Hypnosis is a natural state of mind, for example: when you are absorbed reading a good book, whilst listening to a favourite song, can you remember where you were, what you were doing and who you were with when you first heard it? Have you ever been so involved with a task that you have lost track of time? These are everyday examples of hypnosis.
During hypnosis you are relaxed, aware of what’s going on and in control. You cannot be made to do anything that is against your moral or ethical values.
There is no such thing as a hypnotised feeling. Everyone will experience hypnosis slightly differently, but all describe it as comfortable and relaxing.
Hypnotherapy is a combination of psychotherapy and hypnosis.
Hypnosis is a therapeutic aid and a real power for good. You will feel deeply relaxed physically but you will remain mentally aware and alert. For most people there is actually no such thing as a ‘hypnotised feeling’ only a feeling of calmness, possibly the most relaxed feeling you can achieve without actually being asleep.
Hypnosis speeds up the progress of psychotherapeutic therapies and can be combined with other modalities of therapy.
How and why hypnotherapy works
Our minds work on two levels, conscious (logical) and the subconscious part of the mind. We make decisions, think and act with our conscious mind. The subconscious is the area of your mind that stores information, experiences and memories, both negative and positive.
Sometimes, there is conflict between the two parts of the mind. You may (logically) want to be a certain way, yet find yourself doing the opposite automatically and without thinking. For example: you know it makes sense to stop overeating, or stop smoking, yet you keep doing it, even though you don’t want to.
The subconscious is far more powerful as it contains all your knowledge, hidden power and potential. The subconscious part of the mind controls all our habits and everything we do automatically without thinking, as well as our emotional responses. It’s here that all emotional problems have their roots.
During hypnosis, the active conscious part of your mind is completely relaxed. This allows you to tune into your subconscious so that therapy can work at a deeper level. This can facilitate the successful treatment of conflicts.
Within the hypnotic state, one can bypass the barriers to our inner thoughts and feelings, and suggestions are acted upon much more powerfully than is possible in a normal state of mind.
Mental imagery can also be utilised to assist people to make changes in their lives. The subconscious mind does not distinguish between ‘real` and ‘imagined’ experiences, which is why dreams can feel real.
The BMA acknowledged the usefulness of Hypnosis for pain control, insomnia and other conditions as long ago as 1892. Hypnotherapy was recognised as a valid therapeutic treatment by the British Medical Association in 1955.