Today is World Hypnotism Day. The day was founded to clear up some of the misconceptions and myths that surround therapeutic hypnosis and promote the benefits of hypnotherapy to the world. If you’re a regular reader of these articles written by the National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH) you’ll know that hypnosis is an effective way to manage conditions such as stress, anxiety, migraines, and low self-esteem. We’ve also written recently about the emerging medical applications.
While many people are aware of the fantastic benefits of hypnotherapy, including that it is a ‘quick therapy’, it has no side effects and that you don’t need to spend a lot of time dwelling on the past, it’s still a type of therapy that many people are a bit cautious of. Perhaps this is because when people think of hypnosis they have visions of stage hypnotists entertaining crowds by having people come up on stage and act in a silly manner. While these displays speak to the power of hypnosis, they are very far removed from the purpose and application of hypnosis in a therapeutic setting.
Hypnosis is a totally natural state for humans, and one that we go into and out of many times a day without being aware of says the NCH. When our mind wanders, like when we daydream or become completely absorbed in reading a book we are actually in a light trance. In a therapeutic context, this trance or dream-like state is elicited in order to treat a wide array of emotional, mental and physical disorders.
Brain scans of people who are in a hypnotic state show that brain wave activity changes to one similar to that found when a person meditates. Brain scans conducted while people were in a state of hypnosis found that the parts of the brain that are responsible for a person’s self-awareness become less active. This means that the person becomes calmer and more relaxed, there’s less ability to worry. While that part becomes less active, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and insula become more communicative with each other, helping the person to become more aware of what is happening within their body. Finally, the ‘default mode network’ becomes less active, meaning that the person spends more time in the present moment. When these changes happen together, scientists theorise that the person is more able to be fully present and to make changes within their thoughts and feelings which lead to positive changes in their daily life.
It’s important that you choose a fully trained and qualified hypnotherapist to work with. As you experience hypnosis the therapist will guide you with suggestions, ideas and stories to ways of thinking and feeling that are more helpful to you. However, like in meditation or when you’re absorbed watching a book, if the suggestions don’t fit with your world view you are easily able to dismiss them.
When selecting a therapist to work with it’s important to find someone who you think is the right fit for you. Each therapist will have their own approach and by having a conversation with them you’ll be able to assess if you feel comfortable and confident working with them.
To find an accredited NCH hypnotherapist near you, visit our hypnotherapist finder.