Modern Clinical Hypnosis – Part One
By Ron Klein, MCS, NBCCH
Modern Clinical Hypnosis – Part One
Just what is hypnosis?
Hypnosis is a word that means one person helping another to experience a trance. This trance experience “belongs” to the person or patient, so really all hypnosis is self-hypnosis.
What is a trance?
Trance is a very natural, everyday experience for all of us. You, the reader, have been in and out of a trance a number of times since you woke up this morning. For example, when you stare off into space and you daydream or fantasize. Or, when you have been riding down the highway and are lost in your own thoughts or entranced in a conversation with a passenger and are surprised that you have forgotten part of the ride or that you traveled so far. A person can be entranced reading a good book, listening to music or watching a TV show. Trance is a conscious experience but an altered or alternate state of consciousness.
How does hypnosis work?
All hypnosis involves a focus of consciousness on something (e.g., the hypnotists voice, staring at a spot on the wall or imagining something in ones mind like consecutive numbers). Since the persons conscious attention is concentrated or focused, the person “lets go” of control of the unconscious mind.
The “unconscious” includes the automatic, unconscious behaviors and experiences, and the functioning of the involuntary nervous system. The unconscious usually is quite significant in terms of our emotional experience. Many emotional and behavioral problems are significantly influenced by unconscious processes.
What is self-hypnosis?
Self-hypnosis means going into a trance by yourself. Usually a person who is practicing self-hypnosis will use a structured procedure or “induction” which involves a focus of consciousness. After practicing self-hypnosis a number of times, many people can just “let go” and go into a trance without needing the induction procedure. Most people find self-hypnosis requires first being hypnotized by a hypnotherapist.
What is clinical hypnosis helpful or useful for?
Hypnosis is not a cure-all. However, often the results of hypnosis can be quite dramatic and effective. The usefulness or limitations of hypnosis continue to be explored. However, current research indicates that hypnosis is as effective or more effective way than many other approaches for a wide range of problems. Importantly, hypnosis is a tool to be used by a professional within that persons professional orientation and training. For example, a dentist might use hypnosis to help a patient with dental pain or fear of dental procedures, but not treat fear of public speaking.
Can anyone be hypnotized?
The two variables that are most important for being hypnotized are (1) the persons motivation and (2) the person feeling secure and comfortable within the hypnotists setting. Some people may have a little harder time “letting go” into trance than others. Nonetheless, the fact is, everyone is capable of experiencing hypnosis.
What about the level or depth of trance?
Different experiences can be associated with various levels of trance. However, there is little relationship between the depth of trance and the effectiveness of hypnosis. For example, just as many persons with whom I have used hypnosis for cigarette smoking cessation were successful who experienced lighter states of trance as those who experienced a deep trance.
Look for part two in next months issue of Your Health Magazine where questions such as Will I cluck like a chicken? Is hypnosis like being asleep? Can someone not wake up from hypnosis or trance? Are hypnosis and biofeedback the same? How does hypnosis for cigarette smoking cessation and diet control work?, will be answered.
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