Hypnotherapy is a form of psychotherapy in which hypnosis is used to help create subconscious change in someone with new thoughts, attitudes and feelings. This works because a hypnotized subject is very susceptible to suggestibility and therefore more likely to change their current behaviors to the desired behavior. There are differences between hypnosis and hypnotherapy, however. The largest of which is the length of time in which the suggested new behavior “takes” in the patient. This is because hypnosis is sort of like putting a band aid on a wound that really needed stitches. It may stop the bleeding, but once its removed, the wound will simply reopen and bleed again.
What is Hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy goes deeper than just making suggestions of new behaviors. It helps the mind look at the root cause of a troublesome behavior so that it can be discussed and it’s power over the patient can be removed. A good hypnotherapist can take a patient all the way back to a moment rooted in their childhood when a problem happened and the response developed into an unhealthy behavior or coping mechanism. For example, if someone had a problem with emotional eating, a hypnotist would work to suggest alternatives to eating over a series of appointments. However, the hypnotist would not have the ability to take the patient back to the reason they began emotionally eating. A hypnotherapist, however, would be able to take the patient back to the moment they broke their arm and to keep them from crying their parents gave them ice cream as they drove to the doctor. By identifying the root cause of the problem behavior, emotional eating, the hypnotherapist can help the patient change their response to that first instance which provides lasting progress in defeating the patients’ demons.
Hypnotherapy is predominantly used as a form of mental health treatment to treat everything from addition to allergies to depression and weight management. Many people seek out hypnotherapists to get help with a wide variety of mental health problems. There are general medical applications of hypnotherapy too, including childbirth, skin problems, and gastrointestinal disorders.
How does it work?
It is important to understand that hypnosis and hypnotherapy do not work the way movies and tv shows show them to be working. A hypnotherapist and hypnotist will not take over your mind and force you to do whatever you are told to do. There are no magic words that, when they snap your finger, will cause your subconscious mind to take over your body and perform actions that you wouldn’t normally do. Hypnosis and hypnotherapy simply plant strong suggestions in your subconscious mind that, when faced with a problem behavior, will trigger a strong conscious response. For example, if you have been seeing a hypnotherapist or hypnotist for over-eating, when you come to a situation where normally you would begin to overeat, you may find your mind suddenly saying “We should stop now.” Your body will not automatically stop. You still have the choice to continue over eating if you wish to do so, but because you have created a subconscious trigger that the therapist or hypnotist has worked into your mind, you may find you don’t really want to over eat. The choice is still entirely yours, you just now have an extra alarm saying that perhaps you shouldn’t.