Hypnosis Hypnotherapy Whitby Scarborough Filey Bridlington Pickering Malton Market Weighton Driffield York Guisborough Redcar Saltburn Middlesbrough Thirsk North Yorkshire UK
Hypnotherapy is an evidence-based therapy with over 70,000 research papers published worldwide, but one which is quite often misunderstood by the general public. This is principally due to the impression given by stage hypnosis shows, which of course are purely for entertainment.
Hypnosis is not slight of hand, nor is it mind-control. It is a natural phenomenon, a state of mind which equates to a daydream, where the conscious mind is pleasantly relaxed. The so-called trance state of hypnosis has been used since and before biblical times.
In Hypnotherapy we utilize the relaxed state of hypnosis to facilitate change.
We kindly acknowledge Scottish Hypnotherapist
Craig Mackay of New York, USA for use of this video
It is the subconscious (sometimes referred as the unconscious), which can often benefit from 'reprogramming'. Think of the subconscious as a bank of computer programs on 'auto-pilot' which have been influenced by life events and also have emotional dimensions.
In general terms, the earlier and more emotional the life event the stronger the lasting effect on the 'auto-pilot' program. One might also think of this as establishing a base personality before puberty which is part genetic and part experiential. Not to say that this need be permanent.
The potential of the human mind is known to be amazing! Yet this potential is dependent on the right subconscious 'self-talk' (programming) to function effectively according to our best short and long-term interests. Negative self-talk can limit our peace of mind, self-esteem, confidence, health and well-being. It can be stressful living with doubt!
Hypnotherapy is an effective therapy if the difficulties you have are anxiety-related, a phobia, stress or depression. It is also effective for building self-confidence, addressing nervous issues, stopping bad habits such as smoking and over-eating, boosting your self-esteem and other conditions stopping you from enjoying life.
Can everyone be hypnotized?
Everyone of normal intelligence can experience hypnosis. Of course the depth can vary between individuals, but in fact it is the individual who effectively determines his/her depth of trance. We can ALL go to a deep state, if we simply allow it to happen. You just need to comfortably relax into the experience: learn to be lazy and not think, or be analytical – not question 'am I now in hypnosis?'
Hypnotherapy is about drifting into a subconscious or a daydreaming state of mind. The subconscious doesn't consciously reason, as does our conscious cognitive faculties. Rather it reacts automatically (as our “autopilot”) and instinctively, tending to follow well rehearsed habitual patterns – something like a computer program. Yet unlike a purely logical computer program, our emotions play a part to varying degrees in our subconscious processes and reactions. We will often have feelings which motivate or demotivate us running alongside our logical rationale.
Just imagine the mind as a 'road map'. The lines of least resistance (habits) represent the most travelled and familiar roads. To change we need to extent the 'travel experience' beyond these and build new patterns and habits. Beneficial patterns and habits.
This 'road map' is where habits, fears, beliefs, other emotions and long-term memories reside. Fear is a major primary emotion which can stop us from doing many things. Anxiety has frequently been described as 'fear spread thinly'. This is where belief in our ability to overcome our fears becomes key to a happy life.
Being a natural process, hypnotherapy is 'side-effect free', unlike many prescribed medications. It can help to resolve a wide range of issues, including:
• Anxiety attacks
• Bad habits
• Binge eating
• Binge drinking
• Compulsive eating
• Compulsive skin picking
• Dental phobia
• Difficulty sleeping
• Driving test nerves
Sometimes clients come to hypnotherapy having previously having tried almost everything else! This can be due to a perceived fear of hypnosis, when in fact there is ABSOLUTELY nothing to fear.
We access our subconscious regularly and automatically (without conscious effort) when comparing new experiences with previously encountered similar events. It saves us the effort of thinking though every situation from first principles. And of, course, this is how prejudices and deeply held beliefs can arise.
But with the right content, the subconscious can literally be a 'treasure-trove' of resources. Yet it is frequently true that although our resources can be substantial, we can benefit from periodic reviews and revision. Taking the analogy of a library; we can learn from history, but not all history is relevant to the present or future.
Which is why people can 'think outside the box', when deeply relaxed they more readily access their subconscious store. And this is why hypnotherapy is so gentle, yet powerful.
In a hypnotherapy session there is reassuringly no client loss of control, no zombie-like state and moreover you don't go to sleep. Instead, you will experience a natural state of mind, similar to a pleasant daydream. And in being self-absorbed you're mind is more focused.
After their first session many clients say they have never felt as relaxed as when in hypnosis.
Something is happening because brain scans have shown our mind rhythms slow down in hypnosis. In fact they change to alpha wavelengths, which are known to facilitate the acceptance of therapeutic suggestions.
