"Unless you walk out into the unknown, the odds of making a profound difference in your life are pretty low."
- Tom Peters
All that we do is touched with ocean, yet we remain on the shore of what we know.
- Richard Wilbur
"Our task will be to search continuously for what is new and important, and to make sense of it in terms of who we've been and who we're trying to become."
- Margaret Wheatley
The following links provide an overview of hypnosis, hypnotherapy, and answer several frequently asked questions.
Please also visit my Articles section for further reading.
Introduction to Hypnotherapy
Hypnotherapy is a powerfully effective modality of relaxation and other techniques that can transform the way one lives.
Increasingly deeper relaxation allows the individual to develop selective, magnified awareness and concentration, bypassing the limitations of the critical, conscious mind to enter the realm of the subconscious where old patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving may be directly faced and transformed. The hypnotic trance allows the subconscious to be more positively programmed through suggestions and other means.
Hypnosis may also open the individual to a more profound inner realm, called by different names in different cultures. This realm is the source, among other things, of never-ending support, new and more complex perspectives, and expanded and enriched awareness of body, mind and soul.
The origins of hypnotherapy probably go back beyond recorded history, to when people first used altered awareness to affect their inner and outer worlds. Later, the ancient Roman and Greek Oracles, Sacred Temples, and Mystery Schools most surely used some form of hypnosis to help devotees and initiates to make contact with whatever they held holy and transformative. And for millennia, to help their supplicants, shamans worldwide have regularly evoked hypnotic reactions in themselves and in those they help through a vast variety of techniques (chanting, rapid movement, etc.).
In the late 1770s, Anton Mesmer, a French physician, used hypnotism successfully to help his patients, though he called it "Animal Magnetism" and did not really understand the mental mechanisms he was using. Though he was quite the "rage" for some time, in the end he and his technique as then understood were discredited by the medical authorities. In the 1800's hypnosis enjoyed a revival, especially with surgical patients, but then diminished in importance as new, chemical means of anesthesia were developed.
In the twentieth century, individuals like Emile Coué, Dave Elman, Milton Erikson, Jeffrey Zeig, David Cheek, Ernest Rossi, Stephen and Carol Lankton, E.A. Barnett, D.C. Hammond, Ormond McGill, Joseph Barber, John Watkins, John Edgette, and Gil Boyne and a host of newer voices have helped promote the use and advancement of hypnosis. In 1955 the British Medical Society approved hypnosis for use in dentistry and as an effective adjunct to medical treatment. The American Medical Association followed suit in 1957.
Hypnosis is an aspect of many other mind-altering modalities, like NLP, Silva Mind Control, meditation, various forms of guided imagery, biofeedback, EMDR, Gestalt Therapy, etc. In short, Hypnosis is constantly growing in popularity as an effective means of helping people lead more pleasurable, productive, and powerful lives.
What is Hypnosis?
Hypnosis is a therapeutic modality of transformative relaxation. Increasingly deeper relaxation allows the individual to bypass the limitations of the critical, conscious mind to enter the realm of the subconscious. The heightened suggestibility of this dimension of the mind allows old patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving to be directly faced and transformed. Hypnosis also facilitates connection to the deeper subconscious or super-conscious mind, the source of vast creativity and talent, accurate intuition and profound wisdom. Under the guidance of a hypnotherapist, the individual may also recover seemingly lost aspects of him/herself and/or integrate hitherto conflicting dimensions.
Hypnotherapy often achieves lasting results faster than do many other modalities.
More About Hypnosis
Hypnosis is a naturally occurring process of the human psyche. It has been known and used in various ways for healing by shamans in indigenous cultures for centuries. However, everyone spontaneously goes into a hypnotic state several times a day--every time there is focused attention and thereby altered awareness. For instance, this trance state may occur when one is listening to music, meditating, daydreaming, having a massage, cooking, reading a book, riding a bike, fixing a motorcycle, and doing a cross-word puzzle.
In a Hypnotherapy session, this naturally occurring modality of transformative relaxation is harnessed for therapeutic purposes. A paradoxical state of relaxed alertness allows the client to develop selective awareness of what otherwise escapes his or her notice during waking distractions.
