HYPNOTHERAPY Frequently Asked Questions
“HYPNOSIS is one of the most misunderstood and under-utilized healing tools available."
- John Dutton: Principle Master Research Therapist: SAMHA
What is Hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is the process of using hypnosis to interact with the subconscious mind in an open-reflective process to create positive change in your life. There are many techniques and many styles and many applications of hypnotherapy. They all have several things in common: (1) a strong desire to change, (2) a state of deeply relaxed focus, and (3) language and visualization in relation to emotions.
What is Hypnosis?
It is a pleasant, voluntary state of relaxed attentive concentration, an altered state of consciousness, during which the conscious critical mind is relaxed and relatively inactive, and the doorway to the subconscious inner mind is opened with a person's permission. In this comfortable state, suggestibility is heightened, mental absorption is increased, the senses are heightened, and the imagination is activated in a controlled manner. The inner mind is more receptive to acceptable, beneficial suggestions.
Can anyone be hypnotized?
Yes, everybody has the ability to be hypnotized to some extent - some more than others. Susceptibility to hypnosis can be measured with a hypnotic susceptibility scale. Researchers tend to classify people as 'highs', 'mediums', or 'lows'. About 80% of people are in the 'medium' band - meaning that they can experience many of the effects of hypnotic suggestion, and are likely to benefit from its clinical use if necessary. Approximately 10% of the population are considered highly hypnotizable - meaning that they can readily experience quite dramatic changes in sensation and perception with hypnosis. Roughly 10% are classified as 'low' - meaning that they have not responded strongly to hypnosis (although there are some skills programs which aim to increase susceptibility to hypnosis). Some clinicians, notably Milton Erickson, have felt that everybody can be but that the hypnotist must modify the style or content of what they do.
What is required for successful therapy?
Only two things are required: First, a strong desire on the part of the client is essential. All hypnosis is actually self-hypnosis, so this aspect is critical. Second, a good rapport with the therapist is necessary. Therapist and client work together as a team.
Can a person be hypnotized against her/his will?
No. You cannot be hypnotized against your will. You must be a willing subject. Your hypnotherapist is your guide, but you are always aware and in control.
Will a hypnotized person perform any anti-social, criminal or immoral acts while under Hypnosis?
No. People who are hypnotized will not do anything in hypnosis that they would not do in the waking state. This applies as well to sexual acts. Hypnosis is not a master-slave relationship. When you are in hypnosis, you are aware of everything that is going on and you continue to retain your values and morals.
Will I be unconscious or asleep?
Absolutely not! When a person is in hypnosis, she/he is not unconscious or asleep. She or he is very much aware of what is going on. In actuality, one's senses become heightened. If a person is tired, it is possible to fall asleep during hypnosis. If a person is asleep they are no longer in a hypnotic state. In actuality, when this occurs, the state of sleep is a light but relaxing state of sleep. A simple suggestion to wake up by the hypnotherapist is all that is needed to rouse-up the subject.
Is it possible that a person could not be brought out of hypnosis?
No, it is not possible. You cannot get stuck in hypnosis because you do not lose control when you are hypnotized. Hypnosis is a cooperative relationship. When you are hypnotized, you regain full control your mind and your body. Sometimes, people feel so relaxed and comfortable in hypnosis that they may wish to remain in that state for a little longer. However, a simple suggestion for awakening (or alerting) is all that is needed to bring a person back into the waking state even if the person has fallen asleep. Additionally, when the hypnotherapist has stopped talking, the person will soon awaken on her or his own. Most importantly, you can come out of hypnosis any time you want.
What does hypnosis feel like?
The answer is that hypnosis probably feels different for everybody. Many hypnotherapists (researchers & clinicians) use elements of relaxation procedures, so people commonly associate a feeling of relaxation with hypnosis. Different people have all sorts of bodily responses to relaxation instructions - some feel as though their body is very heavy, whereas some can feel very light, almost as if they were floating. Mentally, again people have all sorts of responses. People typically report feeling very focussed or absorbed, often effortlessly so. Since instructions for imagery are often used people can have very vivid imaginative experiences - many feeling 'as if they were there.
What are some common uses for hypnotherapy?
The applications are numerous. Our work focuses on smoking cessation, academic enhancement, sports performance, weight management, stress reduction, elimination of fears and phobias, medical hypnosis which includes pre-surgical preparation and post-operative healing, complementary cancer treatment, pre and post birthing, pain management, OCD and IBS, the elimination of bruxism and other dental applications, management of depression and anxiety, and pediatric hypnosis.
What cannot be treated with hypnotherapy?
Serious psychiatric or mental health problems are referred to a qualified psychotherapist or psychiatrist. Medical problems with the physical body must always be treated by a physician, who can, at his or her discretion, prescribe hypnotherapy for pain control or other reasons that are complementary to the prescribed treatment. Drug addiction, family dynamic disorders, clinical depression and other such problems need to be treated by doctors and psychiatrists, who can, at their discretion, prescribe hypnotherapy as a supplementary treatment.
Is hypnotherapy effective with children?
A resounding, YES! In fact, children aged 5 to 11 are ideal candidates. Children spend 75% of their days in hypnosis. We work with children on issues such as bed wetting, nail biting, stuttering, needle phobias, ADHD, and so on. It is also highly effective for "tweens" who are struggling with hormonal changes, social anxieties, and academic focus.
Can hypnotherapy help teenagers negotiate roadblocks to learning?
Absolutely! Very often, self-esteem plays a large role in a teenager's ability to achieve. Negative thoughts reinforce the prophetic words, "I can't!" Hypnotherapy can help teenagers improve their sense of self-worth, create healthier habits for improved achievement/satisfaction in the classroom, on the sports field, and within the family, and eliminate test anxiety.
Where is your Center located?
The Hampshire Hypnotherapy Center is located in Amherst, MA which is in Hampshire County. We serve all the surrounding towns which include but are not limited to Hadley, Northampton, Leverett, Pelham, Sunderland, So. Deerfield, East Hampton, Belchertown, Palmer, Granby and beyond.
Valley Free Radio in Florence/Northampton, MA