Hypnotherapy has a long and controversial history. Did you know? The word hypnosis comes from Greek and comes from hypnosis, the goddess of sleep in Greek mythology. Understanding the origin of the word hypnosis sheds light on many myths and misconceptions created towards hypnosis therapy. And today? Hypnotherapy is recognized as a conventional treatment offered for a variety of problems and is enshrined in law.
What is hypnosis?
Apparently for many of us the word hypnosis evokes associations of a person, perhaps a sorcerer, perhaps a mythological figure, rocking a pendulum clock, or staring long and penetrating at the person in front of him. And the person in front of him slowly enters a strange trance or closes his eyes and sinks into a deep sleep and the same figure continues to dance around the old person, a slow and continuous dance, and the person may not even wake up at all.
Well, this is not hypnosis. It is an imaginary play inspired by a whole world of myths and misconceptions wrapped around hypnosis.
Hypnosis, in simple words, is a kind of means of communication with the inner world of man, a whole inner world of memories, thoughts and feelings that are not accessible on a daily basis because they are stored in the subconscious. A hypnotic process allows access to give awareness and therapeutic work on the content existing there in order to improve mental and physical well-being.
Hypnosis is a method of treatment that allows a person to enter the depths of the subconscious in a controlled and safe manner and move from a normal and routine state of mind to a different state of consciousness, where the person turns all his attention and ability to concentrate inward, into his consciousness. Hypnotherapy consists of two main stages, induction and suggestion.
Induction or hypnosis induction is the stage of entering a hypnotic state. At this point the therapist will lead the patient through intentional and verbal guidance to a deep state of consciousness where the patient can let go of his psychological defenses, ignore external stimuli and sink into the new state of consciousness. The suggestion phase is the phase in which the emerging content can be addressed and processed. At this point the therapist will offer the patient suggestions for new or different thoughts, feelings and emotions but better than the existing ones.
It is important to understand that although hypnosis is defined as a change of state of consciousness, it is not a matter of disconnection, sleep or any state of inactivity. The person is fully aware of the hypnotic process and of course enters this process with full consent and cooperation.
The ability to stay and work in a hypnotic state may vary from person to person and depends on a number of factors, the ability of hypnotability (innate ability to enter a hypnotic state), the relationship between therapist and patient, motivation and experience.
History of Hypnosis
Hypnosis has a long history dating back to the days of the Roman Empire and Greece. There is evidence of the use of various rituals and rituals which in a contemporary view can be identified as having similar characteristics to hypnosis. Throughout the centuries a variety of techniques have been used whose purpose was to arouse attention internally or externally and to succeed in reaching a state of consciousness similar to trance and thus allowing a person to mentally enter into healing processes, sometimes accompanied by other means such as herbs.
Throughout history one can find different characters from different fields of knowledge and occupation who have engaged in hypnosis and researched different aspects of it. The figure perhaps familiar to many of us, is Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), the father of psychoanalysis who practiced hypnosis and stopped, among other things, after realizing that not all of his patients respond to hypnosis. But not only that, also a critique directed at him and drawing him as a therapist who deals only with hypnosis. What he describes as the failure of hypnosis can also be explained as his use of simple and authoritative techniques. And the criticism? A critique that illustrates a widespread perception of hypnosis, a treatment method perhaps a little mystical, unscientific and controversial. Still, the 19th century marked the resurgence of hypnosis by taking it out of the world of myth and belief and bringing it into the world of research, science and medicine.
Today, under the Hypnosis Act, hypnosis is only allowed to be treated by those who are licensed to treat and have a license and are certified by a specialist psychologist, doctor and dentist.
Hypnosis is a complementary therapy tool used to treat a wide variety of problems, chronic pain, anxiety disorders, sleep disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, gynecological disorders, fertility problems, dental treatments and more. Hypnosis treatment, relative to other treatment methods, is a short-term and focused treatment and many studies attest to its success.
Yes, there is such a thing as self-hypnosis. Although we previously emphasized that practicing hypnosis is enshrined in law and requires appropriate certification and licensing, self-hypnosis is commonplace and many times a hypnotherapist will even guide the patient on how to perform hypnosis alone with the understanding that hypnosis can be an effective therapeutic tool in various situations. However, it is important to emphasize that self-hypnosis is more similar to treatment methods such as guided imagery, meditation, tools that aim to reduce anxiety and pain and expand a person’s ability to choose, from automatic, instinctive to conscious and benevolent choice.
In self-hypnosis we will use different techniques to calm down and direct the focus and attention inward. This can be done by closing eyes, deep and long breaths, sailing in the imagination to pleasant places or events, quiet music, sometimes we can even use our verbal instructions for ourselves to calm and regulate, such as now I watch the breathing movement, everyone else can wait or any other statement That has the power to calm down.
Give yourself the time you need to be able to calm yourself, be in the moment and at the same time allow external stimuli to pass by you. When the body and mind are relaxed, one can look at different situations that in a normal moment so evoke pain or anxiety and explore the possibility of other responses besides the automatic responses. At this point you can even in the form of your discourse in front of yourself offer more ways of reacting and coping or the thought that you are capable and able.
Many studies show the effectiveness of self-hypnosis in dealing with pain and anxiety. Perhaps our consciousness is more flexible, capable and containing more than we perceive it. And maybe sometimes we need a tool that helps filter out all the background noise, look inward at ourselves and expand our range of choice.