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What Is Hypnosis

What is hypnosis? Hypnosis is a powerful tool for accessing the subconscious mind and achieving personal goals or creating desired changes. It may be used alone or in conjunction with other therapeutic techniques, including imagery and psychotherapy. Despite its power, hypnosis is plagued by many misconceptions. The average person may think hypnosis is sleep, unconscious, mind control or even magic. Many misconceptions are perpetuated by novels and films. These misconceptions might prevent people, who could benefit from hypnosis, from ever trying it.

Hypnosis is not sleep, unconsciousness, mind control or even magic. In fact it is a heightened state of awareness. The person is fully aware, in control and able to respond to requests, either verbally or by a signal. Ask a hypnotized person to make a specific, reasonable movement, he/she will comply.

There is no surrender of control or power, no magic. No one can be hypnotized against his or her will; or made to do anything that he or she does not want to.

While many people believe that they can't be hypnotized, everyone of average intelligence and higher can be hypnotized if they so chose.

Hypnosis is now considered to be a state of selective thinking, where the person (who is in control) chooses to experience only what is relevant to the task at hand, blocking out everything else. It may also be described as guided concentration. The guidance may be provided by a qualified hypnotherapist, or in the case of self-hypnosis, by the individual.

However you think of it, hypnosis is a method for communicating directly with the subconscious mind. Few people realize the awesome power their subconscious mind has over their lives. The causes for many bad habits are rooted in memories or perceptions that may be forgotten by the conscious mind but retained in the subconscious. Hypnosis helps to access the subconscious and change those habits more quickly and easily.

Although hypnosis is a not a panacea, there are many areas where it has proven to be tremendously helpful including overcoming fears, eliminating bad habits like smoking and overeating. It is helpful in pain control, managing stress, memory enhancement, improving concentration, and relieving insomnia. Hypnosis is a tool anyone can use and everyone should understand.

The American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association have approved hypnotherapy for use by professionally responsible individuals. The British Medical Association also adopted hypnosis as a viable therapeutic tool in 1958. (The same year as the AMA.)

What your mind causes, your mind can correct. Wellness begins in your mind. Every problem has a cause, and when you eliminate the cause from the subconscious mind, the problem will disappear.

The following are some of the areas which can be helped through hypnosis:
  • Stress & Relaxation
  • Stop Smoking
  • Sports Enhancement
  • Insomnia
  • Stuttering
  • Nail Biting
  • Motivation
  • Pain Management
  • Fears
  • Public Speaking
  • Weight Reduction
  • Visualization & Guilded Imagery
  • Medical/Dental Procedures
  • Self Confidence/Self Esteem
  • Sexual Dysfunction
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Tension Headaches
  • Memory & Concentration
  • Catastrophic Illness
  • Body & Mind Healing
  • Inner Child Dialogue
  • Test Taking/Study Habits
  • Regression Therapy
And so much more...

Adapted from Personal Growth Hypnosis Center.

Stop Smoking With Hypnosis

Hypnosis can help you stop smoking by helping to eliminate your desire to smoke. This is much easier than just trying to use willpower to stop smoking, because, as we know, willpower can change from day to day and moment to moment.

Your hypnotherapist will first evaluate the reasons behind why you started to smoke and what triggers your current cravings for cigarettes. They can then work with you on suggesting positive alternative behaviors when cravings happen, as well as working on changing your perception of smoking. Your hypnotherapist will also evaluate your motivation for becoming a nonsmoker and will include this in the suggestions given.

Hypnosis capitalizes on your mind's ability to imagine. You will be asked to create positive, healthy images of yourself free from your cigarette habit. You will see yourself feeling healthier, more attractive, more active, etc. This will increase your motivation to be a nonsmoker.

Smoking is a habit that was built over time, so it can rarely be eliminated in an instant. Once you have achieved success in becoming a nonsmoker, hypnotic conditioning with a reinforcement program can be used to reinforce the changes until they become permanent.

Adapted from Personal Growth Hypnosis Center.

Hypnosis Can Help You Lose Weight

Several studies have shown that when hypnosis is combined with exercise and sensible diet, you can lose more weight and keep it off longer than if you relied only on diet and exercise.

