Hello! I am Michael Hopkins, a wellness consultant based out of Dubuque, Iowa. My area of practice is hypnotherapy, a form of therapy that takes full use of hypnosis. Well, if you are wondering what hypnosis is, it is essentially the bypassing of the conscious mind and communicating with the subconscious mind.
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How The Hypnotic Process Works
The process starts with a hypnotist wanting to meet you personally to determine what it is that you want to accomplish or change about yourself. The process is also to explain all about hypnosis. Your hypnotic abilities will be evaluated to determine how hypnotizable you are.
The next step is to schedule you for a hypnosis session. If time permits, the hypnotist might go right into the session. The actual session consists of an induction where the hypnotist gets you into the trance state. The hypnotist will then test you to see how deep you are in the trance state.
Pre-talk or Interview
The entire process starts with a pre-talk or an interview between you and the hypnotist. You will be asked to fill out a personal history form and questionnaire. From the forms the hypnotist will understand what brought you to them or why you are there.
Sports Enhancement, Addictions and More
It could be that you heard about hypnosis from a friend, and you want to lose weight or enhance your sports ability. Maybe you have a fear of public speaking, or you are having surgery to remove a tumor, and you are stressed over the possible outcome. During this pre-talk, both of you will get acquainted and become at ease with one another.
The hypnotist will engage you in the process. The hypnotist can ask you questions like, “how will losing weight, quit smoking, or feel less stressed about surgery make you feel?”
Gaining information brings about better understanding of who you are. You might want to quit smoking for your kids’ sake more than your own.
The practitioner will use this information and his knowledge to phrase suggestions that you will believe, and that are acceptable to you. The hypnotist will get you involved in phrasing suggestions so that they are your ideas. So, looking ahead to a time when you might remember a thought that you had, that said, “the hypnotist cannot make me do something against my will.”
Now that you have developed these suggestions together with the hypnotist, they become palatable and believable. When he presents them back to you while you are in the trance state of hypnosis, they become accepted.
When this repeats and turns into a habit, a mind to body pathway of neuroreceptors, stored in the subconscious, is changed and replaced with a new mind to body pathway. This is how change occurs, and old habits are replaced or removed.
Subtle or Rapid Changes
Sometimes, it is a subtle change that occurs over several sessions as in weight loss. It can happen rather rapidly in a few sessions, such as stopping smoking or removing stress and worry related to the fear associated with surgery.
There is always a fear of dying associated with any major surgery plus the fear of the unknown as in the surgery might not work, or cancer has already spread. There is also the fear that death is inevitable from chemotherapy or radiation treatments or whatever.
Post Hypnotic Suggestions
The hypnotist will give you suggestions that you both created during the interview. The suggestions are spoken back to you by the hypnotist while in this state of trance. The hypnotist will often give post-hypnotic suggestions to the client.
These post-hypnotic suggestions are later triggered by an event or something that is said that sets in motion the changes that you the client wants to happen in your life.
After the post suggestion phase, the hypnotist brings you out of the trance. You will feel refreshed and wonderful all over. After the hypnosis session, you and the hypnotist will discuss what you remember from the session, sort of like a debriefing.
If hypnosis is used pre-surgery, there are often fewer complications related to the surgery and the anesthesia because stress, worry, and fear are mitigated. The surgery, healing, as well as the recovery are faster and better. It is a win-win health-wise and financially because faster recoveries cost less.
The simple answer is ‘No.’ What is unique to hypnosis and no other modality is that while in hypnosis, the subconscious mind is very open to suggestions. It only accepts suggestions that are congruent with your beliefs.
A hypnotist cannot get a normal person to go out and rob a bank or give up their passwords or PINs. It is also why to be highly successful at hypnosis and to have an excellent outcome for the client, the hypnotist needs to interview the client.
A case in point for a smoker is that there is a part of them that wants to quit while there is another part that doesn’t want to let go of the stimulus to the brain. This is why, for the hypnotist, the pre-talk is such an essential part of the process because the hypnotist needs to find the right words that will relate to the client.
