Hypnosis is an entirely natural state which is pleasant and relaxing, similar to the drowsy state experienced prior to sleep, where the physiological relaxed state is present. A better description of Hypnosis is conscious relaxation. Self hypnosis often occurs when we become engrossed in our reading, watching television, listening to music etc.
The role of the hypnotherapist is to help the client to switch into this natural mind state, rather than having it occurring by happenstance. People are often surprised, or at times disappointed, at how natural hypnosis feels to them. Such reactions arise because hypnosis is a natural mind state. Some people expect to be completely unaware of what happens or have no memory of the events following a hypnosis session. Indeed, that can occur, but in most cases the experience is vivid and real.
While the mind is relaxed, strong positive suggestions are given to the patient which influence the subconscious part of the mind for dynamic positive change, being particularly beneficial in providing skills to promote a greater feeling of confidence and well-being, producing long lasting habit change.
Much harm has been done to the concept of hypnosis as a therapy, by performances such as stage hypnosis. This should be seen as it is – a form of entertainment with audience participation. What is particularly worrisome is that such perfomances produce false negative perceptions, thus discouraging people from using hypnosis as a genuine and effective therapy which, more often than not, produces surprisingly startling results.
Since the mind controls both itself and the entire bodily system, the range of potential benefits are too numerous to calculate. Indeed, although no universal panacea, holistic hypnotherapy is probably the biggest medical breakthrough ever – and is often of great assistance when conventional medicine can offer little or no help at all.
Katerina, January 2009