You’ve likely seen, live or on television, a stage hypnotist in a club hypnotizing a subject, and having that person perform some humorous and ridiculous action such as clucking like a chicken. But hypnosis and its cousin, clinical hypnotherapy, are not parlor tricks. For decades, hypnosis has been recognized as a useful tool in addressing psychological issues. Coupled with therapy, it becomes a powerful weapon in a therapist’s arsenal.
Hypnosis: Addressing Symptoms
Hypnosis permits suggestions to be planted in an individual’s subconscious. Contrary to popular belief, a hypnotist cannot “take control” of a subject’s mind. A stage hypnotist has willing subjects, many of whom have been drinking, which makes them much more suggestible. And that is key to hypnosis: it requires a subject willing to be hypnotized.
While it makes for an entertaining performance, hypnosis has much more valuable uses. If you indulge in too much coffee, a hypnotist might plant a suggestion that you only have one cup with breakfast and none for the rest of the day. Perhaps the suggestion goes like this: “Coffee only tastes good in the morning, and only the first cup. After that its flavor reminds you of gasoline.”
This may work for a while. But the human mind is not a computer. You cannot simply slip a new program in to replace one that doesn’t work. After a while the impact of the suggestion will fade, and you may find yourself back to drinking ten or twelve cups a day.
A hypnotist may focus on behavior you want to change, but it will not necessarily address the underlying cause of that behavior. This is where the work of a hypnotherapist is vital. A hypnotherapist doesn’t rely on suggestion alone,. Instead, a therapist uses the relaxed state of hypnosis to explore a patient’s psyche.
Hypnotherapy: Hunting the Root Cause of the Problem
While hypnosis may address a particular issue, hypnotherapy may treat that issue as a symptom of something deeper. Perhaps your excessive caffeine consumption grew out of a lack of sleep due to fretting about your job. A hypnotherapist will attempt to hunt down root causes like this and treat them directly. While a hypnotist may plant a suggestion that you limit yourself to one cup of coffee a day, the therapist may suggest that you look for something good in your job each day and worry less. This can help improve your sleep, which will make you less dependent on caffeine to get through the day.
What Can Hypnotherapy Do For You?
Hypnosis cannot change an individual’s personality. Also, it cannot address congenital or genetic issues. However, coupled with therapy, it has a wide range of uses. Research has shown it to be effective in weight loss, boosting will-power and motivation. Its focus on awareness can help bring your attention to what you are eating throughout the day. A hypnotherapist might suggest to you that you eat more slowly and savor what you consume. Even just a few sessions with a qualified therapist may have a profound impact.