There is a process that you must go through as you become aware of how a hypnotist can help you change and improve in yourself. As you gather more information from books and the internet, you become more knowledgeable about hypnosis and yourself.
Your disbelief tends to soften and go away with an understanding of the information and knowledge. You will feel that there is something real to the phenomenon called hypnosis.
As you do a pre-talk, the hypnotist learns of your goals and the changes that you want to make in your life. As the two of you work together on your suggestions for change, the words gather acceptance to you. Subconsciously, you are building convictions in your suggestions, and you become ready to take the plunge.
Your opinion of hypnosis has started to shift. Your perceptions change during the trance state, to a commitment to follow the suggestions to reach your goals. Your perception shifts as you accept the whole hypnotic process. This is accomplished at the subconscious level right away. You become more and more committed to changing with each session, especially as you see progress.
It is somewhat later that you realize and acknowledge the fact that hypnosis works. Like the credits at a movie, recognizing that hypnosis works tend to come at the end. The evidence-based information is extensive, and all one needs to do is read it with an open mind.
Research On Hypnosis
There is enough evidence that shows that hypnosis supports contemporary medicine. For instance, the Mayo Clinic concluded in 2006 that the acceptance of hypnosis as a mode of treatment in medicine is increasing as a result of the “careful, methodical, empirical work of many research pioneers.”
The peer-review medical journal was sponsored by the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. It was authored by physicians worldwide and released in April 2006. The journal evaluates over 100 clinical trials involving hypnosis.
James H. Stewart, MD, Department of Internal Medicine and Division of Cardiovascular Diseases, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, is part of the research.
Connection Between Mind & Body
The book shows there is a connection between the mind and the body and that it can be seen, measured, and accessed through psychotherapy. The book confirms that it is possible to use the mind to heal the body. This book alone references 30 pages of books, studies, reviews, and trials.
Guidelines To The Study
It is strongly recommended that qualified professionals guide in an open, evidence-based, and patient-centered manner those patients who use or who are interested in complementary or alternative medicine so that they can approach these therapies appropriately.
Mind-body modalities are strongly recommended to be incorporated into a multidisciplinary approach in reducing anxiety, mood disturbance, and chronic pain and improving the quality of life in cancer patients.
Patients should not use these therapies in place of mainstream care but should be used to enhance conventional medical treatment. Patients should also be fully informed of the potential benefits, to have realistic expectations, and to know the financial implications.
The “mind-body modalities are recommended as part of a multidisciplinary approach to reduce anxiety, mood disturbance, and chronic pain and improve quality of life.” Hypnosis has a rating grade of 1B which is the same grade as acupuncture.
Rationale and Evidence
Mind-body modalities, including meditation, hypnosis, relaxation techniques, cognitive-behavioral therapy, biofeedback, and guided imagery, are increasingly becoming part of mainstream care over the years.
Deep Breathing Relaxation
A survey found that 19% of American adults used at least one mind-body therapy in 1 year. The 2002 US nationwide survey showed that 12% of the respondents used deep breathing relaxation techniques, and 8% used meditation.
A meta-analysis of 116 studies found that mind-body therapies could reduce anxiety, depression, and mood disturbance in cancer patients and assist their coping skills.
In particular, they recommended interventions involving self-practice and hypnosis for managing conditioned nausea and vomiting and suggested that further research is warranted to examine the benefits of relaxation training and guided imagery.
Mind-body techniques must be practiced to produce beneficial effects, so that estimated compliance needs to be component when evaluating the use of mind-body techniques with patients.
Research shows that hypnosis is beneficial in reducing pain, anxiety, phobias, and nausea and vomiting. In one study, 20 excisional breast biopsy patients were randomly assigned to a hypnosis or control group (standard care).
Post-surgery pain and distress were reduced in the hypnosis group. In another study, children undergoing multiple painful procedures, such as bone marrow aspiration or lumbar puncture, were randomized to receive hypnosis, a package of cognitive-behavioral coping skills, or no intervention.
