Category Archive: Hypnosis

Hypnosis has been widely used for centuries. There is data showing the Egyptian using hypnosis to cure diseases. Hypnosis is a therapeutic technique in which clinicians make suggestions to individuals who have undergone a procedure designed to relax them and focus their minds.

Although hypnosis has been controversial, most clinicians now agree it can be a powerful, effective therapeutic technique for a wide range of conditions, including pain, anxiety and mood disorders. Hypnosis can also help people change their habits, such as quitting smoking.

According to the American Psychological Association's Div. 30 (Society of Psychological Hypnosis), hypnosis is a procedure during which a health professional or researcher suggests while treating someone, that he or she experience changes in sensations, perceptions, thoughts or behavior. Although some hypnosis is used to make people more alert, most hypnosis includes suggestions for relaxation, calmness and well-being. Instructions to imagine or think about pleasant experiences are also commonly included during hypnosis. People respond to hypnosis in different ways. Some describe hypnosis as a state of focused attention, in which they feel very calm and relaxed. Most people describe the experience as pleasant.

While you may think of hypnosis as something only in the movies, hypnosis is used in real life to help people with depression, gastro-intestinal disorders and other health problems. Because hypnosis can help people manage and, in some cases, recover from illness, it is becoming a more common part of treatment plans.

People differ in the degree to which they respond to hypnosis. A person's ability to experience hypnosis can be inhibited by fears and concerns arising from some common misconceptions. Contrary to some depictions of hypnosis in books, movies or television, people who have been hypnotized do not lose control over their behavior. Unless amnesia has specifically been suggested, people remain aware of who they are, where they are and remember what transpired during hypnosis. Hypnosis makes it easier for people to experience suggestions, but it does not force them to have these experiences.

Hypnosis is not a type of psychotherapy. It also is not a treatment in and of itself; rather, it is a procedure that can be used to facilitate other types of therapies and treatments. Clinical hypnosis should be conducted only by properly trained and credentialed health care professionals, who also have been trained in the use of hypnosis and who are working within the limits of their professional expertise.

Hypnosis has been used in the treatment of pain; depression; anxiety and phobias; stress; habit disorders; gastro-intestinal disorders; skin conditions; post-surgical recovery; relief from nausea and vomiting; childbirth; treatment of hemophilia and many other conditions. However, it may not be useful for all psychological and/or medical problems or for all patients or clients. The decision to use hypnosis as an adjunct to treatment should only be made in consultation with a qualified health care provider who has been trained in the use and limitations of clinical hypnosis. In addition to its use in clinical settings, hypnosis is used in research and forensic settings. Researchers study the value of hypnosis in the treatment of physical and psychological problems and examine the impact of hypnosis on sensation, perception, learning and memory.

Hypnosis is likely to be effective for most people suffering from diverse forms of pain, with the possible exception of a minority of patients who are resistant to hypnotic interventions.

Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology and American Psychological Association

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