What Is Hypnotherapy?

The Most Frequent Questions Answered
By: Rev. Laurel Phoenix, C. Ht., CPC.

Q. What is hypnosis? 
A. A state of relaxation and/or a level of concentration that the average individual reaches daily.  Self hypnosis is accomplished most often when one is ‘absorbed’ in a TV program, experiencing repetition (highway driving) or daydreaming.  However “Hypnotherapy” is guided relaxation where the ideas expressed (suggestions) by the therapist are generally remembered more readily, which in turn creates a new awareness & new responses.  Depending on the client’s motivations, there may be a shift in attitude about the specific subject matters (habits or stresses).  The only requirement for getting therapeutic results is that the person has a conscious desire to transform or alter their thoughts.  Or in other words, is in agreement with what is being suggested.

Q. Do people do things under hypnosis that are against their morals or values? 

A. No.  Hypnosis cannot detach the ego.  You are always aware of what is going on and in control.  As a general rule, if a client were given a suggestion he/she did not agree with, he/she would simply refuse it, laugh at it, or awaken (regain normal consciousness).  In stage hypnosis, the volunteers are usually under the influence of alcohol and have come to the show for the purpose of relaxing, acting silly and/or to have a good time, therefore are easily encouraged to do so.  Because inhibitions are often reduced under the influences of alcohol & hypnosis, the subject is more likely to experience their inner character traits and motivations.

Q. Can a person’s memory be erased? 
A. No.  If someone undergoing hypnosis wants to remember everything, she/he will.  In some cases amnesia can be produced with post-hypnotic suggestion, but it wears off as quickly as the subject wishes.  However a Certified Hypnotherapist can help a person transform a memory which may be causing perceived problems.  The mind contains unconscious memories which generally are responsible for our decisions, attitudes, feelings & behaviors.  Hypnotherapy is effective in helping people change their behaviors & learned responses.

Q. Can everyone be hypnotized? 
A. Yes, as long as they are willing and have the ability to concentrate &/or relax.  There is a positive correlation between the ability to concentrate and the depth of hypnosis.  Hypnosis is just a state of deep relaxation.

Q. Do people under hypnosis go to sleep or become unconscious? 
A.  No.  One should not expect to go to sleep!  Hypnosis is a hyper-state of awareness that feels very relaxing.  One is completely aware of everything that is occurring in the surrounding environment as well as that which is happening in the inner mind.  Many authors in the field feel that hypnosis is a state of consciousness somewhere between being awake and asleep.  Some people may go out in hypnosis, falling into a natural sleep because they are so relaxed, but then they may need to be awakened.

Q.  What can be treated with Hypnotherapy? 

A.  A qualified Clinical Hypnotherapist has the capabilities to alleviate or transform a multitude of symptoms & problems.  Many Hypnotherapists carry credentials in other professional fields and therefore utilize hypnosis within the context of their specialty areas.  Also, they will often use other tools to aid and assist the transition into hypnosis, such as guided meditation, light therapy or relaxing music to help the client reach the necessary level of relaxation to achieve lasting results.  Although hypnotherapy isn’t a panacea, the areas in which it’s been helpful to many people are virtually endless, for example: weight loss, stress reduction, pain cessation (emotional &/or physical) and accessing past lives through regression.