Increasingly deeper relaxation allows the individual to bypass the limitations of the critical, conscious mind to enter the realm of the subconscious where old patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving may be directly faced and reconfigured or transformed. Changing such patterns may result also in better coping with physical pain and the acceleration of healing. In addition, Hypnotherapy may facilitate the client's connection to the deeper unconscious or SuperConscious Mind, the source of vast creativity and talent, accurate intuition and profound wisdom. Under the guidance of a Hypnotherapist, the individual may also recover seemingly lost aspects of him/herself and/or integrate hitherto conflicting dimensions.
Another, more active form of hypnosis called HypnoDrama uses verbal and movement improvisation to achieve the same hypnotic bypassing of the critical mind to find new possibilities of thinking, feeling and behaving. This kind of hypnosis is used in a group context for spiritual development, particularly in the improvising of past-life scenes that can contribute to the well-being of the individual in question and even that of the group members who intuitively stage the scene.
Finally, hypnosis is used effectively in a business context with individuals and groups. In leaders, managers and teams, Hypnosis can facilitate the emergence of new possibilities in mind-set, promoting, among other outcomes, the development of competence and confidence, greater focus and concentration, creativity, productivity, professional presence, strategizing, goal-setting and problem-solving. Executives and managers can especially benefit from hypnosis in a coaching context.
Best of all, Hypnosis often achieves lasting results faster than do many other healing modalities.
The client's commitment to the process, however, is central to his or her achieving these benefits. Clients must acknowledge that they are active participants in their own transformations, that their life-satisfaction depends on how well they care for themselves, and that they, in fact, create their own reality through their beliefs , feelings, and behaviors. The hypnotherapist is only a guide to the client's journey to expanded awareness. Therefore, the client's learning self-hypnosis is indispensable to his or her reinforcing and continuing the benefits of a hypnosis session. Together, the client and hypnotherapist create the context in which profound life transformation often occurs for the individual.
FAQ's About Hypnotherapy
What if I cannot be hypnotized?
The vast majority of persons are able to be hypnotized, at least into a light trance. Everyday, you spontaneously go into a light trance, as, for instance, you focus intently on an activity like reading, working on the computer, playing soccer, daydreaming, relaxing, etc. Much useful work can be achieved in a light trance. With practice, most people can achieve a medium state of trance suitable for much of the most powerful therapeutic work.
Will I lose control in Hypnosis?
No, you have complete control and will not say or do anything that is not approved by your subconscious. People who open to the suggestions of stage hypnotists WANT to act or talk in unusual ways.
Will I forget most of what happens while I am in hypnosis?
You will remember most, if not all, of what you say or what happens to you in hypnosis. On very rare occasions, the subconscious will create a bit of amnesia if, for instance, it believes the conscious mind will dismiss what has arisen.
Will I get "stuck" in hypnosis if I go too deep?
No one has ever gotten "stuck" in hypnosis. At times, the experience is so pleasurable that the client does not want to emerge. But a competent hypnotherapist has the skills to guide you to emerge. Otherwise, you will emerge by yourself in a few moments or go to sleep and wake up later.
What If I do not want to investigate sensitive areas?
Your conscious mind, as well as your subconscious, will always be asked if it is okay for you to visit those areas and to feel and know whatever there is to feel and know. If it is not okay, the hypnotherapist will not invite you to those areas.
What is the basic process?
Usually, there are four main stages: 1) The Interview Stage to clarify the client's issue(s) and gather relevant historical data; 2) The Relaxation Stage, wherein the client, lying down or sitting in a chair, is guided to relax in body and mind; 3) The Work Stage, in which the client actually deals with the current issue through a variety of techniques, such as suggestive words, guided imagery, Gestalt dialogue, reframing, regression and many others; 4) The Emergence-from-Hypnosis Stage, whereby the client emerges out of hypnosis and discusses the experience with the hypnotherapist to achieve further integration and closure.
How long is the session? How much does it cost?
Sessions usually last from one to two hours, though a few modalties like Spirit Releasement or Life-Between Lives Hynotherapy may take 3- 5 hours.. Sometimes, in a short, first session, there is time only for problem clarification and history. In such a case, one more session is enough to finish the work. As for cost, it varies, depending on the number of sessions needed to achieve a satisfactory outcome for the kind of issue presented. You will be told before a session begins how much the fee will be.
How will I feel after the session?
Just about everyone will feel more aware, alert, and alive as well as relaxed, rested and refreshed and ready to take the next action steps with his or her life.