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What is Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy / hypnosis utilizes the unconscious mind and the imagination with the intent to help someone solve issues and grow. 

There are similarities between martial arts and hypnotherapy in that certain martial arts leverage centering techniques, skills and qualities similar to that of hypnosis such as: relaxation, deep breathing, increased self-perception and awareness.

Hypnosis is simply a different state of consciousness which you can naturally enter so that, for therapeutic purposes, beneficial corrections may be given directly to your subconscious mind. In this way, hypnosis is an effective way of making contact with our inner self, which is both a reservoir of unlimited potential and knowledge.  Ironically, it is also the source of many of our problems.

Clinical hypnotherapy uses advanced methods of hypnosis techniques to treat a variety of medical and psychological problems.  Approximately 85% of people respond to clinical hypnotherapy.  Clinical hypnosis is best described as a focused state of awareness used by therapists and their clients to improve multiple disorders: allergies, traumas, phobias, anxiety, pain management, habit management, etc.

Those critical of hypnotherapy say that people under hypnosis can be ‘forced’ to do something against their will. This is not true. At all times, the Client is aware of what is going on around them.  In fact, they are in a hyper state of alertness.

It must be noted that clinical hypnotherapy is an established complementary therapy with an excellent track record.  It is highly cost effective as benefits are often achieved rapidly. Also, clinical hypnotherapy can be successful where other interventions have not produced the desired outcome.

Most importantly, Hypnosis is a safe, natural state of mind.  And it is within everyone’s nature and ability to enter this “altered” state.   This is done every day by each of us.  Dreaming, meditating, sleeping, are all examples of an altered state of mind.  And it is worth mentioning that hypnosis has been used throughout human history and in all cultures.  But it wasn’t until 1843 that the Scottish surgeon Dr. James Braid popularized the term “hypnosis.”

Role of the Hypnotherapist

A Hypnotherapist induces a hypnotic state in a client to increase motivation or alter behavior patterns.  This includes consulting with a client to determine the nature of the problem, establishing the goal and preparing the client by explaining how hypnosis works and what the client will experience.  Additionally, this also includes training the client in self-hypnosis.

A Certified Hypnotherapist, “CHt” is trained to use hypnosis as the primary technique in a process of reprogramming at the subconscious / emotional levels for the purposes of solving problems, developing motivation, and setting and achieving goals.  Additionally, a CHt who receives further training can become a Certified Medical Support Hypnotherapist, “CMS” and is trained to employ hypnosis in the health sciences as well as human services.  Further training can prepare a CHt to perform Past Life / Inter Life Regression Therapy & Natal Regression Therapy – the exploration of childhood wounds, understanding choice of parents and family structure and how this relates to your current life experience.  Peter Justini has received Certification and Training in all 3 modalities.

How does Hypnotherapy work?

The Hypnotherapist will guide the Client into a deep state of relaxation using appropriate sensory cues and calming visualizations that create a deeply relaxing and safe mental surrounding.  When done right, the Client’s physical surroundings will melt away.  The result is a powerful combination of dissociation, immersion, and openness to new experiences.  This is referred to as the “hypnotic state” and can be achieved in just a few minutes.  The hypnotic state is ideal for positive transformation as this is where people are more open to positive suggestions and imagery.  Keep in mind that the Hypnotherapist and the Client would have previously worked on creating the ideal suggestions and imagery needed to achieve the desired goal.

Whether the goal is to have the Client detach themselves from a past painful experience or visualize a solution to their problem, positive changes can be made. For some people, these changes may be catalyzed in just a few one- or two-hour sessions. For others, hypnotherapy and/or self-hypnosis may be a regular part of their mental health care.

Hypnosis can modify behavior in many ways because in this altered state of consciousness, a person is immersed and highly focused on visualizing their goal achieved, or modifying a belief.  Therefore, positive results can occur quite quickly and naturally.  

Brain-imaging studies have helped researchers understand what happens inside the hypnotized brain, and what was revealed is that brain activity in the region that helps people switch between tasks – the doer mind, the analytical / reasoning mind – quiets down and seems to disconnect from another area of the brain responsible for self-reflection and daydreaming—which may be why hypnotized people aren’t worried about who they are or what they’re doing. Researchers have also found that hypnosis can calm brain regions that help control autonomic functions like heart rate, blood flow, and breathing. This is likely why physical relaxation is commonly associated with the hypnosis experience.

What can it be used for?

Clients choose hypnotherapy to address a wide range of circumstances.  Reasons range from issues such as pain management, anxiety, performance improvements with sports and test taking, public speaking, weight loss, help with smoking, or simply the desire to explore the esoteric.

Hypnotherapy is widely used to assist with phobias, anxiety and stress, panic attacks, insomnia, lack of self-confidence, weight management, smoking cessation, and even physical conditions such as asthma, urinary incontinence, over-active bladder syndrome and migraines.

