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Applications of Hypnotherapy

1607 words (6 pages) Essay in Psychology

08/02/20 Psychology Reference this

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 Hypnotherapy is a form of CAM therapy that uses hypnosis as a therapeutic technique. Hypnotherapy is usually practiced in a hospital, physician’s office, or even private practice. Before a hypnotherapist performs hypnosis on their patient, they must have the patient’s consent. When initiating hypnotherapy, it begins with a general one-on-one conversation involving questions from the therapist in order to find out the cause of the patient’s issue regarding their visit, along with the appropriate method of coping with that particular issue. After figuring out the cause of the issue and an appropriate coping method, the hypnosis process begins (“A Hypnotherapists Job is to Help People,” 2018).

 During hypnosis, the therapist uses a soothing voice that assists the patient in becoming very relaxed and “asleep”. The patient is not actually found to be asleep, but is rather found to be awake enough to know what is going on. The therapists’ purpose here is to ”keep awake” the areas of the brain that help the patient visualize what the therapist is saying along with pleasant feelings that are associated (“A Hypnotherapists Job is to Help People,” 2018).

 Together, the patient and the therapist will make the decision on how often they will meet. Depending on the reason the patient is seeing the therapist, will also determine how many sessions of hypnotherapy is needed. The frequency of the visits can either decrease or increase depending on how the patient feels the sessions are going. The length of each session depends on what the patient is seeking a hypnotherapist for. Generally, hypnotherapy sessions last at least an hour but, in some circumstances, the session may last longer depending on the severity of the issue. For example, people that want to stop smoking may only require a single, one to two hour session. Other issues that the patient may seek help for such as insomnia, losing weight, or stress management may require a regular weekly session until the problem improves or subsides altogether (“Frequently Asked Questions,” 2018).

 Various types of equipment are used in the practice of hypnotherapy. First and foremost, a specially designed chair is designed to help patients get comfortable and relax. Hypnotherapists also use light and sound stimulation to arouse brain activity in the patient.  Special gauges are also used to check the depth of the patient’s trance. Lastly, hypnotherapists also use various other gadgets that are compatible with computer programs. In addition to these types of equipment, audio books and CD’s are other forms of useful tools.  (Hinton & McKenzie, 2009)

 The history of hypnosis can be traced back to the beginning of humanity because hypnosis is seen as a universal human trait. In the 1700s, an Australian physician named Franz Mesmer began the modern day hypnotherapy. When Mesmer performed his practice of hypnotherapy, he had primarily used psychiatric patients. Mesmer’s work was very influential to other people and was restudied in the 19th century by two British surgeons named John Elliotson and James Esdaille. Another important man, who was a physician, is James Braid. James Braid is known as the “father of hypnosis”. He came up with the term “hypnosis”. In fact, the term “hypnosis” comes from the Greek word for “sleep”, which is known as “hypnos”. A man by the name of Milton H. Erickson is seen as a very important person in relation to modern day hypnotherapy. Milton Erickson started the practice of indirect hypnosis. Indirect hypnosis is “the subtle language patterns designed to shift a patient’s perception of themselves and their problems, without necessarily resorting to formal, eyes-closed inductions”. Milton wanted people he practiced on, to believe that for his work to be effective, hypnotherapy to the individual needed to mean something important to them. In today’s world, the work of Erickson has paved the way for current hypnotherapists. Though the methods of the 19th and 20th century may have been slower than today’s methods, they both have the same goal; that goal is to bring healing and change to the patient. (Walkin, 2015)

 When training to become a professional hypnotherapist, it is important that you have 50 or more hours of classroom time. Hypnosis classes alone make up at least 18 of the 50 hours required. The 18 credited hours of class time includes hands-on practice of hypnosis. Having 18 hours of hands-on practice is important for reaching the 50 hour requirement that is needed to complete the training process (“Certification Requirements,” 2017).

 There are many benefits to hypnotherapy. Some examples are smoking cessation, weight loss, insomnia, memory, motivation, depression, self-confidence, stress management, relationships, wealth, phobias, and promoting general health. In the case of someone who wants to lose weight, hypnotherapy is actually seen to be more beneficial than just going on a diet. Hypnosis is not affective for everyone, but for those that it does affect, it is known to boost a person’s confidence and motivation to want to lose the weight they desire. The use of hypnotherapy is not only used to necessarily lose the weight, but it also lends a hand for those who have a habit of overeating. The effect of hypnotherapy takes away the cravings for extra food seen as unnecessary (“Benefits of Hypnotherapy & Hypnosis,” 2014).

 Weight loss is a major reason why people seek hypnotherapists, but it is not the only reason. People who are experiencing certain addictions can also benefit from hypnotherapy. People can be addicted to various things like drugs, smoking, food, or even alcohol. The way hypnotherapy can help treat someone with an addiction is that it helps boost the patients confidence, which in turn, will help them break the cycle of their addiction and keep them from relapsing. Hypnotherapy helps the patient take back control of their lives so that they can make the right choices moving forward (“Benefits of Hypnotherapy & Hypnosis,” 2014).

 Negative outcomes associated with hypnotherapy include dizziness, nausea, upset stomach, abdominal cramping, fatigue, and false memories. Subconsciously, hypnosis puts the patient in a relaxed state, but it can leave feeling dizzy as you start to wake up after their session. Some patients have experienced nausea after a session. Experts believe, “it’s the body’s defense mechanism that’s kicking in”. Although rare, some patients can even experience an upset stomach and abdominal cramping. Normally, patients should wake up from hypnosis sessions feeling refreshed, although some have reported feeling fatigue when they woke up due to hypnosis pushing your mind to confront distressing past experiences. One of the more serious negative outcomes of hypnotherapy is that it can cause false memories. Although false memories can be seen as troubling, it can also be seen as a positive outcome by helping a person overcome a painful experience (“Negative Effects of Hypnosis- Essay and Speech,” 2018).

 Hypnotherapy is contraindicated in people who have Schizophrenia, pathological personalities, alcohol/drug psychosis, senility, epilepsy or narcolepsy, bi-polar disorder, those exhibiting suicidal thoughts, and those with serious heart conditions. The main reason for contraindication in using hypnotherapy with these patients is that the therapist would not be able to interact with them or establish an effective relationship. Pregnancy is also listed as a contraindication because it is not recommended during the first trimester. Although contraindicated, it can be beneficial for effective pain management and relaxation following the first trimester (“Contraindications for Hypnotherapy,” 2018).

There are some residents who live in long-term care facilities that experience chronic pain due to any number of physical ailments. For example, a patient suffering from spinal stenosis of the lumbosacral region could benefit from hypnosis because it is known that it can help manage chronic pain by prolonging the time between each occurrence which comforts the patient and alleviates their pain for as long as possible. Hypnotherapy is a great substitute for those who choose to not rely on pain medications on a regular basis. Overall, hypnotherapy can be very beneficial in the treatment of problems for which people may suffer from. 

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