Interestingly, researcher workers in Finland have also identified a hypnotic facial expression. We might recognize this as a 'glazed look', which happens when we lose concentration. Then we become self-absorbed and begin to daydream, that is we shift from an external focus to an internal one (hypnosis). This research confirmed that hypnosis is a totally natural function of the mind.
Hypnosis is also known to aid in memory recall, although some might argue that long-term memories are not always accurate. But what does matter is how the mind presently interprets past events, even though the actual detail might be sketchy. Feelings will be remembered before facts.
We tend to remember those events which had emotional content.
When relaxing into hypnosis your hearing will be perfectly normal, you retain your free-will at all times and you can also talk quite normally if you wish.
The state of hypnosis can be achieved in a number of ways, such as by the soothing voice of the therapist. There are no swinging watches and no stage techniques where people fall over! You just rest in a very comfortable chair.
In a hypnotherapy session usually about half the time is spent at a conscious level, to gain an understanding of the client's problem and thought processes. Then in the hypnotherapy part a medium trance state is usually all that is needed to achieve therapeutic benefits.
Occasionally, a client might be unconvinced that they have entered hypnosis. They might expect to go to 'another planet' or lose consciousness, or 'go under' in some way. They might say they just went along with the hypnotist, could have opened their eyes at any time, remembered everything that was said and could hear sounds from outside the room. These are frequently the exact impressions one often has in hypnosis. And just as in a daydream we can lose track of time, so it is in hypnosis. Time seems to go quickly. The client might ask to be put into a deeper state, but actually it is they themselves who achieve a depth of trance. All they need to do is stop trying to relax. There is a saying that 'all hypnosis is self-hypnosis'.
The medical profession and hypnotherapy
In recent years the medical profession has noticeably aligned itself to the pharmaceutical industry. But now some 'drug-based' treatments are being questioned when the long-term health effects of some medications are not known. Indeed some drugs do have serious side-effects for at least some patients and can also become less effective over time. Sometimes the 'side effects' of drug treatment can exceed the therapeutic benefits.
So gradually there is some move towards a more 'holistic approach' view of healthcare, where individuals take more responsibility for their own health. Clearly, although the NHS spends a colossal amount of money (some £2000 a year for every man, woman & child in the UK) it still has limited resources. And it has become a largely 'reactive' service which struggles to meet the increased demand for healthcare required by an ageing population. The traditional notion of 'doctor knows best' is also being more frequently addressed by patients, due to medical information being more easily accessible.
Groups of medical doctors have reviewed the evidence for clinical hypnosis
The term hypnotism was first introduced in 1843 by a Scottish physician, Dr James Braid. Braid rejected any supernatural explanations of a hypnosis and established the study of hypnotherapy on a firm empirical and scientific basis.
By 1892 the British Medical Association (BMA) commissioned a special committee of eleven doctors ‘to investigate the nature of the phenomenon of hypnotism, its value as a therapeutic agent, and the propriety of using it’.
Their report gave a clear recognition of the phenomenon of hypnotic trance, which stated:
‘The Committee, having completed such investigation of hypnotism as time permitted, have to report that they have satisfied themselves of the genuineness of the hypnotic state.’ (BMA, 1892).
They concluded: ‘The Committee are of opinion that as a therapeutic agent hypnotism is frequently effective in relieving pain, procuring sleep, and alleviating many functional neurotic ailments.’
By the 1950s the BMA issued another describing hypnosis as 'a valuable medical tool' and the American Medical Association described hypnosis as 'a viable scientific modality.'
By 1955 a report was published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) under the title of ‘Medical use of Hypnotism’.
The terms of reference were:
‘To consider the uses of hypnotism, its relation to medical practice in the present day, the advisability of giving encouragement to research into its nature and application, and the lines upon which such research might be organized.’
The 1955 subcommittee of experts concluded that hypnotic trance is genuine and ‘a proper subject for scientific research.’ They also provided a more extensive statement on the medical uses of hypnosis. This committee of experts stated that hypnotherapy is definitely an effective technique in the psychotherapy of neurosis, psycho-somatic conditions and the alleviation of physical pain.
‘It may be the treatment of choice in some cases of so-called psycho-somatic disorders and psycho-neurosis. It may also be of value for revealing unrecognized motives and conflicts in such conditions. In the opinion of the expert subcommittee, hypnotherapy has proved its ability to remove symptoms and to alter morbid habits.'
