Hypnosis is the process by which a person induces an altered state of attention or degree of awareness in another person. The process may result in a variety of phenomena, which occur spontaneously or in response to verbal or other stimuli. These phenomena include: alternations in consciousness and memory; increased susceptibility to suggestion; the production of responses and ideas unfamiliar to the person in the normal state of mind; or changes in behavior, perceptions, or psychological processes.
Hypnosis can also occur naturally when a person has become totally absorbed in what they are doing. Thus, like day-dreaming, hypnotic-like states may occur in people regularly.
Hypnosis is not the same as sleep. It is not like an anaesthetic. You do not “pass out” and you are not unconscious when you are hypnotised. You do not lose control over your mind or your feelings. You do not weaken or surrender your will to any other person. In fact, your will-power may be strengthened with hypnosis.
In hypnosis, it is usual to feel relaxed, at ease, and you may well enjoy a special peace of mind. Many people comment on their feeling of comfort and security, or the sensation of lightness or floating. What is particularly pleasant about hypnosis is the fact that it is natural and safe when used by trained professionals, and almost everyone can learn to use it by themselves and be helped by it. It can be learned and used by adults, adolescents, and children alike.
Where hypnosis can be used
Hypnosis is particularly useful for helping people change their behavior, symptoms, and attitudes. It is one of the most powerful psychological methods for mental and physical relaxation. Thus, hypnosis is useful for anxiety and stress control, and phobias. It is also useful in dealing with attentional deficits, motivation, assertiveness and confidence building, ego-strengthening and enhancing psychotherapy and counselling.
Medical Applications: Treatments for most conditions including asthma, enuresis, hypertension, migraine, obesity, smoking cessation, gastrointestinal disorders and anxiety. It is also used extensively for labour and childbirth, minor surgical procedures, and pain control.
Psychological & Psychiatric Applications: Include anxiety control, motivation training, attitude change, depression, eating disorders, fears and phobias, memory training, nail biting, panic and performance anxiety, sexual dysfunction, sleep disorders, stuttering, study problems, trauma counselling, thumb sucking.
Dental Applications: Include anaesthesia, anxiety control, bleeding control, bruxism, dental phobias, fainting, gagging, nausea, orthodontic problems, pain control, salivation control, temporo-mandibular joint dysfunction, thumb sucking.
Other Professions: As many other professions have recently been accepted as members of ASH, their uses for hypnosis will be noted here in the future.