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WHAT IS HYPNOTHERAPY?

According to the Mayo Clinic: Hypnosis, also referred to as hypnotherapy or hypnotic suggestion, is a trance-like state in which you have heightened focus and concentration. Hypnosis is usually done with the help of a therapist using verbal repetition and mental images. When you're under hypnosis, you usually feel calm and relaxed, and are more open to suggestions.

Hypnosis can be used to help you gain control over undesired behaviors or to help you cope better with anxiety or pain. It's important to know that although you're more open to suggestion during hypnosis, you don't lose control over your behavior.

See Mayo Clinic Definition

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center: The term "hypnosis" comes from the Greek word hypnos, meaning "sleep." Hypnotherapists use exercises that bring about deep relaxation and an altered state of consciousness, also known as a trance. A person in a deeply focused state is unusually responsive to an idea or image. But this does not mean that a hypnotist can control the person's mind and free will. On the contrary, hypnosis can actually teach people how to master their own states of awareness. By doing so they can affect their own bodily functions and psychological responses.

 


 

WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF HYPNOTHERAPY?

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Throughout history, trance states have been used by shamans and ancient peoples in rituals and religious ceremonies. But hypnosis as we know it today was first associated with the work of an Austrian physician named Franz Anton Mesmer. In the 1700s, Mesmer believed that illnesses were caused by magnetic fluids in the body getting out of balance. He used magnets and other hypnotic techniques (the word "mesmerized" comes from his name) to treat people. But the medical community was not convinced. Mesmer was accused of fraud, and his techniques were called unscientific.

Hypnotherapy regained popularity in the mid-1900s due to Dr. Milton H. Erickson (1901 - 1980), a successful psychiatrist who used hypnosis in his practice and Dr. John Kappas (1925-2002) who founded the Hypnosis Motivation Institute. In 1958, both the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association recognized hypnotherapy as a valid medical procedure. Since 1995, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has recommended hypnotherapy as a treatment for chronic pain.

Other conditions for which hypnotherapy is frequently used include anxiety trauma and addiction.

 

HOW DOES HYPNOSIS WORK?

When something happens to us, we remember it and learn a particular behavior in response to what happened. Each time something similar happens, our physical and emotional reactions attached to the memory are repeated. Sometimes these reactions are unhealthy. In some forms of hypnotherapy, a trained therapist guides you to remember the event that led to the first reaction, separate the memory from the learned behavior, and replace unhealthy behaviors with new, healthier ones.

During hypnosis, your body relaxes and your thoughts become more focused. Like other relaxation techniques, hypnosis lowers blood pressure and heart rate, and changes certain types of brain wave activity. In this relaxed state, you will feel at ease physically yet fully awake mentally, and you may be highly responsive to suggestion. Your conscious mind becomes less alert and your subconscious mind becomes more focused.

See University of Maryland Hypnotherapy Overview

 

 



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Disclaimer:
Hypnotherapists work with vocational and avocational self-improvement and are not licensed by the State of California as healing arts practitioners.
Some conditions may require a medical or psychological referral.