While hypnosis is a state of consciousness involving focused attention and bodily relaxation where in the individual is highly susceptible to suggestions, hypnotherapy is a form of psychotherapy that combines hypnosis and therapeutic intervention. The change created is subconscious , in the form of new responses, thoughts, attitudes, behaviors or feelings of the client, thus, hypnotherapy is used in complementing the treatment of a range of behavioral, physical, and psychological conditions, in collaboration with the client’s medical doctors when required.
Hypnotherapy can be used to reduce the emotional stacks within an individual that have been built upon over months, or even years, and help to restore their wellbeing. Hypnotherapy can successfully treat those individuals suffering from stress. Apart from feelings of being overwhelmed or increased irritation or nervousness, tension, frustration anxiety may manifest itself in many physical forms: dry mouth, muscular tension presented as back pain or neck pain, bruxism (jaw clenching / teeth grinding), gastric problems, headache and migraine, energy depletion and worst of all as panic attacks, all can be related to anxiety and addressed with hypnotherapy with the clearance of the medical doctor when needed.
Mild to moderate depression, which often involves feelings of low self-esteem, feelings of failure, isolation, feelings of inferiority, inadequacy can be improved. Hypnotherapy, being a brief psychotherapy can help the depressed patient regain their will to live or recover. The reasons for depression can be revealed and addressed and negative thoughts or negative self-suggestion are eliminated and replaced with healthier, more positive inner messages that will support the client’s efforts in beating depression.
Sleep disorders like insomnia or nightmares that may accompany stress can be resolved; hypnotherapy can also address diseases like asthma and arthritis when seen as stress induced diseases.
However it is worth mentioning that not all clients will respond to hypnotherapy, especially those who have serious clinically defined mental illness or even those who have milder mental illness but have a fear of the idea of hypnosis and those may respond to other approaches like psychotherapy or pharmaceuticals.
Examples of the more prominent sources of anxiety and stress for which people seek hypnotherapy are: public speaking, test taking, and job stress as hypnotherapy has been proven to be effective in improving performance. Hypnotherapy can help as well to Sports including sports performance, training discipline, event nerves, and for academic difficulties as it helps in reducing exam nerves(even driving text nerves), increasing the concentration and enhancing the creativity. In enhancing social skills, people may use hypnotherapy to help reducing shyness and blushing. Social Disabilities like speech disorders, tics, tremors, etc. that are related to low self-confidence have been successfully addressed. Executive Stress as in Sales Performance, Burn Out, Interview Performance, writer’s block etc. are also arenas for hypnotherapy where the client benefits from the increase in self-confidence and boost in assertiveness and boost in creativity that hypnotherapy is sure to deliver.
Hypnotherapy can also work well for anxiety disorders such as phobias. Phobias are very varied and can present themselves as irrational fears of height, darkness, snakes, animals, insects water, rats, insects, birds, dental work, blood, flying, closed / open spaces, etc. They are developed as a protective reaction of the subconscious mind, trying to shield the individual and keep him safe by forcing him to avoid certain situations that are perceived as threatening at a certain instance in the past and registered as valid for the present and future . However, not all lessons learned are useful and some may become limiting the individual’s social progress or inconveniencing his life style or even limiting where he can be like in the case of phobia of beautiful women (caligynephobia) for example! or worse from daylight (Eosophobia) or even causing the client physical illness like in the case of the fear of bowel movements (defecaloesiophobia).
Compulsive behaviors follow a similar pattern of subconscious mind affecting the person’s daily life and peace, this time the subconscious is trapped into repetitive thoughts and actions , strong enough that the person cannot consciously overcome. These can be successfully minimized with the use of hypnotherapy. Hoarding, gambling, eating, trichotillomania (compulsive hair pulling) are example compulsive behaviors.
Hypnotherapy has also been used, often with great success, to stop self-destructive and addictive habits like smoking, nail biting, alcoholism, insomnia, bed-wetting, thumb-sucking, etc.
Unresolved grief as in separation, divorce, death of family member/ friend/ pet, job loss, business failure, etc. are depressive events when clients can seek the help of a hypnotherapist.
Hypnotherapy can help in treating overweight and obesity issues with great results whether the clients are just used to eat their way out of boredom or are emotional eaters that can go on eating sprees when irritated or innervated, as well as over eaters who often miss the signals of satiety that their bodies send them when they are full. Anorexia and bulimia are extreme eating disorders that affect the sufferers physically and emotionally at a deep level and can be addressed with hypnotherapy as well.
