Hypnotherapy For Dummies
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Hypnotherapy For Dummies

Mike Bryant, Peter Mabbutt

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eBook - ePub

Hypnotherapy For Dummies

Mike Bryant, Peter Mabbutt

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An easy-to-follow, reassuring and responsible guide that shows how you can use hypnotherapy to identify and overcome unhealthy modes of thinking, deal with emotional issues, improve performance, and banish bad habits. Whether you're seeking to overcome anxiety or depression, improve your performance professionally or personally, lose weight or beat an addiction, hypnotherapy can help you make the changes you want.

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Part I

Understanding Hypnotherapy

In this part . . .
You find some helpful background information in this part to help you to understand how hypnotherapy works. This part also looks at the terms used in hypnotherapy, the basics of how it works, and what hypnotherapy is used for. You even find a very brief history of hypnosis and hypnotherapy included in this part.
If you want to know exactly what a hypnotherapist does, we describe the techniques and procedures used in a typical hypnotherapy session. In other words, this part is a great place to start if you’re new to hypnotherapy.
Chapter 1

Examining Hypnotherapy

In This Chapter

Understanding the terms
Realising the evolution of hypnosis
Looking to hypnosis for help
Distinguishing the therapeutic aspects
Hypnosis is a powerful technique. It can help you change negative beliefs and achieve your goals, treat serious emotional problems, and alleviate a range of medical conditions.
You may hear about a work colleague who was cured of smoking in a single session, or a friend of a friend whose lifelong phobia was permanently removed by a hypnotherapist. A hypnotherapist can also show you how to practise self-hypnosis in order to achieve a seemingly infinite variety of personal goals.
This chapter explains what hypnosis and hypnotherapy are about. It gives you a clear understanding of what is involved, the difference between hypnosis and hypnotherapy, and some of the amazing benefits possible.

Getting to Grips with the Basics of Hypnotherapy

First things first. We want to reassure you right up front that hypnosis is safe.
Being hypnotised is not dissimilar to being sleepy or in a daydream. And, as we explain in the ‘Sliding into trance’ subsection, you’ve been in a trance probably every day of your life; hypnotherapy is simply a method of putting your trance state to work solving your problems.
When you’re in a hypnotic trance, you are completely aware of the words being spoken to you by the hypnotherapist. And, should a fire alarm go off – or any other physically threatening situation arise – you will immediately take yourself out of trance to respond.
Hypnosis carries an element of risk as do all therapies and activities. But, as long as your hypnotherapist is properly qualified, and operates within a professional code of conduct and ethics (which we discuss in Chapter 12), you needn’t worry.
In the following subsections, we sort out the jargon and the basic terms used in hypnotherapy.

Discovering the differences between hypnosis and hypnotherapy

The first useful thing to distinguish is the difference between hypnosis and hypnotherapy. We really want you to understand that there is a big difference between the act of hypnotising someone (hypnosis) and the amazing changes that can happen with the help of a qualified hypnotherapist (hypnotherapy). We hope that after you read this section you will never confuse a stage hypnotist (the person you see getting laughs on TV) with a hypnotherapist (the person who helps you stop smoking, lose weight, or recover from a life-long phobia).
Hypnosis is a state of mind connected to deep relaxation, narrowed focus, and increased suggestibility. Hypnosis is an intermediate state between sleep and wakefulness.
Hypnosis can be likened to the state you are in when you act intuitively instead of intellectually. During hypnosis, you basically ask your inner drill sergeant to take a break while your clever, artistic self comes forward. And believe us, everybody has both aspects within them!
Hypnotherapy is hypnosis used for therapeutic purposes. Hypnotherapy applies the technique of hypnosis to encourage your unconscious mind to find solutions to problems.
Hypnosis is a state of consciousness. Hypnotherapy is a therapy. Hypnosis itself is not therapy. The therapy part of a hypnotherapy session occurs after hypnosis has been used to induce your trance. Then the hypnotherapist makes suggestions that help your unconscious mind achieve your goals or remove your problems. Just as there are many avenues to hypnosis, including self-hypnosis and self-induced trances (see the next section), there are many different hypnotherapy techniques and applications. (Chapter 2 talks about the range of hypnotherapy tools.)

Stage hypnosis is not hypnotherapy

Stage hypnosis is a form of entertainment. It is not a way to receive help for your problems or to achieve your aspirations. We do not recommend that you become personally involved in stage hypnosis as there is no personal care for your individual needs. It’s a stage act where the main aim is to get laughs – at your expense if you get on stage!
Many, many people get involved in stage hypnosis with no bad after-effects. However, some former stage participants have suffered emotional problems afterwards. This is an area of great debate as to whether these people were already predisposed to emotional problems, or if stage hypnosis had a negative influence.
An interesting book that involves a critical look at stage hypnosis is Investigating Stage Hypnosis by Tracie O’Keefe and Katrina Fox (Extraordinary People Press).

Sliding into trance

Trance is a state of mind that involves a selective focus of attention. You are in a natural trance state several times each day, usually when you’re relaxing.
Examples of times you may slip into a trance include:
Being fully involved in reading a book
Going window shopping at your favourite stores
Becoming anxious or fearful about an upcoming event
Playing with an imaginary friend as a child
Zoning out while exercising
Fantasising about an old love interest
Trance states occur naturally and regularly. Hypnosis utilises these states to access your unconscious mind (see the next section) in order to help you more easily achieve your goal or solve your problem.
The following are the main trance states, and some of the traits a hypnotised person may experience while in each state, listed from light to deep levels:
Light trance: Eyes closed, relaxed face muscles, deepened breathing.
Medium trance: Head and body slump, reduced awareness of surroundings, slower responses, deepening of light trance state.
Deep trance: Deepening of medium trance state, deeper abdominal breathing.
Somnambulism: A very rare trance state in which a hypnotised person may experience sensations as if awak...


  1. Title
  2. Contents
  3. Introduction
  4. Part I : Understanding Hypnotherapy
  5. Part II : Considering How Hypnotherapy Can Help
  6. Part III : Expanding the Reach of Hypnotherapy
  7. Part IV : The Practical Stuff
  8. Part V : The Part of Tens
  9. : Further Reading