Does hypnosis work? There is a wealth of research and clinical experience to confirm it as an effective part of psychotherapy, and as a self-help approach that can relieve many physical and emotional challenges, and enhance personal growth.
“Look Into My Eyes: You Are Feeling Sleepy.”
There are many myths about hypnosis, promoted in stage hypnotism shows, literature and movies, such as you fall “under the control” of the hypnotist or hypnotherapist; people can get “trapped” in a trance; people need to be very “suggestible” for it to work.
The American Psychological Association, Division of Psychological Hypnosis, says all these are false, and declares “Hypnosis is a skill you can learn. It is a tool you can use to help yourself feel better.”
Their brochure declares “Hypnosis has been shown to be effective in helping people with a wide variety of conditions including (but not limited to): Pain; Dental and Medical Procedures; Childbirth; Post-Surgical Recovery; Anxiety and Phobias; Depression; Stress; Smoking Cessation; Weight Management; Habit Disorders.
In his Wall Street Journal article Altered States – Hypnosis Goes Mainstream, Michael Waldholz explained, “Credible hypnotists don’t wave a watch in front of their clients, as portrayed in many old movies. People who enter into a so-called hypnotic trance are not, generally, put to sleep.
“On the contrary, practitioners say, they refocus their concentration to gain greater control. Researchers say that most people unwillingly enter into hypnosis like trances on their own in everyday life.
“When reading a riveting novel or watching a film or TV, many people are experiencing a trance-like state when they are so focused they become only vaguely aware of nearby noise, conversation or activity.”
Waldholz cites the example of Katie Miley, who “used self-hypnosis taught to her by a Chicago area psychologist to help her give birth ‘without being so anxious and without pain medication.’
“For weeks preceding the delivery Dr. Miley – herself a psychologist – used tapes provided by the therapist to practiced slipping into a hypnotic state.”
He adds, “Whatever the form it is increasingly being used to help women give birth without drugs, for muting dental pain, treating phobias and severe anxieties, for helping people lose weight, stop smoking or even perform better in athletics or academic tests.”
How does it work?
That is a very complex question to try to answer in a brief article like this, but one of the main concepts, it seems to me, is that hypnosis allows a therapist – or ourself, when using a hypnosis self-help product – to influence our thinking and feeling by communicating more effectively with our unconscious.
Psychologist, researcher and hypnotherapist Muriel Prince Warren, DSW notes, “The unconscious mind knows. The unconscious mind knows how to work without the conscious mind directing it.
“That’s one thing I have learned from years of conducting hypnotherapy. You can rely on the patient’s unconscious mind to come up with the answers, while the therapist contributes positive suggestions.”
She adds, “As a hypnotherapist, I know that the unconscious mind is best addressed by hypnotic language in a trance state” and affirms there are “numerous scientific studies in recent years showing that the hypnotized mind can exert a real and powerful effect on the body.”
The Hypnosis Network provides a wide series of audio programs by licensed mental-health professionals, such as Managing Stress and Anxiety.
Here is a testimonial about the personal growth value of the programs:
“Success and peak performance start with your beliefs about yourself and the world. Being consistently productive and fearless in your prospecting is absolutely a function of a well-honed mindset. The Hypnosis Network audio programs can help you to create a winning mindset so that you can become a success and reach your full potential.” — Brian Tracy [Also see his programs]