Hypnosis is a form of relaxation, which is rather deeper than just closing your eyes. Some people believe that there is an actual “hypnotic state” in which there is an alteration in the level of consciousness, whereas others consider that hypnosis simply involves a focusing of the person’s attention. It is important to emphasise that the hypnotised person is neither asleep nor unconscious.
It is aimed that the relaxation achieved in hypnosis is both a comfortable and pleasant experience.
Most people are able to achieve an adequate level of relaxation using hypnosis. However, some people particularly those suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) find this much more difficult. At the other end of the scale there are those who are excellent hypnosis subjects and achieve a “deep” level of relaxation. Nevertheless it is found that with practice people are able to relax more rapidly and more deeply as the treatment progresses. The teaching of self-hypnosis is invaluable as this allows the patient to relax at times when the therapist is not present. Self-hypnosis need only take ten minutes and can therefore be incorporated into even the busiest working day. It is important that self-hypnosis is not carried out when driving a car or operating machinery.
It must be emphasised that self-hypnosis must only be used when it has been taught by a suitably qualified therapist.
Prior to the use of hypnosis it is important that a detailed history is taken to insure that there are no contraindications to its use and to determine whether hypnosis is the best vehicle for the treatment of the individual concerned.
The induction of hypnosis can be achieved in a number of different ways, which is mainly dictated by the personal choice of the therapist. However, in the case of children it is often helpful to use the “story telling” technique where the child takes the initiative.
During the hypnosis the first objective is for the patient to choose a “special place” which is anxiety free. This place is used during the therapy to assist the patient to over come his or her problems. The choice of the “special place” varies from one person to another and although frequently involves beach scenes may also take the form of, walking in the country, curling up in front of a log fire or sporting activities. As the place may vary so may the way in which the “special place” is experienced. It may be primarily a visual experience or the person may be more aware of the sound aspects or the tastes or feel involved in the scene. Which ever of the senses is dominant what is of paramount importance is that the person vividly experiences the scene in the hypnosis and feels happy and comfortable there.
At the end of each session the therapist must ensure that the hypnosis is reversed and the patient is fully alert before leaving the consulting room.
Patients often come for hypnotherapy with the misconception that the therapist will “remove” the problem as if by magic. It must be stressed that the treatment involves co-operation between the patient and their therapist and requires that they work together on the problem.
The technique of hypnotic induction is quite easy to learn, and yet this does not equip someone to become a hypnotherapist. It is important that hypnotherapy is only undertaken by healthcare professionals, such as doctors, clinical psychologists and dentists, who are suitably qualified and practice in their own particular field.