How to Benefit from Hypnotherapy


Hypnosis has had some bad press in recent years with the growing popularity of stage hypnotists, particularly on tele­vision. But there is a vast difference between picking out a few susceptible people from an audience and ‘making’ them do things and hypnotherapy.

The word hypnotherapy comes from the Greek word hyp-nos, meaning sleep. Its effects have been used down the cen­turies and by different civilizations, from the priests of ancient Greece to Balinese fire dancers. The Austrian doctor Franz Anton Mesmer (from whom we now have the word mesmer­ize) used magnets to help treat patients, although his theories were eventually discounted through lack of scientific basis. In the mid-1880s a Scottish surgeon, James Braid, used hypnosis as a method of painkilling while operating on patients. However, the technique lost favour as anaesthetics were devel­oped. Modem hypnosis is now largely based on the methods of the American psychiatrist Dr Milton H. Erickson, who used more creative ways of helping through hypnotherapy.

Hypnotherapy

Hypnosis is the tool that hypnotherapists use to enable them to help children deal with problems, by opening the subconscious mind. While the conscious mind deals only with the present, the subconscious mind stores information and only brings it to the fore when necessary. It also controls subconscious physical action such as movement and psycho­logical functions, including emotions.

How the therapy works

The image of a hypnotherapist regressing a patient back to some trauma early on in their lives, opening the floodgates of emotion and so healing the patient, is now a largely outdated one. Many of the hypnotherapy schools see the use of regres­sion as too aggressive and not as effective as other methods of treatment. A more popular method is to manipulate the link between an event and the negative feeling associated with it, to make good links and break bad ones. Most problems are caused by a mental link between external events (e.g. the sight of a spider) and an internal response (fear, panic). The earliest versions of hypnotherapy regressed the patient to an original trauma (a spider running across your face), but this has largely been superseded by techniques which make this sometimes traumatic regression unnecessary and instead affects the mental links themselves. For instance, a boy who has a phobia of spiders won’t need to be regressed to the time he was badly scared by a spider. But he may be told to imag­ine himself sitting in front of the TV with the image of a car­toon spider or a man dressed up in a spider costume on the screen. As this spider is so unreal he can feel comfortable being near it. Gradually, the hypnotherapist will change the image until it seems like a real spider. The child will have broken the link that spiders are something to be afraid of and will stop associating them with fear.

Unlike stage hypnosis, your child will be safely guided into a hypnotic state. Audience participants of stage hypnosis are in fact letting themselves be carried along by suggestion and are chosen because they are extrovert and usually open to try anything.

What to expect from a first visit

The hypnotherapist will take detailed notes of your child’s personal and medical history, they will also need to know of any other treatments given and any drugs administered. It may not be until the second session that your child is actually hypnotized.

Hypnotherapy

The therapist should explain to your child exactly what is going to happen. They will be asked to sit or he down and then quietly repeated suggestions that they are tired and their eyelids are becoming heavy will take them into a trance. The trance is simply a deeply relaxed state, rather like daydream­ing or the feeling just before falling asleep. Your child may seem asleep, but in fact they are in a deep state of relaxation and very aware of what is being said to them. They will only reveal what they feel ready to reveal and this may be gently coaxed out in a variety of ways, such as story telling, sugges­tions, age regression and so on. The therapist will be observ­ing any changes in the child as they are in the trance which will help to give clues to the root of the problem. The ther­apist may then teach some simple self-help hypnosis tech­niques which can be used at home.

Filed Under: Health & Personal Care

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About the Author: Andrew Reinert is a health care professional who loves to share different tips on health and personal care. He is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo and lives in Canada.

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