“Hypnotherapy – isn’t that just some newfangled, airy-fairy, alternate treatment?”
Many people have no idea how hypnotherapy works, not realising that it has been used in both medicine and religious practice since ancient times. Even more importantly, there is now truckloads of evidence showing that it can be an effective tool when used by clinical professionals.
Research Shows: Hypnotherapy Works
Since the beginning of last century, research has been conducted into the use of hypnotherapy and its effectiveness, across the physical and psychological health fields. Freud was one of the first to recognise that a patient in a hypnotic state – or trance – was more open to receiving and acting upon suggestions, leading to positive behaviour change.
In the 1950’s both the British and American Medical Associations approved the use of hypnotherapy as safe, with no harmful side effects. It is effective, cost efficient and appears to have a longer lasting effect, when compared to other treatment approaches.
Although the word “hypnotherapy” comes from the Greek word “hypno” meaning “sleep”, you do not go to sleep in the treatment process. Rather, hypnosis induces a deeply relaxed state known as “trance”.
The Power of the Subconscious
The state of trance is nothing new to any of us; any time you catch yourself staring out the window, or daydreaming, you are in a trance or hypnotic state. You have dissociated from your immediate environment, and are instead “miles away” – lost in your thoughts (actually your subconscious mind).
As the subconscious mind is home to our memories, habits and emotions, if we want to make changes in these areas, it makes sense to access it directly via trance and hypnosis.
There are a lot of myths surrounding how hypnotherapy works. Some people are concerned about “handing control of their subconscious” to another, or that they may not be able to “wake up” or recall what happened while they were in the hypnosis state. As stated previously, you are not actually asleep during hypnotherapy so remain in full possession of your faculties – just in a very relaxed state. In fact, as part of treatment, you will also learn how to utilise self-hypnosis.
What Can Hypnotherapy Help With?
Evidence shows that hypnotherapy can be helpful with a wide range of issues, including:
- Chronic Pain – When drugs and diet don’t seem to help, you have nothing to lose by trying hypnotherapy!
- Stress and Stress related illness – Modern living tends to mean lots of stress, and we now know that lots of stress means our bodies release lots of the stress hormone, cortisol, making us more vulnerable to heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes etc. Hypnotherapy can help you to relax and lower your stress levels, and teach you techniques that you can practice in your daily life to keep your stress under control.
- Anxiety and Depression – Sufferers of anxiety or depression have often developed faulty thinking patterns. Hypnotherapy can help to challenge these patterns, and replace them with more positive and helpful ones. Whether you experience social anxiety, have a phobia negatively impacting your life, or are troubled by panic atticks, hypnosis can help.
- PTSD, Trauma and Abuse – Hypnosis can be particularly helpful if you have experienced trauma or abuse, by helping you to work through the issues, memories and anxieties that are still impacting you today.
- Grief and Loss – Grief and loss can impact all aspects of our lives eg biological, psychological, spiritual and social.
- Sexual Dysfunction – Erectile dysfunction, low desire, painful intercourse, vaginisimus/vulvodynia, premature ejaculation.
- Eating Disorders – Hypnotherapy can help you and your therapist to identify and address the causes of your disordered eating behaviours, rather than just the symptoms.
- Addictions – Whether you need help to quit smoking, drinking, gambling, or nail biting, hypnotherapy can help you make positive behaviour change as well as help alleviate the physical symptoms of addiction.
- Problems with Sleep – Hypnosis is useful in treating the underlying psychological problem/s that may be causing the sleep difficulties, while at the same time helping you to learn how to put your body in a deeply relaxed state with self-hypnosis.
This is just a brief overview of how hypnotherapy works. If you have been struggling with any of the above issues, or others – from career to relationships – and would like to know how hypnotherapy could work for you, please make an appointment with me soon.
Author: Linda Thomson, B Soc Sci, M Couns, M Social Work, Member of AASW.
Linda Thomson is a Brisbane Psychotherapist with many years of experience in counselling, as well as training, mentoring and providing professional supervision to other mental health professionals. Linda has extensive training in and a passion for sex therapy as she believes that it is such an important and often misunderstood part of our lives.
To make an appointment with Brisbane Psychotherapist Linda Thomson, please call Vision Psychology Mt Gravatt on (07) 3088 5422, or you can book online.