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Taken from WebMD

How Does Hypnosis Work?

Hypnosis is usually considered an aid to psychotherapy (counseling or therapy), because the hypnotic state allows people to explore painful thoughts, feelings, and memories they might have hidden from their conscious minds. In addition, hypnosis enables people to perceive some things differently, such as blocking an awareness of pain.

Hypnosis can be used in two ways, as suggestion therapy or for patient analysis.

  • Suggestion Therapy: The hypnotic state makes the person better able to respond to suggestions. Therefore, hypnotherapy can help some people change certain behaviors, such as stopping smoking or nail-biting. It can also help people change perceptions and sensations, and is particularly useful in treating pain.

  • Patient Analysis: This approach uses the relaxed state to explore a possible psychological root cause of a disorder or symptom, such as a traumatic past event that a person has hidden in his or her unconscious memory. Once the trauma is revealed, it can be addressed in psychotherapy.

What Are the Benefits of Hypnosis?

The hypnotic state allows a person to be more open to discussion and suggestion. It can improve the success of other treatments for many conditions, including:

  • Phobias, fears, and anxiety

  • Sleep disorders

  • Depression

  • Stress

  • Post-trauma anxiety

  • Grief and loss

  • Cancer pain

  • Nausea related to chemotherapy

Hypnosis also might be used to help with pain control and to overcome habits, such as smoking or over-eating. It also might be helpful for people whose symptoms are severe or who need crisis management.

Hypnosis is particularly effective for children.

Case examples:

  1. James has severe chronic right-hand pain which interferes with his writing career. I taught him, under hypnosis, how to move his pain from his right to left hand. He was able to do this with practice and to continue his writing career by moving the pain whenever he needed to write.

  2. Lisa was a 16 y/o adolescent who complained of sharp headache which interfered with her schooling.  Through hypnosis, we uncovered an incident in her first grade re: her very strict Catholic teacher who would walked around the class asking questions. When a student could not give the correct answer, she would get a light knock on the head. This discovery freed her from getting the headache subsequently.

  3. Mary was a 46 years old woman who presented with panic disorder with agoraphobia following a traffic accident. She has had to avoid going by the junction but this was difficult as she has to walk by the junction to go to work. Using a mind-body healing hypnosis approach, she reported experiencing “an eagle soaring up the sky” (later she told me in her Native culture, this means being empowered to take control over her life. After the treatment, she was able to walk by the junction without any fear or panic.

  4. A US veteran with chronic PTSD related to the Korean War became disabled in his job due to persistent guilt that he has betrayed his platoon.  Through a combination of hypnosis and EEG biofeedback, he was able to return in time and re-witness “the scene” of betrayal, and able to see that the death of his platoon did occur due to his error.

  5. Another veteran was diagnosed with migraine and alcohol addiction. He has been invited to his daughter’s wedding but was hesitant to attend due to the following ambivalence: if he refused he would continue to be “a bad father” showing no interest to his daughter’s life; if he attends he would get drunk and made a fool of himself. Again using a combination of EEG biofeedback and hypnotherapy, he was able to attend the wadding and not get drunk. 

Taken from WebMD. See WebMD for more.

For more information, please refer to the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH); and American Pain society (APS) websites.

Hypnosis / Hypnotherapy: Features
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