Hypnosis therapy (hypnotherapy) is a very powerful tool for healing and change. It can greatly accelerate progress in traditional talk therapy as an adjunct intervention and work well as a stand alone treatment for certain target problems. Any issue that is appropriate for psychotherapy can also be helped through hypnotherapy:
- smoking cessation
- weight loss
- performance anxiety
- habit change
- post-traumatic stress disorder
- problems with focus and concentration/ADD and ADHD
There are many myths that surround hypnotherapy that keep people from seeking what can be a very effective and speedy treatment modality. Many people believe that being hypnotized means being in a foggy, almost drugged-like state. A good, working trance state is very simply a state of relaxation. In a positive trance state, a person feels very much like themselves, but more relaxed, and, with many extraneous distractions falling away in this state of calm, more able to focus and concentrate on effectively working through problems. And all that is needed to do important work in hypnosis is a good, light, working trance. A deeper state is not necessary, and a state of being “out of it” and not aware even if dire circumstances arose such as a fire alarm is not a positive trance state and not the goal of hypnotherapy. The other negative myth surrounding hypnosis is the idea of loss of control. Everyone hears stories about people being hypnotized against their will and made to “cluck like a chicken”. Most people can not be hypnotized against their will, only those with severe, unresolved early childhood trauma. In hypnotherapy, the therapist is merely guiding you to help yourself into a nice working trance state. It is something one does to oneself with assistance, very much like a guided meditation.
Who can do it?
The ability to reach a good working trance state is partly physiological and partly practice. About 40% of the population has the innate ability and can reach this state very easily. About 35% of the population can do this with a little practice. It is not known for certain whether the remaining 25% can learn to reach this state with a lot of practice over an extended period or may simply never be good candidates for hypnotherapy. There are differing opinions about this in the field.
Alison Saylor, MFT is a graduate of the California Institue of Clinical Hypnosis’ Comprehensive Training Program in Ericksonian and Clinical Hypnosis. She has been offering hypnosis therapy since 1996.