Hypnosis Therapy and Mental Health
There are many myths and misconceptions surrounding hypnosis and what happens when people are hypnotized. The use of hypnosis is still controversial in the field of mental health, but many people find it helpful for certain issues that they are facing. People might turn to hypnosis to help them quit smoking, lose weight or get over certain phobias.
Although in many cases hypnosis can be a great therapeutic tool some of the controversy surrounding it has made it less common among mental health professionals. There have been some instances of hypnotherapists inducing false memories under regression-based hypnotherapy. This means that patients remember things that never happened because they were convinced that hypnosis would help them recall early childhood memories.
Hypnosis may not be an effective way to help people recall their childhood memories but it can be useful in certain types of behavior modification therapies. People who want to change certain habits and behaviors or even deal with stress related problems may be able to benefit from the use of hypnosis. Hypnosis is even used in some cases to help people manage the symptoms of PTSD.
What is Hypnosis?
When people are put under hypnosis they enter a kind of trance state in which they are relaxed and highly suggestible but also very alert and focused on one thing. Some experts even suggest that hypnosis can occur in everyday life whenever you are concentrating on something and able to tune out all other stimuli such as when you are driving or reading. Hypnotherapists however can bring about this state of mind through intentional relaxation and focusing exercises.
Under hypnosis people experience a heightened imagination in which they feel and see everything the therapist says to them and are able to enter a daydream-like state. They feel uninhibited and fully relaxed, able to tune out their normal worries and doubts which usually guide their actions. In this state, people are able to follow the hypnotherapists suggestions and completely embrace their ideas as long as it is within their own sense of safety and morality.
Hypnotherapy can be effective for treating a number of different issues such as:
- smoking addiction
- weight control
- nail biting
- stress-related problems including chronic pain and hypertension
How to Use Hypnosis
Hypnosis is best used in connection with regular cognitive behavioral therapy if you have a mental illness or are experiencing a lot of stress and anxiety. If you choose to use hypnosis you should see some changes within the first few sessions although it may not work for everyone. If you don’t see any improvements within the first three or four treatments then it might be time to move on to something else.
In terms of mental health, hypnosis should always be performed by a professional trained in medical hypnosis who knows how to get a positive therapeutic result. Stage hypnotists only perform for entertainment and are not trained to help patients with real problems. Self-hypnosis can occasionally be used through listening to CDs or tapes of a professional hypnotist but it may not be as effective if you are dealing with a serious mental illness or addiction.
For people with stress problems, a hypnotist may teach them the right way to self-hypnotize so that they can achieve a more relaxed state in their daily life. Self-hypnosis can then be used in stressful conditions or to ease anxiety and depression. You might need several sessions of ongoing hypnosis if you have a long term or chronic problem.
If you are looking for a hypnotherapist you may be able to get a recommendation from your regular therapist. You can also look through a directory provided by the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis that lists qualified hypnotists in your area.
When you find a hypnotist make sure that you understand what their methods are and what they are going to do when you are in a trance state. Talk to them first and have them describe their treatment strategies. You should never be surprised by what they say when you are hypnotized.
Avoid any hypnotherapist who uses regression-based hypnosis to uncover repressed memories as this can become dangerous and unreliable. If they induce a false memory of trauma then it can lead to additional mental health issues. It also best to avoid hypnotherapy if you have any history of psychosis as it can exacerbate your symptoms.
With a qualified and well-trained hypnotherapist however, you may be able to find a solution to behavioral problems as well as anxiety and depression. The ability to enter a relaxed state can be useful for all kinds of issues that are ultimately related to stress. Hypnosis is most effective if you are naturally more suggestible and are motivated to change your behavior.