Thanks to TV hypnotists like Paul McKenna, hypnosis has had a bad press, as people see it as losing control, and being made to do things against their will. In a clinical setting, nothing could be further from the truth.
Hypnosis is a naturally occurring, altered state of conscious awareness. It is said that humans have two minds - the conscious (the logical, rational mind) and the unconscious (the creative mind that maintains the body and is home to emotions and memories). During hypnosis the conscious mind becomes relaxed, and that state - the hypnotic state - has been likened to the stage between sleep and wakefulness.
Hypnosis, used within a therapeutic framework, is said to be a clinically efficient avenue for focusing the mind. During that relaxed, dream like state, the unconscious mind is receptive to positive therapeutic suggestions and gives the patient ready access to unconscious inner resources in order for them to create their desired changes.
A safe and effective branch of psychotherapy, hypnotherapy has been approved for use by the British Medical Association and the American Medical Association for over 40 years.
There have been a number of research studies on the effectiveness of hypnotherapy. One such study1 involving over 100 patients experiencing stress-related conditions, found that 75% felt their symptoms were improving after 12 weeks of self-hypnosis practice. 72% of the group reported complete remission of their symptoms within one year.
Some hypnotherapists are also qualified psychotherapists, or else master NLP practitioners and/or life coaches. These therapists are able to combine a number of techniques to try and maximise the chances of the treatment being successful. A number of hypnotherapists specialise in treating people with depression.
Hypnotherapy does have the benefit that if it is to work, the effects are normally felt fairly quickly - within a three month period.
If you are considering seeing a hypnotherapist, you should make sure they have the appropriate professional qualifications and insurance.
A good website that has information on hypnotherapy and how it can be used to treat various conditions is www.angelajullings.com/hypnotherapy.asp.
Hypnosis: Clinical Application of Hypnosis in Medicine by Maher-Loughnan in the British Journal of Hospital Medicine, 1980.