There is often some confusion as to the difference between hypnotherapy and hypnosis itself. Well, hypnosis per se never did anything much for anyone! It never made anybody better, never had them cavorting about a stage, never had them doing anything even remotely amusing on a TV show.
Hypnosis, in fact, is nothing more than a tool, albeit a very special tool that can produce apparent miracles on occasions, and, like all tools, it 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 skilfully wield it.
What hypnotherapy can do
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, sexual dysfunction, 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 spectacularly 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 way 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 Faculty 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. If it is new information, like nothing else you have ever experienced, then it is allowed in and becomes part of your brain and mind’s database, added to previous experiences to be checked against the next bit of information and so on. It does not matter if the information is inaccurate – if you have no previous experience of the concept, then you do not know that and you will most likely accept it. This explains why we can suffer erroneous and limiting beliefs about ourselves, so easily.
False beliefs, which usually start with “I can’t… ”, can be acquired throughout life, but most are usually absorbed into the subconscious mind during childhood, when we are too young to challenge them. The Conscious Critical Faculty 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 Faculty, 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 totally 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, either for good OR for bad. 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 psychotherapy and/or hypnotherapy, while psychosis is mental illness, a clinical condition that is not treatable by psychotherapy alone.
Is hypnotherapy safe?
It is important to remember that hypnotherapy works within a safe environment and provided you are suitable for hypnotherapy (see above), it cannot do any harm. You may hear from less-informed sources, that someone they know, was in some way permanently damaged by a hypnotist who “didn’t know what he was doing.” You may hear a tale or two of the person who “got stuck,” needing a team of doctors to “get him out of it”; well… bunk! It is possible that you will hear of an individual who has “lost his mind” or his identity, power of speech, reason, or ability to concentrate or perform simple tasks. All bunk. These kinds of things do not happen.
The very worst that anybody could do, using hypnotic suggestion, would be to create a mildly anxious state within somebody for a day or two – and that could only be done by intent, rather than by accident. In other words, somebody who was properly skilled could, if they so wished and if the individual allowed it, cause another person to feel a touch ill-at-ease for a day or two, then it would simply wear off.
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 ineffectual hypnotherapist. In the wrong hands, hypnotherapy can often be detrimental and a waste of time (and money). However, this does not mean it is unsafe. Although, clearly it is in your own best interests 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, most of the time.
Like all therapies, orthodox, complementary or fringe, hypnotherapy is not always successful. Some people are not suitable for hypnotherapy; some problems cannot be solved with hypnotherapy; and even when somebody and their problem are both suitable, we cannot be 100% certain of success. It is just like any other treatment method – sometimes it works, sometimes it does not. 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 beneficial change.
Here at SelfHypnosis.com, you will find the highest quality hypnotherapy audio programs, to help you overcome a variety of issues and/or improve your life inestimably. These are often labelled as “self hypnosis” sessions, but we could just as easily describe them as “hypnotherapy” sessions. Whatever label we choose to give them, know that all of our CDs and MP3 downloads include advanced hypnotherapy techniques to help bring about permanent, positive, lasting change.
We believe almost everyone can benefit from this form of hypnotherapy. Regardless of whether you decide to visit a hypnotherapist, or use self hypnosis recordings, remember that you also have a contribution to make too. All therapy is a two-way effort. We hope that you choose us to help and guide you, to help you achieve whatever outcome you desire.