People have been trying to figure out what hypnosis is for hundreds of years. Why? Because it worked so extraordinarily well. The problem is that some of the explanations for it were way off base. For example, some people thought it was mind control, demon possession, that people were “out” or unconscious, that it was sleep. None of that is true. All of those explanations have proved to be wrong.
So what is it?
Hypnosis is very simple: it is concentrating intensely on something and ignoring what’s going on around you. Here are some examples: day dreaming, meditating, concentrating when you’re playing a video game or watching TV. If you’ve ever driven down the road while you were preoccupied and then looked up and said, “How did I get here?” you’ve been in hypnosis.
Children are naturally in hypnosis a lot. When they’re playing they’re ignoring adults talking in the background. Then when mom says, come for lunch and they ignore her, they’re not being disobedient, they actually don’t hear her. If mom makes eye contact and breaks their concentration, they’ll get the message. The fact that children are in hypnosis a lot is also one reason why childhood trauma has such a big impact.
Now that we have modern imaging technology, we can see what’s going on in the brain when people are in hypnosis. We’ve discovered that hypnosis is a state of mind. Most people can be hypnotized at least well enough for therapeutic hypnosis to work. Some people are very good at hypnosis. The people who are good at it share one characteristic: a history of trauma. That’s actually very good news because it means when trauma stomps through someone’s life, it leaves a trail for healing.
What is therapeutic hypnosis?
Therapeutic hypnosis is using this natural brain state for the benefit of the person seeking help. People wonder if they’ll bark like a dog if they come to the office for hypnosis. When stage hypnotists do that, their goal is to entertain an audience. They are asking people to do things that benefit their performance. At Northwoods Hypnosis and Counseling hypnosis is governed by a set of ethics. Our goal is to help you meet yourgoals to have a better life. Besides, if you don’t want to do something while you’re in hypnosis you can refuse to do it. You are always in control of what you do and say. Hypnosis power is in the person who is hypnotized, notin the person doing the hypnotizing. It is yourability and one we can use to help you meet your goals more effectively.
We have a lot neuroscience research to back up the idea that using hypnosis can make therapy more effective. In fact, research is showing us that positive results of using hypnosis in therapy makes therapy faster and the last longer that other forms of therapy that don’t use hypnosis.
The key is making sure you have a therapist who knows how to use hypnosis effectively for your benefit. Hypnotists can advertise all the benefits of hypnosis but may not know how to make sure you actually receive those benefits. Watch for future blog posts about what to look for in a therapist or call us to get answers to your questions.
Jeanne Clark, MSW, DSW shares insights, clarifies mis-conceptions and provides emerging information on the effective use of Hypnosis in Counseling. Check this space often to continue to grow through continuous healing.