hypnosis treatment
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Below are a few frequently asked questions regarding hypnosis treatment.

Before you read the sections below it is important to understand what hypnosis treatment is.

What is Hypnosis Treatment?
Hypnosis treatment is being utilized as a therapeutic tool by increasingly more healthcare professionals. Two of the most recognized uses of hypnosis treatment are to lessen pain and to control habits such as smoking or overeating. It is also used to eliminate anxiety and panic attacks successfully, often when other approaches have failed. Hypnosis treatment is without equal when it comes to uncovering and healing psychological trauma such as rape, car accidents or childhood abuse.

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Can I be hypnotized?

Will I be asleep and will I remember what happens?

How does hypnosis treatment help with things like smoking cessation, weight control, anxiety and pain?
Often psychotherapy where hypnosis treatment is utilized is called hypnotherapy. This term is rather confusing because it somewhat implies that the trained therapist abandons every psychotherapy approach ever learned when the hypnosis is used. Rather, the hypnotic state amplifies the mind's ability to help people reach their goals and resolve problems.

Can I be hypnotized?
It is estimated that 90% of the population can be hypnotized. The professional begins work with someone by first explaining to the patient what it is like to be hypnotized. It is explained how we often experience spontaneous states of hypnosis with the eyes opened. For instance, you may have had the experience of driving down the highway where you go many miles through towns, past exists and all of a sudden you say to yourself “I can’t believe that I’m here already.” During the process of driving, we often become absorbed in a variety of activities like the sound of the tires going over the road, the sound of the car motor, the sound of the music on the radio or a tape to which we may be listening, and images of the scenery which are passing us by on the sides of the highway. There are many things which take us into a state of absorption during the process of driving. That state of absorption is a hypnotic trance. It is an example of an eyes opened hypnotic trance typically called “highway hypnosis.” You may also have had the experience of reading a book or watching a television program and someone will come into the room and say something to you. You hear the person but you are absorbed in what you are reading or watching. This again, is an example of an eyes opened hypnotic trance. Being able to be hypnotized is very much about being able to become absorbed in something. When hypnosis is used clinically, which means we are going to use it to solve a problem or achieve a goal. We have people close their eyes to go in to the trance state. The reason people close their eyes is that people can go into even deeper states of the absorption process when they close their eyes.

Will I be asleep and will I remember what happens?
You will not go to sleep and you will remember. There are many misconceptions about what it’s like to be hypnotized. The most common misconception is that people think you will lose awareness in hypnosis. Really quite the opposite occurs. The eyes are closed so you don’t see anything around you, but your awareness about all your senses is dramatically heightened. In the office of a building, you will become more aware of the sounds of traffic outside, sounds in the building, and very aware of any sounds in that office. It is a heightened state of awareness, not a lessened one as many people think.

A second misconception about what it is like to be hypnotized is that people believe you will spontaneously begin to reveal secrets, or anything you have ever kept secret in you life will come babbling out for some reason. Again, hypnosis is a heightened state of awareness. You are more aware of anything you would be thinking about saying, and most certainly aware of anything you would say. No one speaks spontaneously in hypnosis, perhaps even less so in hypnosis. Again, you are in a heightened state of awareness.

A third misconception about what it is like to be in hypnosis is that of amnesia. Most people think you are going to come out of the hypnosis and not remember a thing that happened while you were in the hypnosis. Where that myth comes from is based on a tidbit of fact which has been highly sensationalized by things like books, movies and the stage hypnotist. There are about 5% of the population which are capable of such intense states of the absorption process and have an ability to follow through with a suggestion not to remember something that is suggested, they do not remember once they come out of the trance. Ninety-five percent of the population are not capable of the phenomena even if they thought it would be a nice thing to happen. Even those capable of the amnesia phenomena will reject the suggestion if they find it undesirable. Even when the person is capable of the amnesia phenomena, it won’t hold up for more than a few minutes after the person comes out of the trance. The typical scenario is the stage hypnotist act where the amnesia phenomena is demonstrated with a person in the 5% who is carefully selected from a group of volunteers coming up to a stage to participate. Within minutes after the trance is terminated, the person will spontaneously remember everything that was suggested they not remember. A post hypnotic suggestion for amnesia simply will not hold up for very long at all. Most people remember everything that happens in hypnosis, whether it is suggested they remember or not remember.

How does hypnosis treatment help with things like smoking cessation, weight control, anxiety and pain?
If you revert back to some of the spontaneous states of hypnosis (i.e., driving, reading or watching a movie), a very soothing physiological effect occurs in the body. We experience a relaxation response in our physiology. Muscle tension lessens, blood pressure goes down, respirations slow down and it feels good. That is the reason people like to get absorbed in a really good book or movie. It is said that “all hypnosis is self hypnosis”. What that means is that hypnosis is something that most everyone can do but rarely learns how to do systematically. The professional can guide a person into hypnosis and then embed and condition a cue which will allow the person to easily induce the relaxed state again when needed or desired. Most people report experiencing a relaxation in hypnosis more intense than ever previously experienced.

Being able to do the self hypnosis is very empowering and comforting for lessening cravings for cigarettes or food if that is your purpose. It can also help to dramatically change one’s response to stressors in life and conditions like pain. When hypnosis has been used by women as the only anesthesia for child birth by Caesarean section, it makes its other uses seem quite plausible.

A second way in which hypnosis treatment works is that when a person goes into the hypnotic state, the mind encodes and imprints on things differently. So if we program the mind, so to speak, in the right way, then our mind will encode those things and as a result tend to follow through with those things. The patient can be introduced to the desired suggestions in the work with the therapist and then can amplify and reinforce the effects of the suggestions when they hypnotize themselves periodically.

If you are interested in seeking out someone who specializes in hypnosis treatment you should be cautious and ask about credentials. Hypnosis is not an independent science, but only one modality of medical, psychological and dental treatment. Training in hypnosis alone does not make one a clinician or therapist. The American Society of Clinical Hypnosis is a national society of physicians, dentists, nurses and psychotherapists which certifies only licensed health care professionals in clinical hypnosis. Certification by this organization represents a minimum of standards and training having been met.

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