Those who received either hypnosis or cognitive-behavioral therapy experienced more pain relief than control patients. The effects were similar between hypnosis and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Both therapies also reduce anxiety and distress, with hypnosis showing greater effectiveness.
Hypnosis was studied in a randomized controlled trial of 60 patients undergoing elective plastic surgery. Pre-operative and post-operative anxiety and pain were significantly reduced in the hypnosis group when compared with the control group, who just received stress reduction training.
Reduction in anxiety and pain was achieved, along with a significant reduction in intraoperative requirements for sedatives and analgesics.
In a study of 67 bone marrow transplant patients, subjects were randomized to one of the four intervention groups - hypnosis training, cognitive-behavioral coping skills training, therapist contact control, or usual care. Oral pain from mucositis was reduced in the hypnosis group.
The NIH Technology Assessment Panel found strong evidence for hypnosis in alleviating cancer-related pain. Hypnosis effectively treats anticipatory nausea in pediatric and adult cancer patients and reduces post-operative nausea and vomiting. The selection of proper patients and the qualifications of the hypnotherapist contribute to safe hypnotherapy.
In the book Hypnotherapy by Dave Elman (p.51-56), the author confirmed in a conversation with his son Col. H. Larry Elman, CH that hypnosis works. I acknowledge that the Mayo brothers knew and used “suggestive therapy,” 100 years ago, as an adjunct to the administration of anesthetics.
Maybe, it is about time to understand and accept that “hypnosis does work” and makes an excellent adjunct to contemporary medicine.
The National Institute of Health issued a statement published by the American Medical Association in 1996 indicating there was “strong evidence for the use of hypnosis in alleviating pain associated with cancer.” The American Medical Association, as early as 1958, came out and said that there are “definite and proper uses of hypnosis in medical and dental practices.”
The American Psychiatric Association, in 1961, issued a position statement that indicated that “hypnosis has a definite application in the various fields of medicine.”
Nothing can be done to you under hypnosis that goes contrary to your values, beliefs, or morals. Hypnosis has been portrayed in the movies and on the stage as being under the hypnotist mind control. The hypnotist is guiding your subconscious in the direction you have chosen for change in your behavior. On stage, the hypnotist involves you in skits you have knowingly volunteered to be a part of.
Anyone who wants to be hypnotized and has average intelligence can be hypnotized. This includes children age seven and older. I don't work with anyone with a diagnosed with mental disorder and is on medication for depression or a personality disorder. I refer them to a local psychologist or psychiatrist.
Not usually for more than a couple of weeks. Seriously no one has ever gotten stuck in hypnosis. You can come out of hypnosis at any time. If you were left alone for very long you would come out of hypnosis all on your own or drift off into sleep and wake up after a nice nap.
Not unless you want to. You won't be asked to give up any personal information, such as passwords or PINs.
No. You will be fully aware and hear everything that is said. Usually, I use a relaxation method of inducing the trance state occasionally I might use an instant induction, but either way, once you are in a trance, I talk to your subconscious as though you were fully alert.
An excellent way to understand it is instead of me talking to the front of your mind I am talking to the back of your mind, and you won't know the difference. Often many clients say they weren't hypnotized because they heard everything I said. You are supposed to hear everything I say. If you don't, you're asleep.
That depends on what you are trying to change. Some problems are rather simple to solve with one or two sessions. Other problems are more complex and require more sessions to bring about the appropriate change expected. This will be worked out and agreed upon before therapy starts. I offer reduced rates based on the number of sessions that are needed.
First, all most everyone says that they weren't hypnotized, so expect that to be the way it will be until you are convinced. To me it was like an epiphany going off in my head. Then I knew, and there was no question that I was hypnotized.
The Hypnotist is there to guide you along. It is up to your mind to do the work, make the change, or let go of what is holding you back, but without real motivation, determination, desire, change may take a while.
You have to want it to happen, like planting a seed and expecting it to grow, then watching it sprout. For some reason, if Hypnosis doesn't work, then I will make it right with you even if that means refunding your money.
Hypnosis is a proven medical intervention.