Hypnotherapy has been employed in the alleviation of physical pain, often with great success, as demonstrated by James Esdaile in India, where he was able to perform amputations without anesthetic. Where there is significant pain, glove anesthesia techniques may also be employed. Hypnotherapy is nowadays used in severe pain management in acute and chronic Illness, burns, and cancer. Whilst it may not be possible to obtain a cure in certain conditions, hypnotherapy can assist in the relief of distressing symptoms and help subject to come to terms with their illness so bring about a significant and beneficial change in the quality of their life. Hypnotherapy can be of help in the doctor’s or hospital’s waiting room, if an appropriate legal environment is available, as it can reduce the pain as well as fear and anxiety that some people feel before medical procedures. Similarly, hypnosis is employed in dentistry, allowing some patients to undergo treatment without anesthetic, or to allow them to feel more comfortable about visiting the dentist. Post-operative recovery enhancement is also an area worth mentioning where hypnotherapy can help alleviating the pain and increasing the moral of the client for a faster recovery.
Another important trending area of application of hypnotherapy, especially in the UK, is childbirth, a method known as hypnobirthing, where hypnotherapy helps to minimize discomfort to the mother through pain management. Other Obstetric Uses are Ante-Natal Training, Morning sickness, heartburn, post-Natal Depression. Gynecological disorders like menopausal problems, Pre-Menstrual Syndrome can also be addressed.
Erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, vaginisimus, anorgasmia, low libido are areas where hypnotherapy can contribute major improvement provided that the endocrinal imbalances are addressed and ruled out as causes of the sexual difficulties.
Since our immune system is controlled by our subconscious, psychosomatic and psychogenic illnesses is also another area where hypnotherapy can be of great help, although it is essential that the client is referred to a GP to rule out any serious physical or organic cause. Whilst a cure can never be promised, often the client's illness can become more manageable, with less frequent symptoms, providing them with a better quality of life. Examples of such illnesses include migraines, arthritis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and skin conditions (Eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, excess Sweating).
Taking a look at all of the different areas of application for hypnotherapy, we can see that fear is at the root of all of them, fear of failure, perceived danger, physical pain, embaressement, etc., sometimes manifesting itself as a physical symptom that kicks in a way to help or push the person to avoid the situation. Hypnotherapy can address fear in the subconscious mind and lead the emotional and physical symptoms to their resolution. It is hoped that, with increased awareness from the public, together with tougher regulations to practice, more people will understand the various applications of hypnosis and hypnotherapy, and turn to them more frequently as complementary approaches to traditional medicine.
Neurosis can be released by suggestion therapy or analytical work depending on the case.
Suggestion hypnosis can help up to 60 % of the cases. Driver’s test nerves, exam nerves, public speaking are examples of neuroses that respond very well to hypnosuggestions. The CCF is bypassed in trance state and the new learning delivered as suggestions replaces the un-useful/outmoded learning.
Parts therapy can help release neurosis, specifically when the client’s wish is to stop an unwanted behavior.
More serious cases of neurosis involving trauma that do not respond to suggestion therapy are best released by Regression where the intensity of the initial sensitizing event is relived (past pacing) and emotional release happens (abreaction) with respect to this trauma that was brought vividly to the consciousness .The incident is then addressed properly using appropriate techniques (Gestalt inner child work , the Slide Show technique, etc..) and the resulting newly found relieved state ,that is free from the emotional baggage related to this trauma, is then projected into the future (future pacing). The keys of the intervention are to create the conditions for the client to relive the upsetting experience for the release of the suppressed emotions, often causing the unhelpful neurotic behaviours to occur, the memory to be worked through, and then the project a happy, issue free emotional state into the client’s future for his subconscious mind to enjoy and to expect.
The Regression can be done using different approaches ranging from the unstructured free association method to Hogan’s structured regression to cause. The choice should depend on the client’s personality type and number and type of issues he is presenting.
The Abreaction experience can be the reliving of the traumatising event accompanied by physical motor action as in kinaesthetic sensations or movement, and/or more commonly, the emotional response , even though the emotional response and /or the physical responses can happen with no recollection of the initial event itself. The expression of the abreaction varies with the personality type. A Nomad may sob and get dramatic where a Warrior may maintain his composure, may or may not release a tear. Clients and especially Warriors should be encouraged to cease the moment and deal with the emotion as this is the therapeutic step that will induce the actual shift.
To deal with the trauma, the client’s way should be respected with the therapist guiding as opposed to the therapist leading the way to resolution and healing. Inner child work using some specific Gestalt processes is often a great tool especially in dealing with childhood trauma.
