherapy has been shown to be effective when used to treat long-term depression symptoms. It has been shown to be effective in cognitive behavioural therapy, and when used in tandem, effectiveness appears to increase.
- Irritable bowel syndrome
Research, including randomized controlled trials, supports the use of hypnotherapy to treat irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. A 2015 study of 1000 patients receiving gut-focused hypnotherapy in general clinical practice found hypnotherapy to be an effective intervention for refractory IBS. Gut-directed hypnotherapy is recommended in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome by the American College of Gastroenterology clinical guidelines for the management of IBS.
There is evidence to support the use of hypnotherapy to treat symptoms associated with menopause, including hot flashes. The North American Menopause Society recommends hypnotherapy for the non-hormonal management of vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause, giving it the highest level of evidence.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and its symptoms have been shown to improve with the introduction of hypnotherapy, both long-term and short-term. As research continues, hypnotherapy is increasingly being seen as an effective intervention for people with PTSD.
Hypnotherapy is often used during pregnancy and childbirth. However, there is not enough evidence to determine whether it reduces pain during childbirth and there is no evidence that it is effective against pain. However, in 2013, a study was conducted in Denmark, during which it was concluded that “the process of self-hypnosis improves the experience of childbirth in women and reduces fear”.
Modern hypnotherapy is also accepted for the treatment of certain behavioural problems, to control irrational fears and addictions. Genetics, the environment, upbringing, and childhood experiences can combine to make some people more susceptible to drug addiction than others. Hypnosis can help you break any habit, whether it is a dependency on food, alcohol, drugs, tobacco, or gambling. Hypnotherapy can help you reprogram your thinking and behaviour by making sure you’re committing to the right choices, and it works to reduce the physical symptoms of addiction.
- Insomnia and sleep disorders
Sleep disorders can lead to many other health problems such as obesity and addiction to the use of sleeping pills, caffeine, or other stimulants in an effort to keep the body alert even when tired. Sleep disorders are often difficult to treat. Many sleep disorders are related to psychological conditions that require people to receive psychological and physical therapy in order to sleep. Hypnotherapy can help solve mental problems that make sleep difficult while putting the body in a state of relaxation that helps the body and mind to recover.
- Stress reduction
Hypnosis can help reduce stress. Stress can cause serious diseases in people such as heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and sleep problems. When you are stressed in life and you have trouble relaxing, hypnosis can be a wonderful solution. The result will be increased energy and alertness. If you feel like you can’t manage your stress levels with diet, exercise, and medication, it’s time to consider what hypnotherapy and hypnosis can do for you. Because hypnosis is about putting you in a deep state of relaxation, it allows your mind and body to recover, repair and heal itself. This is because it has the relaxation it so desperately needs.
Hypnosis is also used to improve recovery from non-psychological conditions such as after surgery, in breast cancer care, and even in bowel problems.
There are few known risks associated with hypnotherapy. Some people may experience a temporary increase in anxiety or distress during or after a hypnotherapy session, but this is generally not serious and should resolve on its own. In rare cases, hypnotherapy may trigger a psychological condition called dissociative disorder, in which the person experiences an altered state of consciousness and a loss of connection with their thoughts, feelings, and environment. If you are considering hypnotherapy, it is important to talk to your doctor and choose a licensed therapist who is trained in this technique.