PEOPLE EITHER POO-POO HYPNOSIS OR THEY HAVE AN OPEN MIND TO EXPLORING ITS POSSIBILITIES.
And that is what hypnosis is about—possibilities.
FIRST, WHAT IS IT?
Hypnosis is simply a way of reverting from an external, outward focus to an internal, inward focus. You are disengaging from your busy conscious mind while you slow your thoughts enough to work on a change you wish to make. It creates a heightened state of focus that allows non-conscious solutions to surface.
Hypnosis is purposeful.
Hypnosis is goal oriented.
Hypnosis is not meditation. Hypnosis is not progressive relaxation. Hypnosis is not mind control. Well, except for the fact that you are exerting mindful control by placing your attention more purposefully on an issue than you do in your normal state. You are taking the time to slow down and reach inside for the solutions that are already there. For that reason, hypnosis is often a faster, deeper route to problem solving than other methods.
SECOND, WHAT IS IT BEST USED FOR?
Hypnosis may be used to change health habits, calm anxiety, control migraines, treat insomnia, or reduce phobias. It is for situations that you have no direct control over, such as panic. I cannot ask you to “Have a panic attack, right now.’’ You couldn’t, as panic attacks come on unbidden. The same with migraines. You have no conscious control over them. They aren’t planned and they certainly aren’t a choice. Anyone who suffers from them will agree with that.
WHY IS HYPNOSIS PARTICULARLY HELPFUL WITH PANIC?
Because anxious people are already in the habit of vigilance. They are always telling themselves, unconsciously and via longstanding habit, to be on guard, to seek certainty, to endlessly “What if” themselves into the singular focus of worry as a method of prevention.
The paradox is present. By endlessly worrying, you deepen the neural pathway of fear. It becomes a habit, automatic and etched deeply in your brain. And the pattern must be gradually redirected to create a new, healthier mindset, a new neural pathway, to reduce the suffering.
WHERE’S THE EVIDENCE THAT THIS IS A VIABLE TREATMENT MODE?
There is a lot of research on hypnosis that finds it effective for a number of areas. You can look it up at these links as well as check out Google Scholar if it interests you further.
NCBI: New uses of hypnosis in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.
NCBI: The Role of Suggestions in Hypnosis for Chronic Pain: A Review of the Literature
Mayo Clinic: Hypnosis in Contemporary Medicine
American Psychological Association: Hypnosis today