The American Psychological Association has defined the practise of hypnotherapy as a “procedure during which a health professional …suggests that a client… experience changes in sensations, perceptions, thoughts or behaviour”.
There are a number of vital aspects regarding the practise of hypnotherapy highlighted in this definition. Hypnotherapy involves focusing attention on suggestion. In other words, focusing on a thought, sensation, feeling, behaviour or image, ignoring or disregarding possible distractions. Hypnosis utilises naturally occurring physiological and psychological processes. Through guidance, you are directed in using the imagination to evoke productive thoughts and emotions. You collaborate with your therapist regarding the suggestions to introduce.
Clinical Hypnosis is natural and safe
As mentioned above, the induction into hypnosis simply involves utilising naturally occurring physiological and psychological processes. It is important to note that, the client is in full control at all times during hypnosis. In essence, one chooses to be in hypnosis, one also chooses how deeply one may experience hypnosis. It is completely safe when used in a professional context
Clinical Hypnosis has many important functions
Hypnosis provides access to non-conscious psychological processes. The term non-conscious is used to refer to processes, which are not mediated by conscious awareness. We are referring to processes that one carries out automatically; carrying out a habit or daily routine etc. The activity and thought processes behind it, are well rehearsed and practised. The thoughts and behaviours are conducted automatically and therefore frequently do not come to conscious attention.
Notably, there are thinking patterns and behaviours performed every day, which are self-defeating and as they have become an automatic part of the way information is processed, they are no longer brought to conscious awareness. This is where hypnosis plays a key role. Through hypnosis, the therapist can offer suggestions to challenge such automatic processes and help the client acknowledge the self-defeating nature of these thoughts and behaviour. These techniques have been found to be highly beneficial in improving individual’s well-being.
Meta-analyses are a stringent form of scientific, statistical analyses which combines the results of many scientific studies. ‘Meta-analyses have established that different psychotherapies have different outcomes. Cognitive-behavioural therapies are significantly more effective than psychodynamic therapies, and their superiority increases when long-term follow-up is assessed. Hypnosis enhances the efficacy of both psychodynamic and cognitive-behavioural psychotherapy’. (Kirsch, 1996)
Clinical Hypnosis provides the client with a sense of self-control
The client learns valuable skills while being taught hypnosis, integral to preventing the recurrence of symptoms. Concluding from psychological investigation, those who respond well to hypnosis are those who have an active, strong mind and are capable of imagination. In principle, anyone can be hypnotised. Anyone can be hypnotised because we all have the ability to use our imagination. It is noteworthy to mention, that anyone can learn how to enhance his or her ability with instruction, guidance and a little practice. Hypnosis has the potential to have a powerful impact in your life, alleviating symptoms resulting in positive, lasting changes in the way you construct your personal and interpersonal reality.
‘People who believe they have the power to exercise some measure of control over their lives are healthier, more effective and more successful than those who lack faith in their ability to effect changes in their lives’ (Albert Bandura).