How to Benefit from Hypnotherapy

Three Parts:Seeking Professional HelpExperiencing HypnotherapyTreating Specific Conditions with Hypnotherapy

Hypnosis is a mental state of increased focus and attention. Hypnotherapy is a type of psychotherapy that is used in treating both mental illnesses and medical conditions. Hypnotherapy is used to treat pain, IBS, depression, and addictive disorders. During hypnotherapy, a licensed professional helps you relax to a focused mental state where you can use guided imagery or suggestions to help you overcome parts of your condition. By entering into a relaxed state, being open to suggestions, and getting help from a professional hypnotherapist, you can get the most out of hypnotherapy.

Part 1
Seeking Professional Help

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    Talk to your doctor. You may want to discuss hypnotherapy with your doctor before you seek treatment. Not all health professionals will be aware of or supportive of hypnotherapy as an alternative treatment. However, if your doctor is interested in the clinical effects of hypnosis, they may be able to help you obtain treatment.[1]
    • Your doctor may be able to refer you to a reputable therapist in your area that uses hypnotherapy.
    • Say to your doctor, "I read about how many medical professionals are using hypnotherapy to treat IBS. What do you think about that?" or "Doctors are using hypnotherapy to treat addictive disorders. I thought that might be a good fit for me. What are your thoughts?"
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    Find a licensed practitioner. There is no regulation for hypnosis. This means that not every person who is “certified” or offers hypnosis therapy can be trusted. The best way to ensure that you are getting proper treatment from a professional is to look for a licensed psychologist, therapist, psychiatrist, social worker, or other mental health professional who has training from reputable institution. Search for one who is interested in hypnotherapy.
    • Experts who use hypnotherapy may not be available in your area. You may need to search the internet or professional therapist associations to locate one near you.
    • Make sure the therapist has training in medicine or psychology. Ask if they are licensed in your state, and where they got their degrees, training, and licenses. Find out if they are members of professional organizations.
    • Discuss their experience with hypnotherapy and how long they have been performing it.[2]
    • Ask your doctor, hospital, or clinic for a referral to a hypnotherapist. Talk to any friends and family to see if they know about any hypnotherapists in your area. Search online to find therapists who specialize in hypnosis, and read any reviews about the therapist from others.
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    Contact a professional organization. If you are having trouble finding hypnotherapists in your area, you may want to contact a professional organization. There are organizations dedicated to hypnotherapy where you can find information, studies, benefits, and practicing professionals.[3]

Part 2
Experiencing Hypnotherapy

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    Be open to hypnosis. Only seek hypnotherapy if you are open to the idea or believe in its effectiveness. If you think hypnosis is stupid and won’t work, you will more than likely receive no benefits from it. To get to the hypnotic state, you have to allow yourself to sink into the deep state of relaxation.[4]
    • Some people are more susceptible than others. Those who are the least susceptible are people who are overly skeptical or resistant.
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    Get into a relaxed state. The therapist will start the session by helping you get to a relaxed, calm state where your mind is focused and open. They may talk to you in a calm, soothing voice as they vocally lead you to a place of relaxation. They may have you think of certain images to help promote relaxation.[5]
    • Part of getting into a total state of relaxation is feeling secure where you are. This is why it is very important for you to trust your therapist.
    • For example, your therapist may ask you to close your eyes while listening to calm music. They will count back from ten, asking you to relax your muscles more and more with each number. You will let the tension release from your body. Then, you may be asked to think of a serene lake and let your mind mirror that calm state.
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    Use guided imagery. One of the keys to hypnotherapy is using imagery in your mind. During hypnosis, you may be put into a relaxed, calm state where your mind is focused. You will visualize something, often a concrete image of your condition, and then work on changing that image in your mind from something negative to something positive.[6]
    • For example, if you suffer from chronic pain, you may be asked to visualize your pain. You may imagine that your pain is a large throbbing red ball. In a hypnotic state, you will be asked to think about your pain as something different, such as a less imposing, threatening thing. Your mind may reimagine the pain as a small pool of water or a small blue ball rolling slowly across the floor.
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    Be open to suggestions. Another part of hypnosis is opening your mind in that focused, relaxed state to suggestions. These suggestions are given to you by a licensed professional. Before the hypnosis, you and your therapist will discuss your goals and what you want to be suggested while in your hypnotic state.[7]
    • You are always in control of what is being suggested to you. Hypnosis is not a form of mind control. This is one reason it’s important to find a hypnotherapist who is qualified and that you trust.
    • For example, while in a hypnotic state, your therapist may say, “You are not interested in cigarettes. You don’t want to pick up a cigarette. You do not have the urge to smoke.”
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    Allow yourself into your subconscious. Hypnosis may also provide the opportunity for you to figure out some of the underlying problems that may be stopping you from doing things or holding you back. In a hypnotic state, you may be able to revisit past events and experiences to understand yourself and habits better.[8]
    • Hypnosis can help you stop censoring yourself and instead open yourself to things you may usually ignore or push deeper into yourself.
    • For example, your therapist may ask you to go through your mind and find any memories that you may find uncomfortable in your normal state. You can calmly reflect on those memories and observe them in a safe way. When you get out of your hypnotic state, you and your therapist can discuss the memory and the impact it may have had on you.

