I assume that you might be wondering what hypnosis really is because there is so much contradictory information floating around as well as urban myths and sensationalised media. However, hypnosis has been around in various forms for a few thousand years and can be traced right back to sleep temples in ancient India which were used by Hindus to cure the sick. Since then various physicians and psychoanalysts have refined what it is and how it is used, and even the British Medical Association endorsed the use of hypnotherapy way back in the nineteenth century.
Even back in 1955 the BMA authorised the use of hypnosis for psychoneuroses and hypnoanaethesia where it was taken that this was beneficial for pain management in surgery and childbirth.
So in its basic form hypnosis is being able to enter a trance like state - or being guided to enter a trance like state. Now what is actually regarded as a trance like state does vary but generally it just means a hyperfocused state when you are relaxed. So this hyperfocused state is quite an inward focus where you are aware of what is going on around you but you do have a level of detachment from it. If that sounds scary then it really isn't - just think about when you are daydreaming - you are focussed on something inward and you are aware of the outside but it is not really registering. If you can daydream (and I would think this is almost 100% of us) then this is a hypnotic state.
I am guessing that if you mentioned hypnosis or hypnotherapy to the majority of people then the first thing they will think of is a stage hypnotist. You know the ones, they are on stage with a variety of audience members and then they perform some sort of 'magic' to get everyone into deep sleep and then they make the participants bark like a dog, cluck like a chicken and generally perform outrageous stunts for audience entertainment. Whilst this is a form of hypnosis it is really for the entertainment of the audience. And also when the participants are being chosen these participants really want to be part of the show. Therefore, they are not being forced into doing something they actually do not want to do.
This really is an important point. So many people have seen TV shows where the person under hypnosis gives away all their secrets and does not know what happened or they do everything the hypnotist tells them. This really is not the case. In hypnosis the client always controls their actions - if you do not want to do something then your mind will stop you. So if you were hypnotised and the therapist said to rob a bank, your mind would kick in and basically say no. So you are always in control and you only do what you want to do.
Another misconception is that you will be in a very deep trance. This again is not the case, and very few people could actually reach this level of trance anyway. So to reach a hypnotic state you actually just need the light relaxation, daydream state. This leads to another fear that people have and that is that they might not come back out of hypnosis. This is not the case, as the same as daydreaming you will always 'awaken' and will not be stuck in a trance state.
Hypnotherapists utilise hypnosis not to entertain an audience but instead to help people in a therapeutic setting. Therefore, a hypnotherapist will help a client overcome an issue such as anxiety, confidence or a phobia by using hypnosis.
How this works is that when you are in a relaxed state then we can bypass your conscious mind and instead tap into all the strengths of the subconscious mind. If you think of this like an iceberg - you have 10% above the surface of the water (your conscious mind) and 90% under the water (the subconscious). So if you have tried change (maybe you have tried to stop smoking) then you have only been doing this consciously and with only part of your mind. By using your subconscious you are tapping into the areas which contain your thoughts, feelings, urges and all your past experiences and memories. So hypnosis now allows you to access all the resources into this area which will then help you to make the change in your life that you need and want.
As the subconscious also stores memories that might be repressed or hidden these could also be influencing your current motivations or issues and you may not actually be aware of this. Using hypnotherapy we can tap into these memories which gives us more insight into why something is an issue and also gives us a good starting point for a resolution.
So if you are interested in trying hypnotherapy then book a no obligation free consultation with myself, Yvonne Smith at New Way Hypnosis, or you may want to try out one of our deep relaxation sessions.