According to American Psychological Association (APA), Hypnosis is a procedure during which a health professional or researcher suggests while treating someone that he or she experience changes in sensations, perceptions, thoughts, or behaviour. It is an altered state of consciousness. Like awareness, sleep and dream state it is a natural attribute of entire mankind. The word derived from Greek root Hypnos, that means sleep, however it is not a state of sleeping. It is a trait which is at peak in late childhood and gradually decreases throughout adulthood.
Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy
Hypnosis itself is not a therapy but is a state of mind that can be used to facilitate other types of therapies and treatments. When the therapies are carried out under hypnosis, it is known as hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy is a form of psychotherapy used to create subconscious changes in the patient in the form of new responses, thoughts, attitudes and feelings. To practice effective hypnotherapy the practitioner should be very well aware of psychopathology, personality theories and other psychological management procedures to make use of the same on the person under hypnosis.
Milton H. Erickson
Milton H. Erickson was an American psychiatrist and psychologist, and ‘father of modern hypnosis’, who learned from Clark L. Hull and developed numerous innovative induction methods. His approaches are known as Ericksonian Hypnosis. Currently most of the clinical hypnotherapy are practiced as “non –directive and less demanding” was as suggested by him.
Hypnosis – A Recognized method
British Medical Association recognized hypnosis in 1955 as a legitimate tool for therapy. American Medical Association recognised it in 1958. Division-30 of American Psychological Association is devoted to the investigation and application of hypnosis in clinical and other areas.
The first thing in any hypnotherapy session is to get yourself relaxed and calm gradually. Some can do it very easily, while others need time to develop the skills. Take your own time for it and just do not rush. The time may vary from person to person. During hypnosis there is a paradigm Shift in consciousness. Mind becomes calm, quiet and peaceful and a general sense of wellbeing prevails. It turn to be a sort of alert restfulness.
Following deepening procedure and the deep relaxation phase you will reach into the state of Hypnosis. Though many methods are used for deepening relaxation, the most popular technique of deepening procedure is the counting technique. Start imagining that you are going downwards along with the numbers.
At the conclusion of the hypnotic session, the client will be brought back to a fully conscious state in a manner, which will ensure full alertness, wakefulness and objectivity. All lethargy and physical stiffness must be rapidly dissipated. Generally the client will wake up with an attitude of happiness and confidence regarding the results of the session. Though there is no harm if hypnosis is turned to a deep sleep, it is better the termination not to be followed with a nap.
Dispelling Myths about hypnosis
- Hypnosis is not sleep
- Ability to hypnotize does not require “Sadhna”
- Hypnotized individual does not become unconscious
- Hypnotized person can not get stuck and fail to exit
- Hypnosis is not intrinsically dangerous
- Hypnotizability is not a sign of weak mindedness
- One can not be made to reveal one’s secrets under hypnosis
- There are no apparent gender differences in hypnotizability
- Hypnosis by itself is not therapy
- Immoral/criminal act can not be persuaded under hypnosis
Indications of Hypnosis
An expert hypnotherapist can bring about changes just as an experienced surgeon uses his knife skilfully for surgical procedures. Following are the conditions which can be managed effectively with hypnotherapy.
- Pathological guilt
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
- Dissociative Disorder
- Conversion Disorder
- Pain Disorders
- Substance Use Disorders
- Behavioral addictions
The hypnotic phenomena is either under emphasized or over emphasized in the literature. When used in the right way, it can heap many therapeutic benefits. Comparing with other therapies, rapport developed is very intense for hypnotherapy. The intensity of other experiences like ventilation, catharsis, or reliving experiences etc. are many times better under hypnosis than in conscious state. With caution, hypnotherapy can be adopted as suggestive instrument in dealing with stress, guilt, depression and other anxiety based problems.