What is Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy ?
Hypnosis is a method by which a person can be guided into an altered state of consciousness called the trance state. It is characterized by a deep state relaxation with increased suggestibility. In this state, one may achieve physical and psychological changes that are seemingly beyond one‟s normal conscious capability. For most people it is a pleasant state of deep inner calm and physical relaxation. Anyone who is willing to cooperate and follow simple instructions can be hypnotized. The state of deep trance is similar to that experienced by experts in yoga and practitioners of various meditation techniques (Kroger, 2008).
As a matter of fact, each one of us is using hypnosis, knowingly or unknowingly in some form or the other, every single day of our lives. We experience a trance-like state each time we are lost in thoughts, lose track of time or engage in day-dreaming. The people that are easiest to hypnotize are those who are able to maintain focus on a desired objective (Kroger, 2008).
Psychological therapy done in conjunction with the hypnotic trance state is called as hypnotherapy. It is often classed as a form of complementary medicine but is perhaps better viewed as a branch of psychotherapy. It is not an occult esoteric art but a science-based therapeutic discipline. Utilizing the state of deep trance, the therapist assists the client in uncovering and exploring thoughts, emotions and memories of past events which may have been affecting a person’s present state of mind. By activating one‟s own inner resources, hypnotherapy has been known to help in psychological and psychosomatic disorders. Besides this, hypnotherapy can be used to help replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations for personal growth and development (Kroger, 2008).
A lot of people believe that when they are hypnotized they will not be aware of anything that is happening around them. Yet, if one lost all connection with the hypnotist, how would one be able to follow the instructions given by therapist? Hypnosis has absolutely nothing to do with being asleep or being unconscious. One hears everything and knows what’s going on during the entire process (Erickson, Seymour and Secter, 2005). Thus all hypnosis is ultimately self- hypnosis. A person is always in control and it is always up to the person, whether he/she wants to accept or reject the ideas and statements offered by the therapist (Elman, 1968).