Psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud believed that repressed memories and desires wreak all sorts of havoc on the mind. As a result, we develop stigmas, phobias, aversions or, in severe cases, mental disorders. He felt that therapy sessions could uncover the unconscious glitches and repair the human psyche.
A number of therapists have tried to elicit their patient’s most repressed memories to heal afflictions, but perhaps none are as mysterious or effective as hypnotherapy. Using hypnosis techniques, therapists can often push past mental blocks to guide memory recall, and then separate the thoughts from the learned behavior, leaving more negative associations behind.
During a hypnotherapy visit, patients will answer questions regarding their medical history and the condition they would like treated. Next, the hypnotherapist will discuss how stage hypnosis works. The subject will typically be asked to lie down and will be guided through relaxation techniques, sometimes using music or a series of hypnosis techniques.
Often a story is told and the wording of that story helps the subject fall into a state of trance. In this state, the sufferer will be given a post hypnotic suggestion to help alleviate his or her condition. Most sessions last about an hour and adult patients see remarkable improvement in 4-10 visits, children in simply 1 or 2 sessions. In some cases, patients receive self-hypnosis information or tapes to use at home to facilitate recovery.
Hypnosis therapy is used to treat a wide host of ailments from mental to physical. Most recently, researchers discovered that the mind plays an important role in pain management, particularly with cancer patients or those undergoing surgery. Studies show that hypnosis meditation can lessen one’s need for medication and shorten recovery time. Thinking negative thoughts can lead to stress, which has powerful ramifications on the body.
It can disrupt a woman’s menstrual cycle, create a cold sore, make a person ill with a cold, disrupt sleep patterns, generate ulcers, facilitate hair loss, exacerbate psoriasis, lead to heart disease and contribute to obesity. Today, hypnosis sessions are used in treating obesity, asthma, anxiety, pain, sleep walking, thumb sucking, nail biting, smoking, inflammatory bowel disease, insomnia, addiction, warts, bedwetting, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, eczema, psoriasis, acne, migraines, stress, tinnitus, cancer pain, obesity, anorexia, bulimia, indigestion, phobias, depression and the pain of childbirth.
For hypnotherapy training, most people obtain a doctorate degree in medicine or psychology. Others receive a master’s in social work, psychology or therapy and have at least 20 hours of ASCH-approved hypnotherapy training. Six to eight week courses provide licenses to mental health professionals as well. To find a professional who practices hypnotherapy, one can look at a number of websites, including: The American Society of Clinical Hypnosis at Asch, The Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis at Sceh or The American Association of Professional Hypnotherapists at Aaph.