Hypnotherapy 101: What hynotherapy is, and what it isn't
Hypnotherapy is a type of complementary medicine that’s been gaining more attention in mainstream media as of late. In this blog post, we discuss what hypnotherapy is (and what it isn’t), and walk you through all you need to know about this alternative treatment.
What is hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is a form of guided hypnosis and psychotherapy that involves guiding an individual into the trance state.
In this altered state of awareness, an individual feels deeply relaxed, yet hyper-focused at the same time. Most people undergoing hypnotherapy also experience increased suggestibility, which allows the hypnotherapist to help them bring about a positive change in themselves.
What isn’t hypnotherapy?
Television shows, movies and other popular culture commonly present hypnotherapy as a form of mind-reading or mind-control, but this isn’t the case at all.
To be more specific: when individuals are in the trance state, they’re very much conscious and aware of their actions. The hypnotherapist can merely make suggestions; they aren’t able to take over the minds of an individual or control their actions.
What are the different types of hypnotherapy?
There are two main branches of hypnotherapy, and these are suggestion therapy and regression therapy.
Firstly, suggestion therapy is used to reduce unwanted behaviours or habits such as smoking, overindulging in alcohol, binge-eating, gambling, and more. This form of hypnotherapy hinges on an individual’s ability to respond to the suggestions provided by the hypnotherapist while they’re in the trance state.
Regression therapy, on the other hand, involves “regressing” back to the past to uncover repressed memories. After the hypnotherapist guides the individual into the trance state, they then help this person to explore their unconscious memories. The goal is to identify whether the individual has experienced any traumatic events that are currently causing them psychological stress or problematic habits.
What can hypnotherapy be used for?
Suggestion therapy and regression therapy can be used to achieve a wide range of objectives, including:
- Helping people get rid of unwanted habits
- Uncovering the root cause of mental conditions
- Relieving acute pain, such as pain experienced during childbirth
If you’re wondering how hypnotherapy can help to relieve the pain of, say, childbirth, here’s how it works: pregnant women practice deep breathing, visualisation, and other techniques, so that they can train their brains to elicit a “deep relaxation response” on demand.
Once these women go into labour, they rely on this response to help them give birth in a more relaxed state. Because these womens’ bodies produce more endorphins, and less stress hormones, they report feeling less pain during their contractions.
Read more: What is hypnobirthing? How does it work?