Hypnotherapy, also referred to as guided hypnosis, is a form of psychotherapy that uses relaxation, extreme concentration, and intense attention to achieve a heightened state of consciousness or mindfulness. In other words, it places the individual into a “trance” or altered state of awareness.
This form of therapy is considered alternative medicine with the purpose of utilising one’s mind to help reduce or alleviate a variety of issues, such as psychological distress, phobias, and unhealthy, destructive, or dangerous habits (i.e. smoking and/or drinking). The aim of hypnotherapy is to create a positive change in an individual, while he/she is in a state of unconsciousness or slumber (sleep).
Hypnotherapy is used to treat a wide range of conditions, issues, and unwanted/unhealthy behaviours, such as:
- Relationship / Family / Work Conflicts
- Sleep Disorders
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Grief and Loss of a Loved One
- Cessation of Smoking
- Weight Loss
During hypnosis, a trained hypnotherapist or psychologist uses guided relaxation techniques to elicit feelings of extreme relaxation, focus, and concentration in the individual with the goal of helping him/her achieve a heightened state of consciousness.
Research suggests that hypnosis may provide a wide range of benefits for a multitude of psychological, physical, and behavioural issues and conditions.
To understand the difference between hypnosis and hypnotherapy, think of hypnosis as a tool and hypnotherapy as the use of a tool. Hypnotherapy is to hypnotism as art therapy is to art.
The definition of hypnotherapy is clear from the word itself. Hypnotherapy is the practice of hypnosis for therapeutic purposes.
In other words, if you are a professional mental health therapist or medical doctor and you’re using hypnosis to help a client overcome a mental or physical condition, you’re practicing hypnotherapy.
The hypnotic trance state is a remarkably flexible tool for solving mental and physical health problems. Here are just a few ways mental health and medical professionals use hypnotherapy:
- Helping people quit smoking or reduce overeating by focusing their minds and suggesting healthier behaviour
- Accessing the mind-body link to relieve chronic and acute pain, including during surgery and childbirth. Hypnotherapy has also proven effective against stubborn physical afflictions like irritable bowel syndrome and dermatological conditions
- Diving deep into the subconscious mind to uncover and treat the root causes of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and addiction