A Bit of History:
The term ‘hypnosis’ was first coined around 1842 by Scottish born physician Dr. James Braid, who concluded that the phenomena was a form of sleep. Because of this he named the phenomena after Hypnos, the Greek god of sleep.
By 1847 he discovered that his term ‘hypnosis’ had been a mistake because all the major phenomena of hypnotism such as catalepsy, anesthesia and amnesia, could be induced without sleep. So he tried to rename it but the terms “Hypnosis” and “Hypnotism” had already become widely adopted as part of all the major European languages.
But of course trance has been a natural part of human experience for thousands of years. Shamans have used drumming and chanting to induce altered states in themselves and their patients throughout recorded history.
In the mid 1900’s, Hypnotherapy gained acceptance due to people like Milton Erickson, a very successful Psychiatrist who used hypnotherapy in the treatment of his patients, and a notable contemporary of his, Dave Elman, who taught hypnotic techniques to Doctors and Dentists.
In 1958, the American Medical Association, followed two years later by the American Psychological Association, recognized Hypnosis as a valid medical procedure and branch of Psychology. Since 1995, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has recommended hypnotherapy as a treatment for chronic pain.
What is a ‘Trance’ State?
Trance is simply a state of physical relaxation and internal focus and awareness: In trance, a person is much more aware of their thoughts, feelings, and beliefs because when the body relaxes, the nervous system switches from sympathetic dominance to parasympathetic. This allows the brainwaves to slow down from typically frantic Beta to the more aware, more relaxed Alpha. It’s a natural state that feels physically and emotionally calming and relaxing. It is Not being unconscious, rather it facilitates access to the contents and capabilities of the Subconscious inner mind.
In Alpha brainwaves, where most so called Trance work occurs, a person has access to the memories in
their Subconscious, which contains the record of everything they experience, including their assumptions and beliefs, and all the emotions which are attached to those memories.
This means having direct access to the limiting ideas and beliefs which keep people locked into unhappy and unsatisfying experiences. Something to understand is that whatever you have access to, can be changed for the better. Also in the Subconscious, (Alpha & Theta Brainwaves) a person has much greater access to their imagination, and their ability to envision positive behaviors and responses for themselves, as well as more positive outcomes and experiences. This gives people the ability to move towards a better future and take appropriate action to create that future.
How does Hypnotherapy work?
The basic idea is to change undesirable behaviors and responses by directly putting positive new ideas into the Client’s mind: This is done in order to generate new thoughts, feelings and behavior, or to uncover the source of negative behaviors and responses, in order to convert the negatives into positive changes.
Since most of our beliefs about ourselves and the world were formed (or adopted) somewhere before the age of 10, most of us are operating from a belief system that limits us because it’s so out of date. Many of the beliefs we hold are not only inaccurate, they remain unexamined because they operate in the background and we just take for granted that, “that’s just the way life is,” etc. Because of this, our emotional reactions are sometimes childish, out of proportion to actual events, or just not warranted in certain situations, but we’re unable to consciously change them for the better.
That’s because beliefs and the emotions connected to them, are in the Subconscious, which is not susceptible to the dictates of the Conscious mind. In fact the beliefs in the Subconscious determine how we act and respond to things in our lives. This is why it’s so hard to consciously change certain behaviors; because the conscious mind has little control over any behaviors which the Subconscious believes are beneficial in some way, even if that is not actually true.
In Hypnotherapy we access the Subconscious mind through trance, so that we can work at the level of mind where the real changes need to occur. Hypnotherapy and NLP both have powerful tools for replacing negative beliefs and emotional reactions with useful and positive beliefs and emotional responses and behaviors.
What is Regression and how does that work?
‘Regression Therapy,’ is a means of finding the cause of negative behaviors and emotional responses: This requires guiding the Client ‘back in time’ to locate the origin points of limiting beliefs, ideas and decisions. This type of work is said to uncover information from childhood experiences and sometimes also from the Natal period and even potential influences from ‘Past Life’ as well.
Working in this way requires the Hypnotherapist and Client to explore the story of what happened in the past, in order to understand how the interpretation of past events now creates problems in the person’s life.
Once the Cause is understood it can be addressed through guiding the Client to re-examine the ideas and beliefs they adopted during those events, or as a consequence of those events. Sometimes it’s also useful to help a Client express and release whatever emotions are present in these past events so that they can let go of all that, to move forward with a more positive and realistic mindset. Letting go of the old emotions often makes it a lot easier to let go of old ways of thinking, which is then replaced by more accurate and positive ideas which make sense in the context of the Client’s adult life. The new way of thinking, acting and responding to life is usually then strengthened by another major tool of traditional Hypnotherapy referred to as “Suggestion Therapy.”
This consists of using positive statements that are often a direct inverse of the negative thoughts and ideas held by the Client. These statements are read several times to the Client while they are in a receptive state of hypnosis, (Typically Alpha or Theta brainwaves) which ‘plants a seed’ in the mind of the Client, but the statements must be reinforced in order to be fully adopted by the mind and integrated into their normal thinking.
To achieve the necessary saturation of new ideas, the Client is assigned the task of listening to a self-hypnosis recording of those statements, every day for 30 to 60 days in a row. Or, the Client may be asked to write all of the statements several times a day for the same duration, or read them out loud just before going to bed. Doing this for the period of a month is intended to literally saturate the mind with positive new ideas until that full acceptance and integration occurs.
How many Sessions does it take to get results?
It’s different each time, because some goals are easier to achieve than others, and some issues are more or less complex: Because of the individual differences in issues and goals, and the differences between people, any given issue or goal may require fewer or more Sessions to complete.
Many Phobias and fears can be cleared in a single Session or a few. Many Allergies can also be cleared in a single or just a few Sessions, whereas Smoking Cessation often requires 3 Sessions.
Weight loss tends to depend on the amount of weight needing to be let go of. Larger amounts equal more long-term goals, and they often require several Sessions. I offer blocks of 3 Sessions for a reduced rate, as that’s often sufficient to create a significant difference for someone.