There is often some confusion as to the difference between hypnotherapy and hypnosis itself. Hypnosis is nothing more than a tool which cannot do anything at all until somebody puts it to work. Hypnotherapy is a skill, which uses the tool of hypnosis for the administration of many and various forms of psychotherapy. A good analogy is the difference between a saw and woodwork – a carpenter uses the saw to carry out the task of working with wood. But even the very best saw is useless without the craftsman to skillfully wield it.
Hypnotherapy can help treat a wide variety of issues. It can be highly effective in helping alleviate physical, emotional and mental health issues, boosting confidence and self-esteem, dealing effectively with addictions, sleep problems, and weight control issues. Hypnotherapy can also help to enhance performance and achievement in a multitude of disciplines, including business, education and sports, to name but a few.
In fact, hypnotherapy can be used to improve almost all areas of human activity. It is important to appreciate though, that hypnosis is not magic. As such, hypnotherapy is not a miracle cure for anything. It can be highly successful for many people, but like all therapies, hypnotherapy is not always successful. Everyone is unique and everyone’s response to hypnotherapy is different. Because of this, results and response times vary from person to person.
How does hypnotherapy work?
Hypnotherapy utilizes the state of hypnosis, which naturally increases most people’s suggestibility. This means people can become more susceptible to new ideas and ways of thinking, much more so than they would in “normal”, everyday levels of consciousness. While in the state of hypnosis, we can use a variety of advanced hypnotherapy techniques, but one of the main ways we help to bring about positive change is via hypnotic suggestion. We can use suggestion within hypnosis to “implant” newer, better ideas, and to encourage thinking that is more likely to achieve a person’s desired objectives.
For suggestion to stand a chance of being accepted and acted upon by the subconscious, it must be whole-heartedly required. This means, any ideas or suggestions we make within hypnotherapy must be desirable for and desired by you, at both a conscious and a subconscious level. But to achieve this, your conscious critical faculties must be bypassed. You can think of your Conscious Critical Thinking as a kind of automatic censor that sits between the subconscious and conscious parts of your mind. For every split second of every day of your life, it checks every bit of information that seeks to pass between the two. The Conscious Critical Thinking is a part of your fundamental belief system and it seeks to maintain its integrity by rejecting new ideas and suggestions, even if your conscious mind believes they are positive and worthwhile. This is precisely why hypnotherapy can be so effective. By bypassing the Conscious Critical Thinking, we can help the subconscious to accept more useful ideas and allow us to change any limiting beliefs.
How does hypnotherapy compare to other therapies?
Hypnotherapy is different from any other form of therapeutic intervention. It does not involve drugs or physical manipulation and it does not rely on the individual’s intellect to make it work. The major difference is that all other forms of psychological work – counselling, psychotherapy, psychiatry and the like – are based around conscious processes of thought, and because it is conscious work, the conscious mind can often hinder its success. With hypnotherapy, we work with something quite different. We approach the subconscious part of the psyche, helping people to resolve difficulties at a level where conscious thought cannot interfere. Moreover, it is precisely because of the fundamental change to the thought processes that you can be released from a symptom (or habit) so completely that you may easily begin to believe that “it was never really that bad in the first place.”
People who are not suitable for hypnotherapy
Although we believe that hypnotherapy can be hugely beneficial for most people, it is not suitable for absolutely everyone. There are some people that should not be induced into hypnosis. Anybody who suffers from epilepsy falls into this category, unfortunately. Hypnosis is a natural state, but due to the change in brain activity, there is the potential to trigger a convulsion in some epilepsy sufferers. As such, hypnotherapy is deemed unsuitable. Another category is the psychotically ill individual. There is nothing hypnotherapy can do to help alleviate mental illness, as opposed to emotional illness (psychosis as opposed to neurosis). The psychotic mind does not work like the neurotic mind. Neurosis is anxiety, usually treatable by hypnotherapy, while psychosis is mental illness, a clinical condition that is not treatable by hypnotherapy alone.
Is hypnotherapy safe?
Provided you are suitable for hypnotherapy (see above), it cannot do any harm. Of course, this does not mean that all hypnotherapy is equally effective. As with any form of therapy, there will always be highly skilled professionals with years of experience treating a wide range of issues, in addition to the inexperienced and/or ineffective hypnotherapist. It is in your own best interest to do your homework and to be selective, by choosing the highest quality hypnotherapy available to you.
How effective is hypnotherapy?
High quality hypnotherapy is probably effective in the areas for which it is suitable slightly more often than many drug therapies are. For some reason that nobody can ever really fully explain, there is a distinct focus on the times when hypnotherapy has not achieved its objective rather than the times when it has. There is often surprise and wonderment when it works – but not for us. We are more surprised when hypnotherapy does not work. What is certain, though, is that hypnotherapy is a totally safe, totally natural, drugs-free method of employing the truly astonishing power of the human mind to produce long-lasting beneficial change.