You may have heard or experienced “hypnosis” where someone puts a person “under” and where they can make suggestions that have the participant clucking like a chicken or speaking in gibberish for audience effect.
Hypnotherapy starts with hypnosis or a hypnotic trance-like state that a trained and certified hypnotherapist will put the client into a relaxed state. Once in the trance state, the client is still fully aware of their surroundings; similar to when someone works on a computer, reads a book, watches TV, or is practicing meditation. They are relaxed and calm, either sitting or lying down with eyes closed and able to receive information. It can take a shorter or longer time to achieve this state depending on how willing and trusting the participant is with the hypnotherapist.
There are different styles and approaches to hypnotherapy sessions in treatment, but you can expect that while in session it will be a serene environment with minimal distractions. The therapist and the client will discuss issues or issues that the client would like to explore for change to occur. This could be a past experience, current challenge or upcoming event. During the session, the hypnotherapist will explain the technique and will be able to answer any questions prior to working with them. Some therapists use a countdown technique after an initial relaxation activity that concentrates on breathing and relaxing. The therapist will ask the client to visualize experiences and suggest ways to create positive change.
Hypnotherapy is a three-part process:
- The identification of an issue in which the client and therapist discuss exploring
- The state of hypnosis where suggestion can be introduced for the client in order to create change in behavior
- Analysis of the session which can determine if anything new was discovered or revealed by unconscious memories. This can then guide the client to bring up the issue in psychotherapy sessions.
Your licensed MFT or LCSW may also be certified in hypnotherapy, although some people have the sole concentration in the field: either way, it is a beneficial treatment to explore healing and wellness while in therapy.
Though forms of hypnosis have been used through the centuries in many different cultures and considered controversial in its outcomes, hypnotherapy is presently an evidence-based practice, which means it has been tried and tested, approved by governing bodies of psychology to be a validates treatment practice which works.
Why use Hypnotherapy?
Clients enter into hypnotherapy usually as an adjunct of traditional therapy because their clinician may have referred them, or that they have deep-rooted issues that lie in their sub or unconscious mind they want further access to. Other people engage in hypnotherapy because of a specific condition they want to work on where traditional therapy (talking about it) may not be the answer.
Hypnotherapy assists with chronic or specific anxieties, phobias (fear of flying, fear of heights, fear of the dentist etc.), habits, substance abuse, biophysical issues, sleep disturbances, communication, relationship challenges, sexual dysfunction, pain, post-partum depression and underlying reasons for behaviors.
Will Hypnotherapy Work for Me?
Hypnotherapy will work depending on whether the client is ready and willing to receive information in a state of relaxation. It is not dissimilar to anything being learned and utilized by a client. For instance, if someone wants to get clean and sober from drugs and alcohol, they need to be ready for that stage of change. Hypnotherapy works best for people who are ready and are in what is called the “action” stage after the preparation stage which is defined in the transtheoretical model.
Revisiting the Past
A client may find that they have a current aversion to an unexplained issue that they can’t identify. They may also know completely well why they are still harboring a fear or phobia, or have anxiety for a specific surrounding event, or relationship. The hypnotherapist will guide the client to recall past events and circumstances that relate to the current situation. This would be discussed with the therapist prior to the hypnotic state as the therapist is not a mind reader nor would suggest a place to return to that the client isn’t willing to explore. The hypnotherapist would ask the client to return to the time and scene of the event or open their mind up to receive repressed information if the client cannot remember. The client may not be able to visualize the event, but could sense of feel what it was like. This is also helpful and can be a start to further investigate. At anytime if the client becomes too anxious in the recall, the hypnotherapist will be aware of this and change the recall.
If the client recalls the specific events and is in a continued relaxed state, the hypnotherapist can then take the client through the experience and offer suggested changes. If the client is in sessions, for instance, to stop using heroin, the therapist can process what was a pleasant experience of drug using into an unpleasant one- focusing on the negative repercussions and withdrawals rather than the initial hit. This can plant an image in the client’s subconscious which may help with relapse prevention.
In other areas, such as family relationships where the client views communication with their parents have been filled with friction, the therapist may take the client into a circumstance and ask them to change the way they acted, or said certain things, thus resulting in an experience which the outcome was different. This is beneficial for upcoming family sessions where the client feels “stuck” in the patterns of communication with certain relationships.
Therapy for the Psychoanalytic Process
Sometimes the client is ready to face the issues of their childhood or past and how it directly affects their current behavior. This type of treatment is called psychoanalytical therapy- deriving from Sigmund Freud and further advance by Erik Erikson, Jean Piaget, and Margaret Mahler who all defined developmental stages of childhood and the basic processes each stage included. They believed that during the early stages if one or more would be interrupted, it would lead to undeveloped maturation and create anxieties and fears that the person carried through their lifetime. In order to change and address these fears and traumas, the client would be accessing their “inner child.”
An adept therapist uses the hypnotic technique in order to return to their childhood which may be suppressed. When accessing the inner child, the client can then use a variety of styles and visualizations to reconfigure events that help heal the inner child. For example, one technique is to take the client at their current adult state and have them return to a traumatic or neglectful event in their childhood. Once there, the adult can then save, rescue or defend their own inner child in the same event. Post sessions, the client can feel a shifting of the attachment from the abuse or neglect, and the result is that they are healing from the event. The client does not forget what has taken place, but they no longer attach the event to their current self in relationships or situational events.