How can hypnosis help? Hypnosis is a state of relaxation and mental focus (much like daydreaming or reading a good book). It can help you re-program old attitudes and beliefs about eating. While in the state of hypnosis your subconscious (inner) mind is more available to you. It is more open to receive suggestions that will then become a part of those messages in the back of your mind that nudge you toward new healthy behaviors. Hypnotic messages urge you to do the right thing - to follow through with the changes that you decided to make in your life.

Messages given during hypnosis can help re-program bad eating habits. Examples of such hypnotic suggestions are "you find you eat small portions of healthy food and are completely satisfied" and "your taste for slimness tastes better than sweet foods". Repetition of these types of suggestions, especially if listened to regularly on a taped program, can boost your determination and enhance your conscious willpower.

Often, however, such messages alone are not enough. It takes a combination of behavioral modification (being aware of your intake, learning how to eat a healthy diet, being physically active) and mental reeducation (positive self talk, and positive mental imagery, and understanding why you have certain eating patterns and how to change them) in order to achieve permanent weight reduction. A good Hypnotherapist will address these issues. Not only should you receive mental suggestions for behavioral and lifestyle changes, your Hypnotherapist should explore with you any emotional connections to food and eating habits. Once you realize why you are eating when you are not hungry you can begin to change that behavior. Your hypnotherapist will work with you to develop positive alternative behaviors to meet the emotional needs that previously triggered emotional eating. These new behaviors will be included in your hypnotic suggestions.

A good Hypnotherapist will work with positive programming. Your own success will be used to spur you on. Negative conditioning or aversion therapy should not be relied on to achieve results. Suggestions that stress positive changes and increase your self-esteem help you succeed with your weight reduction.

Mental imagery is another important part of hypnosis. Your Hypnotherapist can lead you through an imaginary journey where you create an image of yourself wearing the size clothing you want to wear or weighing what you know is healthy for you. You might even imagine the positive comments of your friends, co-workers and family. You would be encouraged to use all of your senses. You might see, feel or imagine and think of yourself being slimmer, stronger and healthier. Studies show the more real your inner experience, the more your body and mind will respond to your imagery, and the more likely the final results will match your mental program.

When used as a part of an overall program of behavior modification and attitude adjustment, hypnosis can be the extra dimension that your weight reduction program needs for long term success. Hypnosis can provide powerful tools to help you fight the battle of the bulge.

Adapted from Personal Growth Hypnosis Center.

Hypnosis Can Help You Overcome Fears

One of the most common reasons people visit a hypnotherapist is to overcome an irrational fear or limiting belief.

Fears are a natural part of life. Everyone fears something such as being robbed, or being hurt in an accident. This type of fear is not necessarily bad, and can serve a protective function. It may prompt you to take necessary precautions such as locking doors or wearing a seat belt.

However, when a fear is irrational and gets in your way, interferes with your life-style, or causes you to avoid something you would like to do, then it should be addressed.

In mild cases, where you recognize the triggers and would like help controlling your reaction, post hypnotic suggestions can help you control breathing, slow your heart rate, and achieve a relaxed state of mind. This gives you the ability to deal with the problem in a calm and rational manner.

If you want to know the origin of the fear and remove it, your Hypnotherapist can guide you to the initial event. Most of the time the event is no longer recalled by the conscious mind, but is still retained in the subconscious. In these cases, your Hypnotherapist may employ age regression.

Age regression is one of the most powerful tools available to your Hypnotherapist. With it, you are guided back in time, where you can reexamine the fearful event from an objective point of view. Once the cause is revealed, and the event is reviewed through more mature perceptions, the fear of losing control is eliminated. Control is soon established and the fear is released, replaced with more positive ways of dealing with life.

Once a sense of control is established, hypnotherapy quickly reduces the effects, and soon eliminates the fear.

What you believe you can do, you will. You can change your life through the power of your mind.

Adapted from Personal Growth Hypnosis Center.

Hypnosis Can Help You Relax and Manage Stress

Many people are finding that hypnosis works for them as an effective, non-drug alternative for stress reduction. With stress an ever-present part of the today's lifestyle, and the growing evidence for the link between stress and illness - including such condition as hypertension, heart disease, ulcers, immune deficiency diseases and even cancer - hypnosis provides welcome relief with no side effects.

