by Aléna Guest, Clinical Hypnotherapist
Any mention of hypnosis often conjures up images of Svengali-like stage hypnotists making innocent, entranced volunteers cluck like chickens—which is precisely the image, clinical hypnotherapists want to change.
According to Tim Simmerman-Sierra, Director of the International Board of Hypnotherapy, “ the media often use creative license in presenting hypnosis, leaving the public with a distorted view of what it is and what happens in a hypnotic state, thus giving rise to common myths and misconceptions. “
Hypnosis is formally defined as—A natural, yet altered state of mind, in which the critical faculty is relaxed and selective thinking is established.
A natural, altered state of mind is like “highway hypnosis,” when you’re driving along, daydreaming and when you miss your exit, wonder—who has been driving?
The critical faculty is that part of you that’s always second-guessing, warning and criticizing you.
Selective thinking is an increased mental involvement with ideas being presented.
On his first day of school, Jack started to sweat, when the teacher insisted he come up in front of the class, to spell “cat”on the chalkboard. Though he could read at a second grade level, in front of the kids and his instructor, he felt as if he was facing a firing squad.
The “flight and fight” syndrome kicked in. His mind was blank. He couldn’t even think straight and he wrote, “kat.”
The teacher said, “Is there a smarter child, who can show this young man how to spell the word correctly?”
The humiliation in front of his peers and the implied label of ‘stupid’
from the authority figure installed a false, negative belief, I’m stupid.
Jack spent his life trying to prove to himself that he was smart enough.
But every time he received a compliment on a remark, his inner critic
said, “Well, you managed to fool somebody, but we know the truth, don’t we? You’re really stupid.” And that’s what he continued to believe--until he worked with a hypnotherapist.
In that session, he was able to successfully recall his triumphs, without their being pre-empted by the critical voice within. He was able to gather memories of good grades and awards, which replaced the old
belief. At the session’s end, he said, ” I’m smart enough. In fact, I always have been.”
Contrary to cultural misapprehension, hypnotherapy can be a most effective tool for healing deep wounds, opening the doors to awareness and putting to rest problems that have caused life-long suffering.
In Creating Natural Health for your Body and Mind, Dr, Andrew Weil, says-- “I’ve recommended hypnotherapy to help ease chronic pain, lessen the side effects of chemotherapy, alleviate symptoms of autoimmune disease, counteract anxiety and sleep disorders. It can also be used to improve performance skills, as a form of analgesia, or sedation for medical and dental procedures—even to stop hemorrhaging in accident victims. In general, I believe that no condition is out of bounds for hypnosis.”