What is therapeutic hypnosis?
Therapeutic hypnosis (hypnotherapy) is a technique used by some psychotherapists to induce a trance-like state of mind that becomes more open to suggestions from the therapist. The technique uses focused attention, intense concentration and relaxation to help people overcome certain psychological conditions.
Hypnotherapy is a type of alternative medicine and is not a definitive treatment. It is usually complementary to mainstream treatments of medication and psychological counselling. Hypnotherapy is performed only for people who are willing to undergo such treatment.
What is the purpose of hypnotherapy?
The purpose of hypnotherapy is to help a person understand and manage their psychological, physical and emotional behavior. The goal of hypnotherapy is to bring about positive changes in a person’s mental state and behavior by making suggestions while they are in hypnosis.
Hypnotherapy may help a person to
- Overcome addictive behaviors, anxiety and phobias.
- Safely explore the mind to address deep-rooted trauma and discover ways to cope with it better.
Though cognitive behavior therapy and medication are the first-line treatments for psychological conditions, hypnotherapy can be used in managing and alleviating several conditions that include:
- Generalized anxiety disorder: Persistent and excessive worry about everyday life. Hypnotherapy can help reduce the anxiety and stress, which may result in reduced dependency on medication.
- Phobias: Unreasoning and excessive fear about something specific or social. Hypnotherapy can bring about a more tranquil state of mind and may help overcome the fear.
- Weight loss: Hypnotherapy along with cognitive behavior therapy can have an effect in modifying eating habits and helping with weight loss.
- Addictive behavior: Suggestion with hypnotherapy may help patients give up smoking and other harmful substance or behavior addictions.
- Chronic pain relief: While hypnotherapy cannot get rid of pain, it may help some people change their response to pain and reduce their need for opioids.
- Irritable bowel syndrome: Hypnotherapy has been found to help alleviate symptoms when conventional treatments with diet and medication are not sufficiently effective.
- Skin conditions: Hypnotherapy is found to be helpful with skin conditions such as alopecia areata and psoriasis, by alleviating stress.
- Depression: Hypnotherapy can help reduce depression by encouraging more positive thinking.
- Sleep disorders: Hypnotherapy may help calm the mind and improve sleep patterns.
- Posttraumatic stress disorder: Hypnotherapy helps a person unwind and talk to the therapist about past trauma, which may help in coping with it better.
- Palliative care: Hypnotherapy as palliative care has been found useful in reducing symptoms in terminally ill patients, and stress in their caregivers.
Does hypnotherapy really work?
Hypnotherapy may not prove useful to everyone. Hypnotherapy is found to be effective in people who are more responsive to suggestions from the hypnotherapist. Hypnotherapy may be counterproductive if the individual:
- Is uncooperative or hostile
- Has cognitive impairment due to brain trauma
- Has certain personality disorders such as
- borderline personality disorder
- dependent personality disorder
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