What is Clinical Hypnosis?
For many, the word hypnosis conjures up images of circus sideshows or comedy acts, rather than a beneficial tool in the management and treatment of a wide range of conditions encountered in the practice of medicine, psychiatry and psychotherapy. According to the American Psychological Association, “Hypnosis is a procedure during which a health professional or researcher suggests, while treating someone, that he or she experience changes in sensations, perceptions, thoughts, or behavior”.
Hypnosis is not psychotherapy nor is it a treatment in and of itself. Hypnosis should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment. However, hypnosis can and should be used to facilitate, compliment, and enhance various therapies and treatments. In addition, hypnosis can actually teach people how to master their own states of awareness, and in doing so, positively affect their own physical and psychological health.
How does hypnosis work?
People differ in the ways they respond to hypnosis just as with any other experience. A person’s ability to respond to hypnosis can be impacted by fears or misconceptions, such as “losing control” over their behavior. The truth is, the person being hypnotized remains in control of their behavior. If you wouldn’t normally cluck and strut like a chicken on stage in front of hundreds of people, you won’t do it under a hypnotic suggestion either! People remain aware of who they are, where they are, and remember what transpired during hypnosis. Being open to suggestion makes it easier for people to experience the therapeutic effects of hypnosis but it does not force them to have experiences.
Practical uses for hypnosis*
Hypnosis is used in real life as part of a treatment plan for numerous physical and psychological health issues including dysfunctional habits, anxiety, stress-related illness, and pain management. Outside of pure health-related applications, hypnosis is widely used to enhance goal achievement and performance in sports, the arts, test taking, and business. Here are some of the more common applications:
*The decision to use hypnosis as a complimentary treatment should only be made based on consultation with a qualified health care professional (e.g. physician, licensed professional counselor) who has also been trained in the use of hypnosis.
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