Also, clinical research has shown that it can help relieve pain and anxiety and can help children and adolescents better regulate their feelings and behaviors.  Some people use “self-hypnosis” to manage stress and improve their physical and emotional health.  In summary, modern hypnotherapy is widely accepted for certain habit disorders, to control pain, irrational fears, insomnia and amazingly – to enhance recovery after surgical procedures.

A quick internet search revealed the following ways modern hypnotherapy is being used today.  And one of the most interesting is in the operating room.  According to Lorenzo Cohen, Director of the Integrative Medicine Program at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center – for some localized breast cancer surgeries, namely lumpectomies, the center lets patients choose between general anesthesia or a localized anesthetic and hypnotherapy. Those who choose the second option remain fully awake during their surgery, but a hypnotherapist first helps them enter a state of deep relaxation, or “hypnosedation,” Cohen says. “The local [anesthesia] should be doing its thing,” Cohen says. “The rest is in your head.”

More than 30 clinical trials have affirmed the use of hypnosedation, says Cohen (who is also researching the practice). Studies have shown that people who received hypnosedation experienced less preoperative anxiety, required less pain medication during surgery, and reported less post-operative pain intensity, nausea, fatigue, and discomfort than people who chose general anesthesia, Cohen says. “The hypothesis is that the patients who are under general anesthesia, even though they’re not conscious, are having an intense stress response,” he says. This can suppress an immune system that, in cancer patients, is already compromised by the disease and its treatments. When patients choose hypnosis, Cohen believes the body’s fight-or-flight response may be reduced.

Randomized controlled trials have found that hypnosis can help with pain and anxiety associated with a range of medical conditions and when conducted by a trained professional and properly applied, modern hypnotherapy can provide powerful results.

Common reasons people seek hypnotherapy:

  • They harbor feelings or beliefs that their health is not optimal.
  • They want to form new healthy habits and quit unhealthy habits or behaviors.
  • Their worries about past / present / future events is excessive and debilitating.
  • They want to connect with their spirit guides / past lives / early childhood.
  • They are not comfortable with who they are or the path they are on.
  • They are not performing up to the level of their true potential.
  • Their lives lack some significant (but unidentified) thing or purpose.

Examples of some specific conditions helped through hypnosis:

  • Menopause – There is evidence supporting the use of hypnotherapy in the treatment of menopause related symptoms, including hot flashes. The North American Menopause Society recommends hypnotherapy for the nonhormonal management of menopause-associated vasomotor symptoms. Vasomotor symptoms are caused from the constriction or dilation of blood vessels and include conditions such as; hot flashes, night sweats, heart palpitations, and changes in blood pressure. The most likely reason why these symptoms can occur during menopause is that hormonal fluctuations affect the mechanisms that control blood pressure and temperature control.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome – The use of hypnotherapy in treating the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome is supported by research, including randomized controlled trials. A 2015 audit of 1,000 patients undertaking gut-focused hypnotherapy in normal clinical practice found that hypnotherapy was an effective intervention for refractory IBS.  Gut-directed hypnotherapy is recommended in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome by the American College of Gastroenterology clinical guideline for the management of IBS.
  • Childbirth – Hypnotherapy is often applied in the birthing process. A 2013 study was conducted during which it was found that: “The use of hypnosis in childbirth leads to a decrease in the amount of pharmacological analgesia and oxytocin used, which reduces the duration of the first stage of labor”.  In 2013, studies were conducted in Denmark, during which it was concluded that “The self-hypnosis course improves the experience of childbirth in women and also reduces the level of fear”.  In 2015, a similar study was conducted in the UK by a group of researchers: “The positive experience of self-hypnosis gives a sense of calm, confidence and empowerment in childbirth”. Hypnobirthing has been used by individual such as Catherine, Princess of Wales.
  • Anxiety – Hypnotherapy is shown to be comparable in effectiveness to other forms of therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, that utilize relaxation techniques and imagery. It has also been shown to be successful when used to reduce anxiety in those with dental anxiety and phobias.
  • PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and its symptoms have been shown to improve due to implementation of hypnotherapy, in both long and short term. As research continues, hypnotherapy is being more openly considered as an effective intervention for those with PTSD.
  • Depression – Hypnotherapy has been shown to be effective when used to treat long term depressive symptoms. It has been shown to be comparable to the efficacy of cognitive-behavioral therapy, and when used in tandem, efficacy seems to increase.
  • Other uses – Modern hypnotherapy is widely accepted for the treatment of certain habit disorders, to control irrational fears, as well as in the treatment of conditions such as insomnia and addiction. Hypnosis has also been used to enhance recovery from non-psychological conditions such as after surgical procedures, in breast cancer care and even with urinary and gastro-intestinal problems.