In addition to the treatment of psychiatric disabilities, there is a place for hypnotism in the production of anaesthesia or analgesia for surgical and dental operations, and in suitable subjects it is an effective method of relieving pain in childbirth without altering the normal course of labour.' (BMA, 1955)
They also commented on 'the remarkable and striking nature of the phenomena induced in hypnotism’. They accepted that ‘profound and easily measurable changes of physiological function can be induced under hypnotism’. They emphasized ‘the relative simplicity and brevity of hypnotic techniques’ compared to other forms of psychological therapy.
Over its long history, hypnotherapy has been the subject of innumerable research studies which lend clear support to its various therapeutic applications.
A more recent clinical review of clinical hypnosis and ‘relaxation therapies’ published in 1999 in the British Medical Journal cited the following:
• ‘There is good evidence from randomized controlled trials that both hypnosis and relaxation techniques can reduce anxiety, particularly that related to stressful situations such as chemotherapy,'
• ‘Hypnotherapy is also effective for panic disorders and insomnia, particularly when integrated into a package of cognitive therapy.’
• ‘A systematic review has found that hypnosis enhances the effects of cognitive behavioural therapy for conditions such as phobias, obesity and anxiety,'
• ‘Randomized controlled trials support the use of various relaxation techniques for treating both acute and chronic pain,’
• ‘Randomized trials have shown hypnosis to be of value in asthma and in Irritable Bowel Syndrome,’
• There is strong evidence from randomized trials of the effectiveness of hypnosis and relaxation for cancer related anxiety, pain, nausea, and vomiting, particularly in children.’
Ref: BMJ 1999;319: 1346-1349 ‘Hypnosis and Relaxation Therapies,’ Vickers & Zollman
Since the 1990's many more applications have been added to this list as new hypnotherapy techniques have developed.
Even so some doctors are still not well informed about the therapeutic benefits of clinical hypnosis.
However in fairness, general practitioners are largely trained to diagnose physical conditions and treat the body. They may have a desire to address the mind too, but time is very restricted in a typical ten minute appointment.
Physical conditions are medically diagnosed in the present, but our psychology is not so clear cut: it can of, course, be in present time, but also influenced by complex past events.
The conventional medical model almost tends to regard the mind as a separate entity to that of the body. Whereas the power of the mind and it's influence on health and well-being is known to be considerable. For example, there is a large body of research into the 'placebo effect' where a particular belief can exert a major physical beneficial effect.
'What the mind can conceive, we can at least begin to believe.'
Psychiatry is a discipline which requires earlier biomedical training as a medically trained, with a conventional emphasis on the 'medical model of disease.' The classification and treatment of mental conditions given under this regime tends to be based on a similar concept to physical disease.
Hence psychiatric treatments are still largely based on medication, such as antidepressants and various psychotic medications, although talking therapy is sometimes used too. Psychiatrists mainly attempt to help patients who are psychotic - those who are thought to have entrenched mental conditions, such as schizophrenia or severe depression and who, it is believed, need to be medicated to control their symptoms. Unfortunately, although drug treatment might control symptoms, it rarely claims to cure the patient.
For many people who suffer from more usual levels of anxiety-related conditions, stress and other emotional issues the biomedical model of treatment (such as antidepressants) has been questioned as a long-term solution. Some say it takes insufficient account of the reactive mind. Physical and mental conditions can be very different in terms of causation. In practice, mind and body work in unison.
Psychiatrists under fire in mental health battle
A fascinating account of his experiences as a practitioner of hypnotherapy is given by former consultant surgeon Dr Jack Gibson. Dr Gibson carried out over 4,000 surgical operations using hypnosis as the sole anesthetic. On retiring as a medical doctor at the age of 70 he chose to become a full-time hypnotherapist and was a very successful one for the following twenty years.
Dr Gibson understood that treating psychosomatic (interactions of mind and body) and many other conditions was essentially about healing the mind.
Of course there are times when we might need a medical diagnosis, times when we might need powerful drugs and indeed surgery. And there are other times when we might just need someone to listen and understand.
Which is why hypnotherapy can be both gentle and powerful in facilitating desired change.
It reaches parts of the mind that are the source of many present day mental health issues.
A Helping Hand
• Eating disorders
• Emotional problems
• Exam nerves
• Fears and phobias
• Fear of flying
• Habit stopping
• Hair pulling
• Irritable Bowel Syndrome
• Interview nerves
• Low self-esteem
• Nail biting
• Needle phobia
• Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
• Pain control
• Panic attacks
• Performance anxiety-related
• Public speaking
• Relationship difficulties
• Skin picking
• Sleep disorder
• Social anxiety
• Stop smoking
• Stage fright
• Teeth grinding
• Weight gain
• Weight loss
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