Clinical Hypnotherapy

How can Clinical Hypnosis Help You?

Used by permission from Under license

Are you having a hard time breaking a bad habit? Have you been up and down on the weight loss roller coaster for what seems like forever? Do you have chronic pain even after you have exhausted the medical management approaches? These and other aggravating situations can be responsive to clinical hypnosis.

Every New Years millions of people make resolutions for change. Eat more sensibly, lose those ten pounds, quit smoking, get regular exercise, the list goes on. Research says that 80% of us will fail to keep those resolutions by February! Why is it so hard? One helpful way to understand the problem is that one part of our mind-our conscious mind is very dedicated to make the positive change, while another part of our mind – the unconscious is stuck in the old way of thinking. And sheer will power using the conscious mind rarely prevails over habitual thinking.

Of course it is more that these bad habits that are frustratingly persistent. Chronic worry and anxiety, low self-esteem, vulnerability to peer pressure also seem so slow to change for many people. Many of us know what we should be thinking and feeling, but just can’t change our thinking in a sustained way.

It is important to realize that these difficulties are very common. Many, many people struggle with accepting themselves, are frustrated with how they compromise their values to fit in with the crowd instead of sticking to their principles. The various forms of anxiety are also very common with thousands of people finding their lives limited because of anxiety. If you are struggling with one of more of the problems described here, rest assured you are not alone and you are not crazy.

The good news, however, is that these problems can be addressed and relieved in many cases through the use of professionally delivered clinical hypnosis. You can get your life back.

A bit of background first

Hypnosis is simply creating a shift in the mind to create a particular state of consciousness with focused attention and reduced peripheral awareness. People typically experience this numerous times per day. If you meditate, day dream, find yourself being absorbed in a book or music or television, driving and arriving at your destination without recalling all the usual landmarks etc. then you have been in this shift in consciousness. This shift in consciousness enables us to tap into many of our natural abilities and allows us to make change more quickly. Hypnosis is a state of inner absorption, concentration and focused attention. When our minds are concentrated and focused, we are able to use our minds more powerfully.  Clinical hypnosis is using the normal mental phenomenon called trance state to address a psychological or physical problem.

What happens in clinical hypnotherapy?

Hypnosis is a pleasant highly relaxed state which makes it possible to receive beneficial suggestions to the part of the mind known as the subconscious. In most clinical hypnotherapy sessions, a medium trance is used during which metabolism, breathing and heartbeat slow and the brain produces alpha waves. Normal states of consciousness i.e. sleeping, dreaming, being awake, can be detected in the wave patterns produced by the brain. The state of hypnosis differs from all three. The brain waves associated with quiet, receptive states are called alpha waves. In alpha states, the body gradually relaxes.

Any therapeutic intervention implies change, so entering a trance state alone does not signify a therapeutic endpoint. Once the individual has achieved a trance state the therapist uses many different therapeutic methods ranging from simple suggestions to psychoanalysis. For example, the therapist may give suggestions to the subconscious mind aimed at overcoming specific problems such as lack of self confidence.

The initial task of the therapist is to establish rapport with the client. This involves encouraging the client to talk about his or her concerns. The therapist spends time with the client first to take a clinical history. As well as establishing a clinical record, the discussion contributes to building trust and confidence between the therapist and the client. Feeling safe, comfortable and secure with the therapist helps the induction of a hypnotic trance.

Goals for therapy are discussed and agreed and a full explanation of hypnosis is provided. Any questions or misconceptions about hypnosis would also be dealt with.

The actual clinical hypnosis begins with creating a trance state. There are many different ways of achieving trance state. Usually, the person will lie in a reclining chair or couch and the therapist talks in a slow and soothing voice. You may be asked to imagine or visualise walking down a country lane, or stare at a fixed point or listen to the sound of the therapist’s voice. Suggestions for relaxation may also be given. To deepen the trance, the therapist may count you down from 10 to 1 or ask you to imagine walking down a flight of stairs. You will feel very relaxed but still aware of your surroundings.

Suggestions or a regression may follow the creation of the trance state. Which approach used here depends on the client’s needs. For some issues, such as reducing anxiety may simply involve relaxing suggestions woven into a sensory-rich story. More complex behaviour patterns such as overeating or treatment of panic disorders or some  depressions require a more complex therapeutic intervention together with psychological and behavioural homework.

To return to full consciousness, which you can do all by yourself at any time, the therapist may count up from 1 to 10.

The length of treatments depends on the problem or symptom and the individual’s circumstances. With some people a problem like nail biting can be successfully treated in one session. Other problems such as panic attacks can take up to 5 or 6 sessions.

In the course of the therapy clients are usually taught self hypnosis as part of a number of therapeutic homework tasks.

What else might be successfully treated with Clinical hypnosis?

Some physical difficulties have also been shown to be responsive to clinical hypnosis. Of course one should always, without fail bring their medical concern to a medical doctor first. But if that proves unsuccessful, clinical hypnosis can be a worthwhile next step worth exploring. Migraine headaches, blushing, TMJ and Bruxism (teeth grinding), shy bladder, irritable bowel syndrome, bed-wetting in children can be helped with clinical hypnosis. Sexual difficulties such as erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, impotence and inability to orgasm can be responsive to clinical hypnosis.

Questions you may have about hypnosis

Will I be in control when hypnotised?

Yes. In a state of hypnosis a person is still able to hear everything that is said and different people remember different amounts depending on what is appropriate for them given the situation. Everything, however, is stored in the unconscious mind and usually bits trickle back over the days which follow. Only suggestions which are beneficial to the individual will be accepted. If a person hears a suggestion under hypnosis that violated their values, they are entirely able to reject the suggestion. Your therapist will discuss suggestions to be made first as they are then tailored to the individual.

What are the limitations of hypnotherapy?

There are a few situations and people for whom clinical hypnosis is not appropriate. Hypnotherapy might not be appropriate for a person who has psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations and delusions, or for someone who is using drugs or alcohol. If it is being used to address medical issues, it should only be used after a doctor has evaluated the person for any physical disorder that might require medical or surgical treatment.

Some therapists use hypnotherapy to recover repressed memories they believe are linked to the person’s mental disorder. However, it also poses a risk of creating false memories—usually as a result of unintended suggestions by the therapist. For this reason, using hypnotherapy for certain mental disorders, such as dissociative disorders, remains controversial and unadvised.

Is hypnotherapy dangerous?

Hypnotherapy is a safe procedure when done by a trained therapist. Hypnotherapy is not mind control or brainwashing. A therapist cannot make a person do something embarrassing or something the person does not want to do. All hypnosis is ultimately self-hypnosis.

Why not reach out and contact Dr. Don Russell to see if clinical hypnosis can help you.