Hypnosis is a very powerful tool for promoting healing, growth and transformation. It works by activating a creative state of mind and body where new learning can occur effectively, almost effortlessly. It can help you with the knowledge and energy you need to succeed in life, helping to build new beliefs and to focus attention. If we can heal our beliefs, our beliefs can heal us.
In this practice, hypnosis is used in the following fields:
Anxiety and stress
Hypnosis seems to be extremely successful with a Cognitive Behavioral Approach in treating all forms of anxiety and especially panic attacks. Hypnosis is also proven to be successful in overcoming almost any phobia or excessive fear such as stage fright.
Depression is called “anger without enthusiasm”, and once this anger is dealt with together with cognitive restructuring, the depression seems to ease to a great deal.
Various other emotional disorders
Other emotional disorders in the working field of a psychologist are also addressed in this practice, especially self-esteem and problems with self-confidence. Hypnosis is proven to be extremely effective in dealing with trauma, especially Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Grief.
Eating disorders and weight management
Hypnosis is very useful in helping people to manage weight. It is sometimes necessary to address underlying issues to help to loose weight easily and effortlessly.
Smoking, addictions and habits.
Since quitting smoking is more difficult, and hypnosis on its own or medication on its own is not enough, a special program is written together with a CD to assist the smoker with remarkable success. Hypnosis is also successful in working with habits like nail biting, nose picking, etc.
Preparation for surgery and aftercare
Although the person is under anesthesia during an operation, the subconscious mind is still awake and active and experiences the operation as traumatic. Hypnosis can help in preparing the subconscious mind for the operation to eliminate the “fight or flight” response. It also helps to recover, to control bleeding, to reduce pain after the operation, and even to reduce scars, since scars can be a subconscious reminder of a trauma. It is also successful to assist the dentist during the dental procedures. In this context, hypnosis can also be very helpful in childbirth training and preparation for labour.
Academic performance, athletic performance and sports performance
Visualisation is used here to enhance performance. Hypno-training is used here, where the client is taught self-hypnosis to help with concentration, anxiety, comprehension and retention. If there is any negative memory or perception preventing the client to perform, this will be addressed first.
Sometimes it is necessary to know where the problem is coming from. You can even remember things that happened before you were born. People can even remember what happened when they were unconscious
PNI is an exciting new field in the hypnosis world. In short, it means that any medical disorder can have a psychological root. By treating the disorder with hypnosis, the general practitioner can be assisted in healing the problem or disorder. Success is recorded with especially dermatological disorders, auto-immune disorders, cancer, pain disorders and many more.
Since hypnosis is a state of deep relaxation, it can be very helpful to help with sleep disorders, provided that any trauma that is causing the sleep disorder is being dealt with.
Sexual dysfunction and relationship disorders
Hypnosis can be helpful in sexual problems like frigidity, sexual trauma, impotence and premature ejaculation. It can also be helpful with relationship problems like trust and faithfulness.
Hypnosis can also help to put the client more in touch with God or the “Higher Power”, and the Inner Wisdom to help the client through life. Sometimes many psychological problems have a spiritual root, and it is necessary to address spiritual issues here. Guilt feelings and the feeling of having done something wrong are seen by many psychologists as the core of all psychological problems.
Hypnosis also shows success in disorders like Axis II disorders, alcohol and other addictions and past life regressions. However, in this practice, not a lot of success is achieved in these fields.
The preceding uses of hypnosis, is just the tip of the ice-berg. Hypnosis is literally the key that can unlock any door you wish. The only limit of hypnosis is the limits you choose to set yourself. Otherwise, the sky is the limit!
There exist, however many misconceptions about hypnosis. In order to understand what hypnosis really is, we have to understand what it is not.
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What hypnosis is not
Have you ever been hypnotised? Most people answer no. They think they have never been hypnotised. They think hypnosis is a sleep-like state where you are not aware of anything and totally under the influence of the hypnotist. Before we can explain what hypnosis really is, we need to understand what it is not:
Hypnosis is dangerous
The hypnotic state is no more dangerous than the sleep state, and on the whole there are no dangers when practiced by ethical and qualified practitioners. The worst that can happen, is that nothing can happen!