Finally, it is worth noting that, in certain cases ,suggestion work alone or past pacing usually resulting in abreaction alone can do the trick for some clients , so can future pacing alone, so the therapist needs to make sensible choices depending on the client and the way things progress during the sessions.
Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) was originated in the 1970s by Richard Bandler, a computer programmer and student of psychology and John Grinder, a Linguistics professor. Their aim was to examine how people construct their subjective experiences and how this affects their behavior. They adopted a modelling approach, starting to study and form models of the work of three major therapists: Fritz Perls, Virginia Satir and Milton Erickson and published their observations and conclusions in their books: Structure of Magic 1 and 2. Bandler is quoted saying that NLP is an “attitude of curiosity and a methodology of modelling”.
The name, Neuro- Linguistic Programming, refers to Neuro-physiology, Linguistic as in the science that studies the use of language, both verbal and nonverbal, and Programming referring to the patterns people create in their own behavior, analogous to the structure of programming in computing, a name that indicates the basic idea about this approach.
NLP assumes that experience has a structure, that behavior is dictated by the person’s own model of the world that he has subjectively built based on the processed input from his senses.
NLP ‘s assumptions , referred to as NLP presuppositions are crucial to the understanding of the approach:
- The map is not the territory, each individual’s model of the world is unique and should not be imposed on others
- Change in one element of the body/mind system is reflected on the whole system
- The element with greatest flexibility will be the most influential in the system
- All behavior has a positive intention
- There is no failure, only feedback.
Some of these concepts are getting back up now from Neuroscience, especially with the discovery of mirroring neurons giving validity to the NLP’s basic concept of modelling. Other concepts like the uniqueness of the individual experience and the ownership of behavior are being backed up by Neuroscience as well.
These presuppositions create a world with the NLP backdrop where individuals make their choices of behaviors according to the best of their knowledge within their understanding of their world. When a problem arises, the individual is not at his desired state, he needs to access his internal resources by reorganizing his internal processing because all resources he needs are already in him or can be developed.
According to the NLP model, Individuals are prone to be affected by different kinds of filters that interfere with their process of modelling: limitations of the human nervous system, social and genetic factors and individual constraints, thus every individual comes up with his unique map of the world, his world.
In NLP interventions, a skilled practitioner identifies the specific neurolinguistics patterns of the client and becomes able to understand how the behavior is generated and maintained by his client to be able then to enrich their realities by addressing the generalizations, distortions and deletions . By doing that, he takes the subject from the surface structure of his experience to the deep structure and eventually to the sensory experience at the submodalities level. Changes in submodalities in NLP, which are the finer distinctions within the sensory representational systems, when guided by the skilled NLP practitioner play a pivotal role supporting the individual in enriching his map of reality or reframing the bad experiences. Much of the results depend on the active participation of the client
Conceptual concepts that are key to any NLP practitioner are: TOTE (when modelling the client’s behavior), language models (Meta Model and Milton Model), representation systems (visual, auditory, kinesthetic and, to a lesser extent, olfactory and gustatory), accessing cues (how individuals access their internal information), anchors ( associating internal experience with an external one) and rapport building (pacing and leading).The practitioner will need his analytical skills to chunk information to identify patterns of behaviors, he will also need his behavioral skills in order to calibrate the individual and act in the most appropriate way accordingly.
NLP is a great tool in the hand of the hypnotherapist as it facilitates his job at many levels. In the pretalk, the hypnotherapist can use the Meta Model to detect the way the client has been impoverishing his reality. AHA moments can result from such revelations and the client will be more optimistic about his therapy outcome now that his problem is reframed. The calibrating, pacing and leading skills enhance the hypnotherapist’s rapport with the client which reflects in a more positive relationship where the client is more relaxed and more open to the suggestions made by the hypnotherapist. Detecting a change in the breathing pattern, for example, may induce the therapist to ask the client what did he remember in case the client did not share and this memory may make all the difference.
In the same vein ,noticing how the submodalities work for each person is also very helpful as the hypnotherapist can tailor make his message to his client’s specific submodalities for optimal results.
Personally and very subjectively, when I am in uptime mode with my client, I feel that I am in a sort of trance where I see the world with his eyes and even feel his map around me with all its limitations and it is then that I feel so clear about challenging these limitations with my questions to the client which prepares him perfectly for the hypnotherapy session afterwards.
NLP invites the therapist to chunk the information shared by the client which leads to a more accurate perspective of the client’s issues and NLP’s Socratic questioning can even help remove a smokescreen to reveal an underlying issue instead of the presenting issue.
There is no better gift that the therapist can give to his client than an anchor for a positive state. Anchoring is an easy to apply NLP technique that can be included beautifully in a hypnotherapy session and can support the therapy in maintaining its goals.
