What is hypnosis?

Posted: Sunday, November 21, 2010

Most everyone has heard of hypnosis to stop smoking or lose weight. These two programs may even be tax deductible (see IRS Publication 502). Some may also know about its use for pain or stress management, but there are many other hypnosis applications, including phobias, self-confidence, sports performance, depression, insomnia, concentration, relationships and regression therapy. Hypnosis for therapeutic purposes, or hypnotherapy, can benefit aspects of your personal, work, family or recreational life.

Hypnosis is a state of heightened suggestibility particularly to the subconscious mind. It is there that old patterns and behaviors reside and where a person receives the desired positive suggestions related to his/her self-improvement goals. A myth about hypnotherapy is that the client loses control while in the hypnotic state; however, there is not a complete loss in awareness. If a suggestion was not in alignment with the client's improvement goal, it would be rejected by the subconscious mind. That is why the hypnotherapist/client consultation is important to find out about you and your goals. From this information, the script (set of suggestions) is more tailored to you, becomes more personal and is thus readily accepted by the subconscious mind. Different visualization and therapeutic techniques may also be incorporated into the session.

Can I be hypnotized? Yes, if you've ever been engrossed in a book, movie or project with such focus you didn't hear the doorbell, telephone or your name called. Being deeply absorbed in something and/or losing track of time are both indications of hypnosis. If you still think you can't be hypnotized, Juneau Hypnosis Center can use brainwave specific sound technology to further induce hypnosis.

Used alone as brainwave entrainment, sound and visuals together can be targeted for motivation, attention deficit or relaxation. Measured by an electroencephalogram (EEG), brain waves range from low to high as delta, theta, alpha, beta and on up to gamma. Dreamless sleeping is in the delta range, wherein the high beta range may be an anxious state. If someone in high-beta needs to relax, alpha frequency sound waves might be applied. If stuck in the low theta range (unmotivated), higher frequencies would be used.

Even though hypnosis is a serious therapeutic modality, it is also a pleasant and calming experience for which you'll be delighted when you realize that it can help you transform yourself for the better.

• William Stark, CHt, is a certified Clinical Hypnotherapist.

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