If hypnosis were dangerous, we would have to tell ourselves not to slip into another state of consciousness, not to daydream, not to concentrate deeply, not to become totally absorbed in things of compelling interest.
Think about it: to go to a hairdresser is one of the most dangerous experiences there can ever be. She is working with a dangerous weapon, a pair of scissors, and that close to your neck. One stab and you are dead! So, never go to a hairdresser again!
Hypnosis is a powerful tool, but is still practiced ethically.
Persons in hypnosis are asleep
The word hypnosis is derived from the Greek word “Hypnos”. And Hypnos is the god of sleep. And nothing is further away from the truth. Hypnosis is everything but sleep.
The person in hypnosis is AWARE of himself/herself and his/her environment. The person does not loose consciousness for a single moment, although in a deep trance, noises and disturbances in his/her environment will seem to be so remote from him/her that they will not bother him/her, as long as they are not threatening to him/her. When something threatening happens, the person will simply wake up, in order to take the necessary steps in order to secure himself or herself.
Hypnosis is like sleep
Studies have shown that hypnosis and sleep differ. Studies of brain activity have shown that although there are characteristic patterns of brain activity associated with sleep the same has not been demonstrated of hypnosis. To observers hypnosis might appear to be like sleep because suggestions of relaxation are commonly given as part of a hypnotic routine, but hypnotised people are in a state more similar to wakefulness (and hypnosis has even been induced in people riding exercise bicycles – so called ‘active alert’ hypnosis).
Hypnosis is similar to anaesthesia
The hypnotised subject is aware of sounds, touch, smells, taste and visual input. He or she is even able to speak while in hypnosis. He or she will always be able to awake from a trance. He or she cannot remain in a permanent trance. All he or she needs to decide on is to wake up, and once this decision is taken, the hypnotised person will wake up.
Hypnosis is the work of the devil
As everyone on earth has experienced trance in the form of daydreaming, it is a natural God-given talent, which can be used positively in the person’s interest. Like anything else, untrained charlatans can also misuse hypnosis.
People tell me that the devil gets a chance when you are hypnotised. It is just impossible. The Scriptures teach me that God protects you at all times. How can the devil be stronger than God in something like hypnosis?
“Weak people” are most susceptible to hypnosis
On the contrary, strong-willed, intelligent and creative people are better subjects than “weak willed” people. There is a faulty belief that only weak persons are hypnotisable and that a hypnotherapist has therefore unlimited control over the person, while in fact the hypnotised person is always in control. He (or she) decides to allow it, or not. He or she even decides how deep in trance he or she will go. So the person is never under the control of the hypnotherapist. The person is in control of the session and of him or herself more than usual.
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People who are in a hypnotic trance will reveal secrets or say things they will regret.
The person in trance always remains in full control. When you see “show hypnosis” on television and audience members are jumping about the stage clucking like chickens – remember that they volunteered to do that in full knowledge that they would be expected to do something “crazy”. Sometimes hypnotherapy is used for purposes of revealing repressed memories or information. Persons undergoing hypnosis for those reasons choose to reach deeper trance states than normally used in hypnosis. They are actively seeking to reveal the repressed information. A hypnotherapist cannot make someone reveal any information against his or her will.
On the contrary, the hypnotised will always be in control. Hypnosis is for the client to discover the truth, not for the hypnotist. The client has the choice to tell the therapist or not. Some clients will tell the hypnotist what is happening during the session. Some will do it afterwards. Some will never. You don’t even have to tell your hypnotherapist what happened. A hypnotherapist will be able to help you, not even knowing what happened. Remember: hypnosis is for you to find out the truth, not for the therapist. Maybe you start to realise that hypnosis is actually a state of mind power. A client once phoned me to say “I think my husband is cheating on me, will you find out the truth?” My answer to her was: “If he is lying this well, just imagine how well he will be able to lie when in hypnosis! Because hypnosis is a state of mind power, and he can use his mind power to lie even better!”
No hypnotist can compel you to do anything in violation of your moral or ethical code.
You can be hypnotised against your will.
All hypnosis is actually self-hypnosis. You have to want to be hypnotised before a trance state can be achieved. There are methods for inducing a trance (deep relaxation) in resistant subjects; however, even those methods are not effective unless you intend to be hypnotised.