NLP techniques are excellent tools to induce change and growth.
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) was developed by Stanford Engineer Gary Craig after a lifetime interest in the subject of emotional health. It is also Important also to acknowledge that he developed EFT as a result of initially studying with psychologist and academic Dr Roger Callahan who first used the concept and methodology of tapping on acupuncture meridian points at the same time as making affirmative statements related to emotional states. EFT falls under the energy psychology category, as it treats the body as a mind/body energy system though somatic stimulation of specific points on the skin which coincide with the end, or nearest surface, points of the acupuncture meridians.
The basic formula is to repeat an acceptance statement as in the template: Even though … (the negative experience).. , I deeply love and accept myself, while tapping on the hand acupoint then following with a reminder phrase as in: this (negative experience/thought/feeling, etc.) while tapping on the rest of the points. Working with specific memories yields the best results, which is best done by breaking these down to their different ‘aspects’ which helps prevent recurrence.
EFT potential applications span the whole range of psychological and physiological disorders, with fast and permanent results, as in chronic and acute pain , anxiety ,guilt, certain phobias and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to name a few. Great results worth mentioning are 86-90% success rate after only 6 sessions of EFT treatment of PTSD in war veterans (Church et al 2010).
EFT is based on the assumptions that the principle cause of ailment (psychological and physical) is life trauma (single or cumulative) and the meaning that we consciously and subconsciously attribute to it. This trauma blocks the energy channels which results in the ailment. The emerging fields of Epigenetics , psychoneuroimmunology and neuroplasticity, among others, are putting the pieces of the puzzle together with regards to the interpretation of the body energy , EFT and energy psychology.
EFT aims at allowing the body to hold the bad experience without the emotional response that it induces. This can be done by tapping the designated acupuncture points (somatic stimulation) until the emotion subsides (cognitive restructuring and imaginative exposure). Each round lasts for one minute. Progress is measured on a subjective scale from one up to 10. The client is asked to assess and repeat until he reaches zero or a plateau ( in which case the presenting case should be revisited to uncover an underlying issue , secondary gain , safety issues , identity issues).
Regarding the measurable physiological mechanism, the mental focus on the trauma increases the arousal and the applied acupoint stimulation decreases it until the two contradictory input resolve the emotion associated with the trauma. The manual acupoint stimulation decreases the arousal by creating a piezo-electric charge within the body’s connective tissue which eventually results into the production of feel good hormones (opioids, serotonin, GABA) inducing a relaxation response and a rapid desensitization to the trauma.
A pivotal aspect of the treatment success is the professional level of the therapist who should be guiding the process with total mindfulness away from being invested in the outcome. A skilled practitioner can also induce reframing of the negative experience (cognitive restructuring) .Interestingly enough, client skepticism about the outcomes of the treatment has no negative effect on it.
EFT was developed further by skilled practitioners who added to the procedures. The Choices Method, Matrix Reimprinting and deep state Repatterning are current advanced form of EFT.
EFT is a great simple tool at the disposal of the hypnotherapist that can be used as adjunct form of therapy which can only add to the efficacy of the hypnotherapy treatment, as long as the client is comfortable/willing to try it. It can provide great support in between the sessions when given as a homework and even as a maintenance method after the hypnotherapy is done, giving the client an opportunity to be more actively participating in his own healing. The client benefits of all the feel good hormones circulating in his system and comes to his hypnotherapy sessions with a positive can-do attitude, which reflects positively on the outcome of the sessions.EFT has a proven record in treating phobias and anxiety, indications of choice where it can increase the effectiveness of the hypnotherapy work as well and may lead to attaining faster results.
One application where EFT can be of very good use , is when the hypnotherapist chooses EFT to first approach a client with issues of high emotional content and high probability of risky abreaction (in the case of a heart condition patient for example). In this case, the therapist can divide the experience into sub-aspects and address them one sub-aspect at a time until improvement is seen then can the therapist can proceed into hypnotherapy.
Hypnotherapy can successfully address a wide range of conditions. (Name of practice) offers specialized treatments in many different areas including:
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Fears & Phobias
- Anxiety Disorders
- Smoking Cessation
- Weight Control
- Mental Health Issues
- Sleep Disorders
- Grief & Loss
- Eating Disorders
- Chronic Conditions
- Obsessive/Compulsive Disorders
- Body & Self Image
- Pain Management
- Pre- and Post-Operative
- Learning Disorders
- Pregnancy & Postpartum
- Goal Setting
- Personal Development
- Self Improvement