When something new happens to us whether the experience is positive or negative, we remember it and learn a particular behaviour in response to that circumstance. Memories stored in our brains hold the original physical and emotional reactions that occurred when the given memory was first formed. Each time similar events occur again, the physical and emotional reactions attached to the memory are repeated. These reactions may be inappropriate or unhealthy. In some forms of hypnotherapy, the trained therapist guides you to remember the event that led to the first reaction, seperate the memory from the learned behaviour, and reconstruct the event with new, healthier associations.
During hypnosis, a person`s body relaxes while their thoughts become more focused and attentive. Like other relaxation techniques, hypnosis decreases blood pressure and heart rate, and alters certain types of brain wave activity. In this relaxed state, a person will feel at ease physically yet fully awake mentally. In this state of deep concentration people are highly responsive to suggestion. If you are trying to quit smoking, for example, a therapist`s suggestion may successfully convince you that in the future you will have a strong dislike for the taste of cigarettes.
The History of Counselling.
In the 18th century an Austrian phsician named Franz Anton Mesmer discovered animal magnetism (more information concerning Mesmer in the “History of Hypnotherapy” section of my site). James Braid studied Mesmers theory and developed hypnotherapy from Mesmers concepts. Sigmund Freud became interested in the benefits of hypnotherapy and utilized this technique during his early years as a therapist in Vienna.
Freud`s reseach into the human mind began in 1881. Trained as a neurologist, he set up his own practice in 1886. By 1896 he had developed a method of working with hysterical patients which he called `psychoanalysis`. This method of assisting patients was based more on conscious communication than hypnosis. During this time span Freud incorporated less hypnotherapy and more psychoanalysis techniques for which he became internationally recognised. Other well known therapists from that period had training from Freud before becoming well respected psychoanalystis in their own right, Alfred Adler, Snador Ferencze, Karl Abraham and Otto Rank were among those well published therapists.
The history of hypnotherapy dates back as far as recorded history. It has been practiced all over the world. Healers, sharmen, witchdoctors, wise women, tribal doctors, Hindu fakirs, Indian yogi and Persian magi have all practiced forms of hypnotherapy, although it was known under many different names. It has been recognised through time that there is a strong mind-body connection, and that health and healing, removal of negative feelings and phobias, general well being and performance enhancement can be attributed to hypnotherapy throughout the ages.
The Egyptians were utilizing the healing method of `incubation`, or `temple sleep` as early as 3,000 B.C. The priests considered the `sleep` to have special healing powers and that the person in the sleep was in an enlightened state. The Temples of Imhotep were popular for `sleep therapy` and `shrine sleep` which is still found in some areas of Africa and the Middle East.
Similarly, the Hebrews utilized breathing exercises, chanting and meditation to produce an `ecstasy like state` which they called Kavanah. Their practices were similar to what we now know as `self hypnosis`.
Hypnosis is in fact a natural state experienced by all humans.
People undergo a “trance state” often. Have you ever been driving in a familiar area and become aware that you don`t really remember driving the distance? Perhaps you have been watching T.V. and realize you no longer understand what has happened within the plot, or reading a book to find you are just staring at a fuzzy page. Maybe you sat and looked in the distance and time seems to have disappeared. These are all simple examples of natural hypnosis.
Clinical hypnotherapy is really an assisted trance state conducted to improve the clients well being.
The client is gently guided into a relaxed state by the hypnotherapist speaking slowly in monotones. However, conditioned clients are people who have been previously hypnotized and they do not always require the relaxation induction. The therapist enlists the clients imagination and may utilize an array of techniques such as story telling, metaphor or symbolism (that are meaningful to the individual client and the issue) to direct suggestions for changes in feelings and beliefs. During hypnosis, counselling techniques are a valuable tool to uncover problems the client is only aware of at a subconscious level. Unresolved issues from the clients past may be uncovered and then dealt with by the appropriate technique which may include, suggestion therapy, parts therapy or regression therapy.
Q. Which is better, hypnotherapy or counselling?
A. Both are wonderful techniques for improving quality of life. Some people are more comfortable with one technique than the other. This is why I utilize both, I believe I offer the best possible methods for clients to attain their goals. I always discuss the options for clients in the early part of the initial consultation.
Q. When I am hypnotized, will you make me do silly things?
A. No, you are always in control of your actions and your values. During hypnotherapy, the client is in a deeper sense of awareness. You will not do, say or believe any thing that is not congruent with your values and moral code.