Hypnotherapy is an effective way to alter unwanted thoughts, feelings and behaviour. The process aims to alter a subjects state of consciousness and create positive change in the subconscious mind, research has proven the subconscious mind needs to be engaged for effective change to occur. Sigmund Freud developed an iceberg analogy to explain the three levels of mind state, he said at the conscious level we have thoughts and perceptions, at the subconscious level we have memories and stored knowledge, the unconscious level is where we store all of our darkest thoughts and desires.
Hypnotherapy aims to reprogram learned behaviour and thought patterns at the subconscious level and this creates a positive effect on the conscious and unconscious mind. There are many different hypnotherapy forms and techniques that can be used to bring about conscious change.
All hypnosis involves the induction of a trance state. The suggestion of trance induces a fear in some people, they think they will lose control and be manipulated or taken advantage of but trance is not like this at all. We go in and out of trance several times a day, when we are reading a book or watching T.V we are in a trance state. Trance is quite the opposite of losing control, when we enter trance we gain a heightened sense of awareness and we can reject any suggestions our subconscious mind doesn’t agree with. Trance can be induced via different types of induction, hypnotherapy will always use some form of induction. Induction of a trance state is something that all forms of hypnotherapy will have in common, below we will look at the therapeutic differences:
Milton Hyland Erickson 1901-1980 was an American psychiatrist who developed his own style of hypnotherapy using metaphor and stories. Ericksonian hypnosis is thought to bypass the conscious mind and therefore avoid any resistance to therapy. Erickson is considered by many to be the founding father of modern hypnotherapy, many of his techniques have also been adopted by NLP practitioners.
Suggestion hypnotherapy is the oldest form of hypnosis. The theory is that once the subject is in a relaxed state the subject becomes more suggestable, positive suggestions and ideas are implanted into their mind by the therapist and this creates desired thought patterns.
The theory of regression therapy is that unwanted behaviours are just a symptom of unreleased emotional charge from traumatic past events, once in a relaxed state, the therapist takes the subject back over past events to forgive any hurts and release this negative charge. Some people believe in reincarnation and past lives, in this case, the therapist can take the subject back to their previous lives to release any karma.
Clinical hypnotherapy uses all of the above hypnotherapy types. After consultation, the therapist may use metaphor to create new thought patterns and suggestion to reinforce them. The subject may need to experience regression to traumatic experiences or to childhood, a time before they developed any limiting or unhelpful beliefs. At the end of the session, the therapist will use visualization to reinforce new beliefs and create positive change.
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