What is hypnotherapy and how does hypnotherapy work?
From relieving stress and anxiety and increasing confidence to helping people overcome the fear of public speaking, hypnotherapy has many applications.
As a type of alternative medicine, hypnotherapy taps into the imagination of the client to help address a number of problems including alcohol or substance addiction, chronic pain and other conditions.
What is hypnotherapy? Hypnotherapy, as opposed to hypnosis, is administered by a trained, licensed and certified mental health professional as part of the therapy. While hypnosis is a state of mind, hypnotherapy is a therapeutic modality that is intended to address a medical or mental health condition.
There are many forms of hypnotherapy including Solution focused hypnotherapy that focuses on what the client wants to achieve, Eriksonian hypnotherapy which uses informal conversations and curative hypnotherapy. As a trained therapist I use Cognitive Hypnotherapy which is a modern approach based on recent discoveries from neuroscience.
How does hypnotherapy work?
Hypnotherapy as a form of psychotherapy is used to bring about a positive desired change in a client. While hypnosis which is all about guided relaxation where the hypnotist makes suggestions to break an addiction or habit at a conscious, superficial level, the hypnotherapist accesses the subconscious mind. Hypnotherapy lets patients explore suppressed and painful emotions or feelings buried deep within their subconscious minds. This can lead to a change that is a deep-rooted and long-term change where the client is better able to deal with stressors including pain, criticism, fear or anxiety.
The many applications of hypnotherapy
Hypnotherapy has been found to be effective in treating addictions, stress, phobias, anxiety, depression, chronic pain associated with medical conditions among others.
An ongoing randomized clinical control study in Barcelona has found hypnotherapy can offer considerable relief from symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The study involved administering biweekly individual hypnotherapy sessions to 150 people while an equal number received group hypnotherapy sessions. Education and supportive care were provided to 54 patients.
After three months the patients were asked if they experienced relief from discomfort and pain associated with IBS. The researchers found that more people who received both individual and group hypnotherapy reported relief from IBS symptoms as compared to the group that received education only.
According to the lead researcher, Dr Flik, hypnotherapy provides “a sense of control and self-efficacy” in patients. As a result of the change in cognition, patients are more open to accepting suggestions from the therapist. They are also better able to exert control over pain perception in their brain and spine.