How Does Hypnosis & Hypnotherapy Work?

Put simply, hypnosis is tapping into the unconscious (or subconscious) parts of the mind. The unconscious stores for you an overwhelming amount of information and emotion, something that your conscious mind does not have access to. However, even if you don't have conscious knowledge about the subconscious, it has a large bearing on how the conscious mind acts, thinks and reacts. Sometimes, there are conflicts that occur about what this part of the mind sees the world versus what the world really is, causing problems and issues. Phobias, for example, are excellent examples of such problems. The conscious mind is aware that there is no logical reason to be afraid of enclosed places, but the unconscious mind has long ago attached a fear to enclosed places - and it is the unconscious that overrides the conscious.

Now, how does hypnosis work to resolve conflicts such as this?
In therapy, hypnosis involves a feeling of deep relaxation where much of your attention is narrowed down and focused on carefully thought of and appropriate suggestions made by the therapist. These suggestions are what help you make positive changes within yourself. Unlike popular misconception, hypnosis is not about controlling people's minds. In hypnotherapy, you are in control and you are not coerced into doing anything. It is actually about empowerment where you are guided to access your subconscious so that patterns of behavior can be reprogrammed within the mind, enabling phobias, depression, negative feelings and suppressed emotions to be freed.

The therapist suggests concepts, ideas and lifestyle changes, which are like seeds that become firmly planted into the unconscious. Since the subconscious mind is a lot more deep-seated, instinctive and uninhibited than the conscious, it can change your behavior and physical state much more than your conscious will power can. For example, if you have an irrational fear of spiders, you will find it almost impossible to consciously overcome your fear as long as your unconscious mind retains it. You can only succeed if you reprogram your subconscious so that those deep-seated emotions and beliefs are altered.

What problems and issues can be treated?

Hypnotherapy can be used to treat a wide range of psychological, emotional, even physical disorders. It has also been used to relieve pain in dentistry and surgery, and is proven to be beneficial in obstetrics. Those suffering from phobias, panic attacks, obsessive compulsive behavior, stress-related problems, anxiety, and other conditions exacerbated by tension such as excessive sweating, irritable bowel syndrome, clicky jaws and eczema.

There are two kinds of hypnotherapy used by therapists to treat issues and disorders:

Suggestion Hypnotherapy. As its name suggest, this form of therapy aims to change the way you look at situations or events through beneficial suggestions the hypnotherapist makes. This is particularly helpful for people who would like to stop smoking, those who would like to let go of behaviors like biting nails, or those with certain fears.

Hypnoanalysis. Also known as analytical hypnotherapy, this is a combination of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis with hypnosis and is used to seek the root cause of the problem that is stored in the unconscious. When the cause of the problem is exposed and dealt with, the symptoms will start to disappear. Hypnoanalysis is thought of as a very cathartic therapy which brings about beneficial change by addressing the core of the problem. Hypnosis combined with analysis is very effective in managing more deep-seated problems such as phobias, anxiety, low self-esteem, depression and social anxiety. It is also considered an interesting journey into self-discovery and personal development.

The readiness as well as the ability of patients to undergo hypnotherapy varies considerably, and several sessions are generally required to achieve meaningful results.


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