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Hypnosis is one of the most controversial and misunderstood techniques in psychological treatment. With various myths and misconceptions surrounding this topic, most people get their ideas about hypnosis from observing hypnosis stage performances, which are farfetched concerning medical hypnosis.
Often, stage hypnosis is a theatrical performance put together by a team of people who are conversant with mentalism for entertainment purposes. As a result, there are vast differences when you compare theatrical hypnosis and clinical hypnosis.
Clinical hypnosis is a genuine form of psychological treatment that can lead to positive therapeutic results if performed correctly and judiciously.
Contrary to popular belief, people under a hypnotic trance are in total control of themselves and cannot do things that they usually would not do.
Another fact is that not everyone is susceptible to hypnosis. Some people have the ‘hypnotizability’ trait, while others may not.
However, an individual must be willing to undergo hypnosis and have at least a moderate degree of hypnotizability for hypnosis to be effective. Let us discuss the safety implications of hypnosis.
What is clinical hypnosis?
Before we discuss the safety implications of hypnosis, we must first establish what the process of hypnosis entails. Hypnosis, also known as a hypnotic suggestion or hypnotherapy, is a trance-like state of heightened concentration and focus in an individual.
It is a fantastic and powerful tool used to ‘reprogram our software,’ while assisting us in gaining control of various spheres of our personal development.
Clinical hypnosis is usually performed by a trained therapist who uses different hypnosis techniques, like mental images and verbal repetition, to attain the required results.
When a patient is under a hypnotic trance, they feel more calm and relaxed while being more accommodating to recommendations and ideas.
Why do people go for hypnotherapy sessions?
As discussed above, hypnosis enables people to gain control over specific undesired behaviors and habits that affect their lives. It aids in coping with pain and anxiety without compromising your dignity and well-being.
Hypnotherapy also helps in reducing stress and anxiety, especially before a medical procedure, like giving birth or breast biopsy.
Hypnosis has also proved to help people with conditions, like mental health conditions, cancer treatment side effects, and hot flashes associated with menopause.
It is also for behavioral changes related to insomnia, overeating, smoking, or bedwetting. Hypnotherapy also helps when coping with pain as a result of fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, cancer, temporomandibular joint problems, headaches, and dental procedures.
The safety implications of hypnosis
Unlike the hypnosis parlor tricks depicted in movies and on TV, hypnosis involves an induced trance-like state intended to increase awareness of the present moment.
The patient involved remains aware and can remember all the happenings while he/she was under hypnosis.
Hypnosis is a safe and effective therapeutic mode of treatment that helps with treating conditions like headaches, anxiety, depression, and quitting bad habits, like smoking and excessive drinking.
Rather than taking away control from an individual, hypnotherapy increases the amount of power an individual has over certain aspects of his/her life; thus, getting rid of negative perceptions like anxiety, bad habits, stress, and pain.
It works very quickly when compared to other forms of therapy.However, it is also realistic to not think of hypnosis as a magic wand. Its results will not be seen overnight.
Approximately, it takes 21 days to teach a new habit into the subconscious mind and a minimum of 3-6 consecutive and weekly sessions to ensure maximum results.
Common misconceptions about hypnosis
1. Hypnotherapy is as it is portrayed on TV and in horror movies
As much as stage shows by famous hypnotists are real, they are mainly for theatrical and entertainment purposes only. Often, you will find people clucking like chickens and barking like dogs just for the joy and enjoyment of the audience.
A therapeutic hypnosis session guarantees that the patient is always in control of their actions. It is a powerful tool that allows a professional therapist to access your subconscious mind to instill some positive suggestions.
For complete reassurance, it is crucial to have a chat with your therapist about the session and what you expect from it. Make sure you are clear and straightforward to prevent any confusion or mistakes.
2. Hypnosis is not similar to sleeping
Despite hypnosis being a heightened learning state where the mind is alert, and the body is in deep relaxation, it is also directly related to sleep. Once in a while, you may find hypnosis patients drifting to sleeping mode.
Although you may go to sleep during the session, you are likely to hear everything that is happening within the session while making valid responses to your hypnotherapist.
It is the hypnotherapist’s responsibility to ensure that the patient is in a state of relaxed awareness and remains awake during the whole session.
3. Everyone is hypnotizable
Subjects who are under a hypnotic state should be voluntarily willing to be induced. No one can be hypnotized against their will, and working with a therapist is a co-creative task. It requires the subject and the hypnotherapist to build a connection for the hypnosis to work.
One of the reasons for failure to induce a subject into a hypnotic state is the lack of creating proper rapport with the hypnotherapist or working with an unqualified health care professional.
The tasks and techniques used in hypnosis require a professional who has adequate experience and expertise. Learning how to perform hypnosis is not done overnight.
It requires patience, effort, and hard work to understand the underlying principles behind hypnotherapy. As such, it is vital to check the educational and professional background of your preferred clinical hypnotherapist before booking your session.
It is best to choose to deal with a professional therapist with whom you can easily build a connection and a sense of trust.
Are there any side effects of hypnosis?
Just like any other form of treatment, hypnosis has various side effects, although they are rare. When conducted by an experienced health care professional, hypnotherapy is a safe and alternative medical treatment for healing stressful life events that occurred in the past.
Some of the side effects include dizziness, distress or anxiety, headaches, drowsiness, and the creation of false memories. Some patients complain of a feeling of unnerving because of being ‘out of control,’ especially if they did not like the recommendations made to them.
In extreme cases, some adverse side effects include antisocial tendencies, extreme fatigue, panic attacks, self-image/body distortions, attention deficit, and even nausea and vomiting. Hypnosis is not for people with severe mental illness.
Hypnotherapy has proven to be an efficient and safe psychological treatment that helps people cope with stress, anxiety, and pain. It also helps in quitting bad habits like smoking and excessive drinking.
As a result, many experts recommend that this means of psychological treatment should be more prevalent in the medical field. However, hypnotherapy is not for everyone. Some people may not enter a state of trance full to allow for effective hypnosis.
Many hypnotherapists are of the view that people with higher intelligence are more likely to enter a hypnotic state than those with lower intelligence.
Regardless of the type of patient, a professional hypnotherapist should induce them into a trance-like state and help them deal with the underlying issues at hand.