What is Hypnotherapy?
A brief history of hypnosis
The ancient art of hypnosis has been in use for thousands of years. There are many references to trance and hypnosis in early writings and there is evidence to support the belief that the Ancient Greeks and Romans as far back as about the fourth century BC were using hypnosis therapeutically.
Among the key figures in the development of hypnosis as we know it today was the Austrian physician Franz Mesmer (1734–1815) from whose name the word ‘mesmerism’ comes.
James Braid, a highly respected Scottish surgeon, was the first to coin the term hypnosis. It means ‘sleep’ in Greek. Although he soon realised that the state of hypnosis was not actually sleep, the term was already being used and so it remains.
A British surgeon working in India, James Esdaile (1808–1859), discovered the beneficial effects of hypnosis as a natural anaesthetic and performed hundreds of operations in this way. However, he was unable to convince the medical profession of the benefits hypnosis could offer. They told him that pain was ‘character-building’. In reality the establishment were keen to embrace the new anaesthetics that they could charge for and control.
Emile Coue (1857–1926) pioneered the use of autosuggestion. He is most famous for the phrase ‘Day by day in every way I am getting better and better’. His work was based on the concept that all hypnosis is in fact self-hypnosis and the imagination is always more powerful than the will.
The British Medical Association (BMA) formally recognised that hypnosis could be used therapeutically in 1892. Soldiers suffering the physical and psychological effects of the First and Second World Wars were treated using hypnosis.
In 1955, the BMA first supported the teaching of hypnosis in medicine.
For a more detailed account of the history of hypnosis visit the IAEBP website here: http://evidencebasedpsychotherapy.com
So what is hypnosis?
Hypnosis is a state of relaxation. We all know what hypnosis feels like – you probably experience it naturally several times each day. You daydream, and realise time has just flown by without your even realising – you are briefly in a state of hypnosis. When you are experiencing the daydream have you noticed how relaxed and comfortable you feel?
Hypnosis is simply about relaxation. Even though you will feel wonderfully relaxed, you will at all times, remain aware and in control.
For the purposes of the therapy practiced by us, hypnosis is not the cure, nor is it the therapy, simply the aid that allows the suggestion and the analytical therapy to take place.
What is hypnotherapy and how does it work?
Hypnotherapy may be defined as a natural state of awareness in which the critical faculty of the mind is bypassed and acceptable selective thinking established.
When the patient is in a relaxed state specific thoughts and suggestions can be rooted in the subconscious mind. This can prompt the individual towards a change in behaviour in a positive, permanent way. Any such suggestions must be acceptable to the person for it to have an effect.
So what is hypnotherapy really doing?
It is helping to treat psychological problems by accessing the unconscious mind. This is where you store all your emotions and behaviours. Hypnotherapy helps to establish acceptable, positive and beneficial emotions and behaviours. Unlike other forms of therapy, which often take months or years to show results, hypnotherapy can very quickly help to establish alternative new behaviours, feelings and habits.
We use two main types of therapy: Suggestion Therapy (Clinical Hypnosis) and Cognitive Processing and Integration (CPI).
Suggestion Therapy (Clinical Hypnosis)
Suggestion therapy is the type of hypnotherapy that most people are aware of or have seen on the t.v. This is a combination of visualisation, positive suggestion and relaxation.
By treating and managing or controlling the symptoms it is wonderfully beneficial for the more minor problems such as smoking, nail biting, pre-test nerves, confidence-boosting, or achieving short-term goals. Children can be helped with suggestion therapy too using the Blowaway Technique.