Are you a sceptic?
Hypnosis and the sceptic
"Hypnosis won't work on me - I'm too analytical and strong willed!" If hypnotherapists had a pound for every person they came across who said that or something along those lines, then they'd be very rich and living on a yacht on the French Riviera!
As long as the individual wants their particular issue to be resolved and are willing to follow the therapist’s instructions then yes, it will work. Too many people think they will feel or act in a certain way having watched one too many TV shows where stage hypnotists appear to have their subjects completely under their influence, following their every command regardless of how ridiculous the command is. The sceptic has the belief that if he hasn't somehow fallen asleep then it can't be working, can it? How can he be totally aware of what is being said to him and be hypnotised at the same time? However, if he thinks logically about the stage hypnosis then obviously, the subject on stage must too be awake or they would not be able to follow the hypnotist’s commands.
Hypnosis on stage is not done for therapeutic reasons, but solely for entertainment value. Firstly, the subject has volunteered to step up on stage, thus complying with the intention of providing fun for himself and the audience. It would be very unusual for a sole individual to volunteer to go up on stage without a group of friends egging him on to provide them with some entertainment. Secondly, the hypnotist will have honed his skill over the years and is able to choose the best subjects from those volunteers. He will initially have asked his audience to partake in some simple hypnotic suggestion such as asking they clasp their hands together, all the while suggesting they are becoming stuck fast. Of those who are willing to give it a go, he will observe their body language and choose the most extrovert people.
Thirdly he will begin by making some simple suggestions to test the water observing their reactions and compliance. Those who are the most susceptible to his increasingly outrageous requests will become his focus and the stars of the show. And although it may appear he has complete control over them, whilst they may follow his order to cluck like a chicken or dance a silly dance, it would be very surprising if they willingly gave their bank PIN number out on request!
Hypnotherapy (hypnosis done for therapeutic benefit) is completely different and the patient can be reassured that they will not be made to do anything against their wishes. While under hypnosis there is a heightened focus of awareness. This is attained by the hypnotherapist making positive suggestions to his patient’s unconscious mind after guiding him into a state of relaxation. Of course if the patient has somehow been sent to the therapist against their will, such as being nagged by a third party to give up smoking when they really do not want to, then there is the possibility the therapy will not be successful as the person is reluctant to comply.
There are various ways the therapist can guide his patient into a hypnotic state, (also known as trance) and each therapist has his or her own personal favourite techniques they use. These range from simply asking the patient to stare at one spot on the wall opposite whilst using relaxation related suggestions or by using one of many rapid induction methods. This could be a sudden movement, such as a surprise handshake aimed at causing confusion which the therapist quickly takes advantage of to deepen the trance. The therapist may quite simply ask the patient to make herself comfortable and close her eyes. He then guides her into a state of deep relaxation, addressing the unconscious mind, helping it to resolve any issues troubling her.
Many people are also under the impression that hypnosis can only help with a few issues such as weight-loss, smoking cessation and phobias. Whilst these subjects are commonly resolved using hypnosis, there are many other challenges hypnotherapy can help with. This may include increasing confidence, bruxism (teeth grinding), reducing anxiety, enhanced sports performance, fibromyalgia pain relief and diminishing suicidal thoughts. Hypnosis is very versatile and an experienced hypnotherapist can help with many challenges using a variety of relaxation and trance inductions tailored to meet the needs of his patient.
“If you truly want to change your life, you must first be willing to change your mind”.
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