This is very important. The hypnotist cannot hypnotise you. This is your own ability to hypnotise yourself with the help of the hypnotherapist. To get hypnotised is the ability of the client, not the ability of the hypnotherapist. So, you can’t be made to do anything you don’t want to do in hypnosis. In hypnosis you retain power over your ability to act upon suggestions, although if you do allow yourself to act upon a suggestion you may feel as though the effects are happening by themselves.
You can get ‘stuck’ in hypnosis
There is no evidence that anybody can become stuck in hypnosis. The worst that might happen could be that you fall asleep – and wake up unhypnotised! Studies have been conducted where participants have been hypnotised, and the experimenter leaves the room under the pretence that there is a problem he has to attend to, the participant is then observed (without his knowledge) to see what happens. The result in all cases was that participants spontaneously woke up, the highly hypnotisables taking slightly longer to do so.
You will not remember anything afterwards
You will remember everything afterwards because you are awake and alert. Some people don’t remember certain things, simply because their minds strayed during the trance. And that is OK, because we are addressing your subconscious mind, not the conscious. You are free to let your thoughts wander as we go. Some people even fall asleep, and that is OK, too.
It is very seldom that clients don’t remember anything afterwards. The only reason for that is when the material we have dealt with is too traumatic and the subconscious may choose for you not to remember it. If this is the case, clients never ask me afterwards what happened. Because they don’t want to know. It has got nothing to do with a deep trance or not. Deep trances are not required. Anything can be done in a mild trance.
What is going to “come out”?
It is important to address this issue. Many people are scared to what may surface while hypnotised. First of all: the days of going back to the trauma and reliving it are over. Nowadays we have techniques of dealing with trauma without having to re-traumatise the client are over. We nowadays use techniques to deal with trauma without any trauma or reliving the experience. However, you have already experienced the trauma in real life. This time, it is only a memory, and you are older, wiser and more experienced, and you are not alone. It can never be bad as it was in real life.
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What hypnosis really is
Have you ever driven a long distance and, after your arrival, had the thought: “How did I get there?” Have you ever watched a movie without even hearing somebody talk behind you? Are you aware of background sounds right now, if you do not concentrate on it? That is hypnosis!
Broadly speaking, hypnosis is a state of altered consciousness that occurs normally in every person just before he or she enters into a sleep state. That is why hypnosis is usually accompanied by relaxation, simulating the relaxed position of the body during sleep. In therapeutic work, we prolong this brief interlude, so that we can work within its bounds. In short: after our first hypnosis session, you are not going to believe that you were hypnotised at all.
Clients always tell me: “but I don’t think that I was hypnotised. I was aware of everything all the time, I could hear your voice all the time, and I heard the noises in and outside the building all the time. I was not “under”. That is hypnosis. Only dictators and sub-marines go ‘under’. You will not be “away”. We are not doing astral travelling either. You will hear everything, because hypnosis doesn’t affect your hearing abilities! It is true however, that the more hypnosis sessions we have, the deeper you will go into trance every session. Hypnosis is nothing else but just a deep state of relaxation causing a state of mind power. Nothing more, nothing less. If you understand this, you understand hypnosis! You will not believe that you were hypnotised at all!
One of the best examples of hypnosis is the following: Have you ever been in a church, and the reverend or pastor or minister was praying? And the prayer is “boring”. You are sitting there with your eyes shut and thinking of anything and everything except the prayer. But you hear the word “Amen” loud and clear. You were in a hypnotic trance! You were not falling asleep (I hope), yet you missed every word. But you did not miss the “Amen”. It is called a conditioned response. “Amen” in the subconscious means he is finished; you can open your eyes. Yet your subconscious registered everything, and was in close communication with God.
Hypnosis, also referred to as hypnotherapy or hypnotic suggestion, is a trance-like state of mind. It is usually achieved with the help of a hypnotherapist and is different from your everyday awareness.
Your attention is more focused
You’re deeply relaxed and calm
You’re more open to suggestions, and less critical or disbelieving
The purpose of hypnosis is to help you gain more control over your behaviour, emotions or physical well-being.
