Hypnosis - What Exactly is it?


Hypnosis is probably not what you think it is. Hypnosis is a technique that allows you to utilise your own inner strengths and hidden abilities. It can bring out those talents and skills you perhaps don't even believe you possess. Hypnosis could be the key that unlocks the door to an experience of life that is, at the very least, a little easier; and at the very best free from phobias or anxieties that have been with you so long you believe that that is how you were made.

Hypnosis is not about someone taking control of your mind; it's about someone giving you permission to take control back. For when you are trapped by an unwanted habit, such as smoking, or you have a fear of social encounters, or food is your enemy, then the problem controls you and dictates to you how you are and what you do. The habit may mean you can't be anywhere without a cigarette or visit places you would like to because of No Smoking rules. The fear may mean you avoid parties, or that a family wedding or celebration is an occasion of intense anxiety rather than something joyful. Your enemy makes you put on weight and become unacceptable to yourself and others. Hypnosis releases you to be yourself.

The word trance itself sounds like something mystical or magical, yet it is nothing of the sort. It is simply an everyday natural phenomena being used in a therapeutic way. If you've ever lain in bed on a Sunday morning, all snuggled up in the blankets nice and warm and cosy, drifting in and out of dreams, with an almost total lack of awareness of the time - then you've been in a trance. If you've ever been driving along a familiar route and suddenly realise you don't remember part of the journey, or you've driven the way you usually go instead of the way you wanted to go - then you've been in a trance. When you become totally engrossed in a book or a film and lose track of time - this too is a form of trance. So you can see the hypnotic trance is nothing to be feared, it is simply a pleasant relaxed state of mind and body where the mind is freed to wander and explore the world of the imagination.

Freed from the limitations and restrictions of logical thinking (this is the thinking that generates irrational fears and maintains unwanted habits) your mind is enabled to use symbolic thought processes to solve problems. This way you don't need to see how to solve the problem from a rational point of view and so the barriers to problem solving are removed.

For instance, the problem with the smoking habit is that people define themselves as either Smokers or Ex-Smokers. But the truth is that when each of us is born we are a Non-Smoker. That is what we are. The Hypnotic treatment that I use to assist people in giving up the habit re-defines them, at an unconscious level, as a Non-Smoker and because, after treatment, they see themselves as a Non-Smoker there are unlikely to be any cravings, or any of the other adverse side-effects that other methods of stopping smoking can have. But it only works if there is a determination to stop. Hypnosis can never make someone do what they do not, deep down, want to do. But if you are determined hypnosis can help remove the 'pain' from the process.

Hypnosis can be used to help a wide variety of problems: pain control (with the approval of GP or consultant); achieving and maintaining a target weight by shifting the focus to healthy, enjoyable eating rather than diets; creating a better self-image and boosting self-confidence; as well as a variety of other disorders.

Michael J. Hadfield MBSCH is a registered clinical hypnotherapist.


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