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How Hypnosis Works as a Therapeutic Treatment

How Hypnosis Works as a Therapeutic Treatment

First, let’s clarify some of the myths. All the following statements about hypnosis are demonstrably false:

  1. People who are easily hypnotized are mentally weak. (In fact, hypnosis requires a good deal of concentration and self-control, while being open to suggestion does not override one’s pre-existing values and behavioral patterns.)
  2. People who are hypnotized are asleep, helpless, and/or unable to lie.
  3. Hypnosis can cure people’s problems or show dramatic results in a single session.
  4. Hypnosis can be reliably used for memory retrieval. (While people may conjure images and memories while in a hypnotic state, but the veracity of these memories is often questionable at best.)
  5. The manner and stage presence of show-business hypnotherapists is needed to induce a hypnotic state.

So, what then is hypnosis? A hypnotic state is characterized by a focused meditation that causes one’s surroundings to recede from their conscious mind, while making one open to suggestion. To this point, it’s not that someone can force you to do something you wouldn’t ordinarily do. Instead, hypnosis ideally enables you to do, perceive, or experience things in a way you wanted to all along but were unable to in a normal state of mind.

 

Does Hypnosis Work?

In a general sense, yes, it works. Studies going back more than 50 years have consistently found improved mental health for those who receive hypnotherapy, compared to control groups. Yet, to this day, we’re still not really sure how it works. But don’t let this lack of explanation put you off hypnosis. The same thing can be said for antidepressant drugs and several other types of mental health therapy. Also like other forms of treatment, hypnotherapy doesn’t work for everyone. It is most often recommended for clients who are trying to quit smoking, lose weight, sleep better, or deal with depression or anxiety. A full list of conditions can be found here.

 

Will Hypnosis Work for You?

Overall, how effective hypnosis can be may depend more on the client’s natural proclivity than the therapist’s skill. Studies have shown that about 5-10 percent of people can reach a hypnotic state—guided or self-induced—with relative ease. On the other end of the spectrum, 25-30 percent of people are highly resistant, with the remainder falling somewhere in the middle. That said, it may be impossible to know how strong a candidate you are for hypnotherapy without giving it a try.

 

Connecting with a Hypnotherapist

That said, the therapist certainly has a role to play, especially when guiding a client toward a therapeutic goal. Finding the right hypnotherapist starts the same way as it does for most professionals: looking at the person’s qualifications and experience. In Utah, a hypnotherapist may be a licensed mental health therapist or an unlicensed practitioner. You can learn more about this difference here. When choosing among the many qualified options, look for someone with whom you can easily develop a rapport. Being comfortable with your hypnotherapist is a process that should start well in advance of an actual hypnotherapy session.

 

Getting the Most out of Hypnotherapy

Some common truisms about hypnosis are, in fact, true. For example, you are more likely to be hypnotized if you believe you can be. So whether you’re trying to take the edge off your anxiety or nicotine cravings, give the therapy an honest and earnest attempt. Moreover, as hypnosis is not a “miracle cure,” many mental health issues are best addressed through multiple approaches to therapy. If you believe hypnotherapy may help you make a life change, better cope with a mental health issue, or strengthen your mental health overall, don’t hesitate to get a consultation from an experienced hypnotherapist.

 

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