I prefer to refer to hypnosis as a relationship of trust. If there is trust, virtually anything is possible. If there is no trust, hypnosis will not be successful.
It’s not clear how hypnosis works. Hypnotherapists say that hypnosis creates a state of deep relaxation and quiets the mind. When you’re hypnotised, you can concentrate intensely on a specific thought, memory, feeling or sensation while blocking out distractions. You’re more open than usual to suggestions and this can be used to change your behaviour and thereby improve your health and well-being.
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What exactly is happening on stage?
First of all, the stage hypnotist will never call out participants. He will say, “Any volunteers, come to stage”. There is your first tip. Everybody knows he is going to make fun of you. And the fact that you are willing to do that, says because you want to, he will be able to do it. If you don’t volunteer, you will make fun of him!
Secondly – and this is what you don’t see on TV: he will converse with them. This is to establish whether there is trust or not. If he discovers that you don’t like or trust him, or vice versa, you will be sent back to the audience. Or if he realises that you are not intelligent enough or lack creativity or overly critical, you will be sent back.
And then the moment of truth – he snaps his fingers and says: Sleep. And they go to sleep! Well, you know by now it is not sleep. But how is it possible for him to just snap his fingers, and they are hypnotised? This means, he has hypnotised them before. You will also experience it. In our first session, you will not go easily into a hypnotic trance.
You will resist whether you want or not. Everything new is approached with apprehension. Remember when you learnt to drive, in comparison with your relaxed driving today? The more we do hypnosis, the easier and quicker you will go into trance. Longer term hypnosis clients don’t even need to be hypnotised!
This means the stage hypnotist is familiar with his subjects and knows thus who will be willing to play the game.
As mentioned earlier: hypnosis is a state of mind power. For instance – you are on stage, and the hypnotist suggests to you to dance like a ballerina. You will first check with your internal moral system whether it is OK for you to do that or not. If it is OK, you can use your mind power to remember for instance a TV show where you have seen a ballerina dancing. You will be able to recall the moves, and you will be able to perform it. You can even use mind power to dance on the tips of your toes as to imagine a steel bar from the tips of your toes to your legs. But if the hypnotist suggests something that is against your principles, you will come out of hypnosis, because you are in control all the time.
he is finished, he will “wake you up”. As mentioned earlier, you will
always come out of hypnosis. And you will remember afterwards what
happened. Some people appear to be confused afterwards. Well, you will
also be confused when you realise how real some things felt.
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Keep the following statements in mind to make hypnosis work the best for you:
- Anyone who can speak and read with reasonable freedom can induce hypnosis on him/herself. If you think about it, all hypnosis is self-hypnosis.
- The hypnotist can hypnotise anybody who wants to be hypnotised, and nobody who doesn’t want to. The ability to go into a hypnotic trance is the ability of the client, not the therapist.
- Almost any person can respond to hypnotic suggestion to a greater or lesser degree, quickly or in a long period of training.
- Words have power in what they produce ideas in the mind of the listeners. The acceptance of certain ideas constitutes hypnosis.
- Suggestion of the hypnotic type plays a very great part in our everyday lives.
- You don’t have to do anything to get into trance or to do what the hypnotist is telling you. It all happens spontaneously. You don’t even need to listen to the hypnotist.
- If you try anything, your trance will ”fail”, if you just allow, everything will happen easily and effortlessly.
- Hypnosis is defined as a relationship of trust. If you trust your therapist, most of the work is already done, if not, please take this up with your therapist for your own benefit.
- We use your mind power. We believe that you have all the recourses necessary to make any desired change you want.
- The ability to go into a hypnotic trance, is your ability, not the ability of the therapist or hypnotist.
Hypnosis is a subconscious process. Most people never believe that they
were hypnotised. And most people don’t even recognise their change and
improvement. They think hypnosis has not done it for them. It is not
strange that other people notice the change first. Sometimes, the
client does not recognise the change, until the therapist starts to ask
As I always say: “Welcome to the weird, wacky, and wonderful world of hypnosis”.
Or sometimes, plain simple: “Thank-you, Subconscious Mind!”
The sky is perhaps not the limit.