Hypnosis, simply put, is a relaxed and focused state of mind. Most people can be trained to enter this state of deep relaxation and purposefully narrowed attention easily and safely in just a few sessions with the help of a trained hypnotherapist. Once the training has taken place, most clients can induce a self-hypnotic state. Unlike alcohol or drugs, hypnosis can be used safely anytime and anywhere. All that is required is an opportunity to relax for a few minutes. One can practice hypnosis while gazing out an office window or sitting in a quiet corner of the office break room.

A typical hypnotic session designed to help you relax might have you close your eyes, focus on your breathing, and then allow an image to form for a safe and relaxing place of your choice. Perhaps you decide to visit a serene beach, where you notice the beautiful blue of the water, feel the warm sand beneath your feet, hear the ocean waves, and smell the salty air. The more senses you involve, and the more real the scene feels to you, the greater relaxation you will experience. As you enjoy the beach, knowing that there are no demands and no one expecting anything of you, your body begins to enter a very relaxed state.

By quieting down the body and the mind, hypnosis sets into motion a chain reaction of physiological responses, such as hormonal changes and changes in immune system function. Hypnosis reduces the effects of stress on the body by turning off the flight or fight response, lowering heart rate, blood pressure and relaxing muscle tension. Brain waves may alter, and endorphins (your body's "feel-good" chemicals) may be released. These changes, in turn, stimulate other positive changes such as lowered production of stress hormones and increase the protective T-cell production by the immune system.

Since the 1970's a growing number of scientific studies indicate that hypnosis, among other mind/body therapies such as biofeedback and meditation are effective options in the treatment of illness where stress is a major factor. While hypnosis is not meant to take the place of traditional medical care, it can act as a useful adjunct therapy--one that is not only effective but enjoyable as well. One such major study at Duke University showed that practicing relaxation resulted in reduced hypertension and reduced blood sugar levels in test patients. Another study indicated that the practice of hypnosis could increase the chance that in-vitro fertilization procedures would be successful for patients. Another study showed that when practiced bi-weekly, hypnotic imagery reduced participants' levels of stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) present in their bloodstream.

Every day, more studies are illustrating the effectiveness of hypnosis for stress reduction and its accompanying health benefits.

Adapted from Personal Growth Hypnosis Center.

Hypnosis Can Help Overcome Test-Taking Anxiety

Many people experience test-taking anxiety. Memorization becomes more and more difficult and you may experience "freezing" when it comes time to take your test, feeling unable to recall material you previously knew.

If this describes you, hypnosis can help. Your hypnotherapist will work with you to develop positive suggestions personalized to your issues and goals. After discussing your particular situation and difficulties, the session would begin with deep relaxation, putting your mind and body at ease, allowing your subconscious to become more receptive to positive suggestions. Your hypnotherapist may then have you imagine yourself in your study area, including as many details as possible (books, papers, desk) to make the image realistic.

Your hypnotherapist will then suggest that you remember fully and easily the information that you read and study. As you re-experience each phase of your study routine-reading over notes, repeating information out loud, making outlines, even taking study breaks-your hypnotherapist will repeatedly reinforce that you retain all information easily and effortlessly. Your hypnotherapist will also suggest to you that when a question is put to you about the material you are studying, either verbally or on a test, your mind will immediately bring the information up to a conscious level, making it instantly available for full recall.

You might be requested to envision yourself in class, taking a test, feeling relaxed and confident. You might be asked to notice yourself confidently answering the test questions while visualizing your study period when you had full and easy recall of the test material. You might then be reminded to remain relaxed, confident and assured of this success. After fully experiencing yourself confidently taking the test, you might then imagine yourself later receiving notice of your test results. You would be asked to become aware of the feeling of excitement and a sense of self-esteem that came from scoring well on the test. Your hypnotherapist might suggest that you visualize the positive comments of your teacher and feel the congratulatory pats on the back from your friends.

Once you have fully envisioned your success, you will feel more certain about your abilities. By using a reinforcement tape, you can further cement your progress and feel comfortable and confident about test-taking.

Adapted from Personal Growth Hypnosis Center.
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