Part 3
Treating Specific Conditions with Hypnotherapy

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    Use hypnotherapy for sleep. Studies have shown that hypnotherapy can help achieve deeper, better sleep. You can listen to a hypnotic suggestion tape before bed to help calm and relax your mind, then fall asleep. Those who are susceptible to hypnosis may find that they sleep better after using hypnotherapy before bed.[9]
    • Hypnotherapy may be a technique for people who have trouble sleeping. This can be a way for them to fall asleep and get more rest.
    • Hypnosis has no side effects, unlike medication you take to sleep.
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    Try hypnotherapy for IBS. Hypnotherapy has been used with some patients who suffer from IBS. Studies conducted have shown that people with IBS had less symptoms and continued to see improvement for years after undergoing hypnotherapy. Patients were given hour long hypnotherapy sessions for 12 weeks.[10]
    • In hypnotherapy for IBS, you may be asked to visualize your intestine, which you see as a red inflamed tangle. In the hypnotic state, your therapist may suggest that you re-envision your intestine into something positive. You change your image to a pink, smooth rope, which helps your mind overcome symptoms.
    • Talk to your doctor about using hypnotherapy. If your doctor is skeptical, contact a therapist or hypnotherapist to discuss how hypnotherapy may help your IBS.
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    Manage pain. Hypnotherapy has been used to manage chronic pain associated with fibromyalgia, arthritis, and cancer. Hypnosis may also help with migraines.[11] Hypnosis works towards helping you let go of negative emotions and stress that can sometimes be associated with chronic pain. It also helps you feel more empowered as you learn to take control away from the pain.[12]
    • Hypnosis helps refocus your attention away from the pain and instead puts you in control of your mind, where you lessen the importance of the pain.
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    Combat anxiety and depression with hypnosis. Hypnotherapy is used to help with anxiety associated with medical procedures, like surgery and giving birth. Hypnosis is aimed to help reduce fear and pain in these situations. Psychologists are starting to use hypnotherapy in the treatment of anxiety disorders, depression, and phobias.[13]
    • Hypnotherapy may be helpful to help nervous habits, like biting your nails. Suggestions during the hypnotic state may help you overcome your phobias.
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    Try hypnosis for weight loss. Hypnosis can be used to help with weight loss and overeating. Along with a weight management plan, hypnosis can help you change your attitude about weight loss, diet, and exercise. It can also help you learn how to manage your weight as you work towards your goals.[14]
    • Hypnosis can also help with self-esteem and body imagine.
    • Hypnosis may help you accept your body at each stage of your weight loss.
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    Think about hypnosis for children. Hypnosis may be beneficial to children who suffer from certain nervous disorders. For example, hypnosis has been used to help with bed-wetting, stuttering, thumb sucking, phobias, sleepwalking, and even confidence issues. Children generally respond well to hypnosis.[15]
    • Hypnosis may help children uncover misunderstandings and understand what really was said or meant.
    • Hypnosis may be helpful in behavioral problems in children and teenagers.
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    Consider hypnotherapy for other conditions. Hypnosis is also used to treat other conditions. These conditions include habit disorders, like smoking, skin conditions, hemophilia, hot flashes nausea, and vomiting. If you have a condition you’d like to try alternative treatment for, consider discussing the possibility of hypnotherapy with your doctor.[16]
    • Hypnotherapy won’t be appropriate for all conditions. Discuss it with your doctor and a trained hypnotherapist.

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Categories: Hypnosis