Thanks to on-stage entertainers and a wide variety of movies featuring hypnotized cast members acting stupid or worse, being manipulated to do unspeakable things, for many, hypnosis has a bad rep for being little more than pure entertainment.
The truth about hypnosis and hypnotherapy. however, is something completely different. Hypnosis as a healing tool has existed since the 15th century and since 1841 and has been further refined and improved by some of the most capable and advanced psychologists and researchers of their time. While its story has been tarnished by decades of disrepute, since the it's now making its way back into the mainstream.
Today the American Psychological Association considers Hypnosis to be “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.”
In 2001, The British Psychological Society officially declared hypnosis to be a proven therapeutic medium to curb stress, anxiety, pain, insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome, and migraines. "Improvements from hypnosis can be as specific as eliminating erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation, remaining committed to a workout plan, delivering a dynamic sales presentation—or as broad as improving motivation and increasing confidence," said psychologist and certified hypnotherapist Marty Lerman, Ph.D., author of Mindshift.
And while it's strongly associated with the psychological sciences, hypnosis is gaining popularity as well in broader mind-body areas as well. In fact, a 2000 study conducted at Harvard found that patients who underwent hypnosis during surgery had fewer complications and required shorter procedures and less post-op medication .
Hypnosis is gaining in popularity among celebrities as well. Matt Damon, Tiger Woods, Andre Agassi, and Fergie have all been advocates of hypnotherapy for one reason or another: whether to stop smoking, improve focus, and lose weight.
While most people equate hypnosis with swinging pocket watches and the old "you are getting very sleepy" line, it's actually very similar to meditation or guided imagery and helps coax the subject into a hyper-attentive mental state in which the subject is most open to positive suggestions from the hypnotherapist. Think of it as plugging affirmations straight into your brain, without the self-doubt.
"By accessing this subconscious part of the brain, we can bypass all the negative critical thinking and open inward to an awareness of potential and knowledge. Your imagination and creativity are free to explore all kinds of solutions and game plans to situations," Lerman said, equating a hypnotic trance to something we all encounter from time to time. Have you ever been so absorbed in an activity that you didn't hear your name when it was called? Did you ever miss a turn or an off ramp because you were deep in thought about something else?
Most people can be hypnotized but to differing degrees. And the best subjects are not the most gullible or submissive either, according to David Spiegel, M.D., a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Stanford School of Medicine. Actually, quite the contrary happens to be true. A 2012 study conducted by Dr. Spiegel's team found that in people who are easily hypnotized, the brain's executive-control network (responsible for making decisions) is activated in tandem with the salience network, which helps you focus.
In people where hypnosis is less effective, the two brain regions don't work together the same way. This could explain why people who become engrossed in day-to-day activities—such as reading, working, or just brainstorming—tend to be more easily hypnotized.
What changes or improvements do you want to make in yourself today? Chances are hypnotherapy can help you get there a lot easier and a whole lot faster. Make an appointment today using my online booking system.