Myths About Hypnosis


How Clinical Hypnosis is Used

Clinical hypnotherapy can be used in various ways. For one, guided mental imagery is very powerful in a state of mind such as hypnosis. The mind responds to imagery to assist in bringing about personal changes and desired outcomes. A client with an unwanted behavior may be encouraged in hypnosis to vividly imagine acting differently and more appropriately. The unconscious mind then has a tendency to bring about the imagined change. Another client, with a fear of some sort, might be invited to imagine being a supportive advisor to herself, and as a result, find the fearful response no longer troubles her. Athletes, teachers and business people are currently being taught to use hypnotic mental imagery to enhance their performances.

Another basic hypnotic approach that is often used by Hypnotherapists, is to offer hypnotic and post-hypnotic suggestions to the client. Suggestions given while in hypnosis are more likely to be accepted by the client’s unconscious. When hypnotic suggestions are given that encourage beneficial changes, they can dynamically influence the client’s life into the future.

Clinical hypnosis can also be used to better understand underlying motivations for emotional or behavioral difficulties. Hypnosis provides a safe and secure state of mind in which to both examine the roots of problems and explore promising alternatives. The Hypnotherapist can then help the client select from the alternatives and make healthier choices.

Mental health applications include but are not limited to: Addictions; allergies; anxiety; phobia; stress management; post-traumatic stress; bed-wetting; depression; sports performance; smoking cessation; obesity and weight management; sleep disorders; stress related high blood pressure; self-image; sexual dysfunctions; concentration, test anxiety and learning disorders; interpersonal communications; fitness; marriage and family issues; undesirable behaviors and habits; abuse.

Medical applications include but are not limited to: Childbirth; gastrointestinal disorders; skin problems; warts; pain; relief of nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy and pregnancy.

The Benefits of Hypnotherapy and Self-Hypnosis

When the Health-Care Professional is well trained in both the utilization of hypnosis as a specialty or sub-specialty, and is qualified as a healthcare professional to treat any specific problem, clinical hypnotherapy can be utilized successfully for a variety if mental health and medical issues. Some people seem to have higher initial hypnotic responsiveness, while others may need more training to reach useful levels of hypnosis for hypnotic therapy. However, according to Milton H. Erickson, M.D., who is considered the world’s leading authority on hypnosis, everyone is hypnotizable and can benefit from hypnotherapy.

Of course, hypnosis is most effective when the client or patient is motivated to change. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind that hypnotherapy, like any other therapeutic modality, can benefit some people more than others.

Myths About Hypnosis

Many false beliefs about hypnosis are based on what people read in novels, see in the movies or stage hypnosis shows. People are also concerned that being hypnotized means loss of control or that only weak-willed people can be hypnotized. This too is a falsehood, and, in fact, the opposite is the case. Learning to experience hypnosis and to use self-hypnosis provides more self-control for the client. The idea that people will do out of the ordinary things is perpetuated by stage hypnotism shows. Stage hypnotists select people from the audience who are willing to be responsive, but more importantly, may have exhibitionist tendencies and go along for the show. Novelists and film writers create works of fiction and are also in the entertainment business. Unfortunately, these hypnosis stage shows, and entertainment portrayals help create myths about hypnosis which sometimes discourage people from seeking genuine hypnotherapy and the help they need.

Another myth is that people “go under” and experience a loss of consciousness while in hypnosis. As a result, they mistakenly think they will be “knocked out” and won’t remember what happened during their hypnotic session. In fact, hypnosis is state of heightened awareness. However, because there is an inward focused of attention, some extraneous external happenings may not be noticed. Nonetheless, people usually can remember everything that occurs in hypnosis. It is important to note that in everyday living we tend to forget a lot. Just think of how many times two people can argue about what was said within the last few minutes.

Finally, in hypnosis, the client is not under the control of the hypnotist because hypnosis is not something that is imposed on people. The Hypnotherapist merely serves as a facilitator or teacher helping the client discover that hypnosis is a natural, safe and useful state of mind they allow themselves to experience. Modern hypnotherapy is often referred to as a co-active, or collaborative approach. The Hypnotherapist assists the client to discover their own inner resources and path to well-being.

Qualified Hypnotherapists

Mental health and medical professionals practice hypnosis as a specialty or sub-specialty. As in choosing any health care professional, clients should make an effort to carefully assess qualifications when selecting a Hypnotherapist. Careful questioning can help you avoid choosing wrongly. Ask if the person is licensed in their field by their state. The exception may be a few states where a mental health profession is not yet licensed (ask about the professional association the practitioner belongs to in those cases). Association affiliations for health-care professionals include, but are not limited to, the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the National Association for Social Workers, the National Board for Certified Counselors, National Association for Drug Abuse Counselors, the National Association of Marriage & Family Counselors, the American Counselors Association, the American Dental Association, and the American Pastoral Counselors Association.

Certification as a National Board Hypnotherapist

Check for certification by The National Board for Certified Clinical Hypnotherapists (NBCCH). NBCCH is the only nationally recognized certification organization for health care professionals using hypnosis). There are several levels of certification: Regular (NBCCH), Diplomate (NBCDCH), and Fellow (NBCFCH). If you have questions about any Hypnotherapist’s qualifications or credentials, contact the NBCCH office.

Organizations that refer people seeking the services of a Hypnotherapist to NBCCH

The American Heart Association ● The International Union of Bricklayers ● The American Lung Association ● The American Cancer Society ● The American Professional Insurance Agency ● The Psychotherapy Networker ● The American Counselor Association ● Various state licensing boards ● Many company employee assistance programs, hospitals and community mental health clinics throughout the U.S.

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