A skilled therapist can use this technique to help you face and deal with childhood abuse, trauma, or neglect. They can help you come to terms with negative experiences that happened long ago or more recently. As your therapist helps your inner child create a new version of reality, healing takes place.
Hypnotherapy can best be described as a therapeutic intervention tool to help a client apply the benefits into their current life.
Benefits of Hypnotherapy
There are several benefits of hypnotherapy for the client. Sometimes clients experience great results in just one session, others a series of sessions are needed to address and overcome presenting problem.
Some challenges that clients enter into hypnotherapy during treatment for substance abuse are:
- Unresolved child traumas
- Agoraphobia and social anxiety
- Sleep issues
- General Anxiety
- Habits and reasons of forming habits
- Specific stressors
- Relationship issues
- Grief and loss
- Transference of issues (eg. Drinking to gambling, using to over-eating)
- Anger and rage
- Crisis management
What is Hypnotherapist’s Education and Credentials?
Some licensed therapists have taken courses in hypnotherapy and incorporate the technique into psychotherapy sessions, while many hypnotherapists are practicing specifically in the field. They are members of the National Board of Certified Hypnotherapists, American Society of Clinical Hypnosis or the Society for Clinical and Experimental Therapy. To be an advanced hypnotherapist, the person must have a Master’s level or above in medicine, psychology, social work, or marriage and family therapy with several hundred hours of clinical practice. They may also be certified in alternative health practices such as Ayurvedic, herbology, and Chinese Medicine or other adjunct therapies which fall under alternative and experiential practices. No matter their credentials or education, the client must feel confident and safe with the therapist and not denote the technique if they don’t meet the right person at first. This goes for any type of therapy or service which deals directly with the public.
Stage hypnosis is for entertainment only and is the subject of controversy where some audience members do or do not believe that it works. However, if you’ve ever seen someone hypnotized on stage, it may be nearly impossible that the participant does not laugh or look uncomfortable if they weren’t in it. Stage hypnosis is not at all what the sessions of hypnotherapy are, and you will never be asked to turn into a chicken and flap your arms about the room. The client will not be put in any embarrassing or shaming situation that will cause later embarrassment or mistrust form the clinician.
Are there Drawbacks or Negative Impacts of Hypnosis?
Hypnotherapists and psychotherapists will help the client determine if they are ready for sessions. Some clients who are experiencing psychosis or are having intermittent visual or auditory hallucinations will not be appropriate candidates for hypnotherapy since they are experiencing delusions or are in a state of altered consciousness.
If a client would like to address a physical or medical condition it is best if they get referred by their doctor prior to engaging in hypnotherapy. Some people suffer from conversion disorder which is best described as a psychological condition where they feel a physical symptom that actually has no medical issue to explain it but is due to an emotional or mental trauma that gets transferred to their body. Other people are obsessively focused on illnesses which don’t exist and may be hypochondriacs which hypnotherapy can help, but a medical diagnosis should still be determined pre-session.
Other clients may be on medications which inhibits positive result of hypnotherapy and should speak to their medical doctor and/or psychiatrists to determine if they should start hypnotherapy sessions and determine if there may be any adverse effects. Hypnotherapy should not take the place of medications is the client has been diagnosed to need them.
Other times, if a client is diagnosed with Acute Traumatic or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, it will most likely be not beneficial to relive these situations in detail, but can end up being harmful and put the client at risk. What the hypnotherapist can do is make suggestions to help assist in the current fears and anxieties. For instance, a US combat Veteran who has severe startle response to loud noises and cannot leave their house for fear of triggering. The therapists can have the client in session to help reduce the reaction to the loud noises rather than have the clients return to visualize the combat zone.
By exploring and probing the past, the sub and unconscious mind, the false assumptions and continued behavior of a client, hypnotherapy can be a beneficial tool for unlocking and healing persistent mental, emotional and physical challenges that a client cannot overcome with psychotherapy alone.
During a client’s stay at a treatment facility, it can be a needed component and wonderful adjacent therapy while going through the process of early sobriety for continued care in transitionary stages. People who have experienced multiple treatment centers often find frustration with wanting to stop using and not understanding why they can’t.
These clients are open and willing to do all the necessary work needed in rehab, yet still relapse. By engaging in hypnotherapy to identify the underlying causes of relapse, this type of client has benefitted greatly with hypnotherapy sessions.
Hypnotherapy at Vogue Recovery Center
A time-tested and gentle intervention – hypnotherapy can relieve stress, develop coping skills, reduce cravings and refocus your motivation to help you succeed. Using trance induction and suggestive thought processing the practice of hypnosis breaks through the normal barriers that can often inhibit the therapeutic process to achieve new gains that may have been previously unavailable. Our hypnotherapists understand the struggles of someone in treatment, and they are specifically trained to apply hypnotherapy principles to combat these struggles head-on. Some of the more common hypnotherapy applications, among many, include sessions directed to reduce cravings, combat anxiety, and depression, and redirect energy to cultivate positivity and proper focus. Our holistic approach to treatment is particularly highlighted with hypnotherapy sessions as we see and understand all facets of one’s struggle in early sobriety. It is not easy – and we get it. We make every effort to make this process and simple, comfortable, and effective as possible.
To learn more about our world-class program and luxury approach, call 1-877-437-6408 today.