Hypnotherapy refers to what is traditionally conceptualized as the treatment of a patient that is in a trance-like state. The trance state is facilitated by the therapist and then the necessary work (emotional and biological) is done in the hypnotic state.
Developments in die the field of Hypnosis found that the trance-like state is something which occurs naturally and everyday for every person (given that there is no organic brain disorder) and is a state that every person can access and accesses every day in anyway. With this in mind, the therapist’s role is simply to learn the individual how to access the state on their own if they wish to learn and how to utilize the state for healing.
Hypnosis is a psychological approach consisting of various techniques to address psychological and physiological complaints. Hypnotherapy is used in a number of clinical fields including psychotherapy, medicine, dentistry, surgery and research. Hypnotherapy is used as an alternative treatment modality for a variety of health conditions including: stress management, body dysmorphia, phobia elimination, extreme anxiety, weight control, smoking cessation and pain management (headaches and migraines, joint pain and arthritis, musculoskeletal disorders, facial neuralgia, burns and childbirth) amongst others. Hypnotherapy is has been proofed to be an alternative treatment for anaesthesia in patients allergic to general anaesthetic drugs.
Hypnotherapy has also been shown to help enhance performance and participation on the sport field, in the classroom and working environment by optimising self-esteem, concentrating, attention, memory and helping to remove mental blocks about particular subjects (e.g. procrastination, poor decision making, impulsivity and fears).
A client that makes contact with the therapist requesting hypnosis, is invited to a session to share his/her difficulty and the need to utilize hypnosis to address the difficulty. Hypnosis as an approach to psychotherapy, is but one way to address various psychological presenting difficulties and the therapist decides, just like in utilizing any other therapeutic approaches, if hypnosis will assist the client efficiently in resolving the presenting complaint. If hypnosis is indicted, the process of hypnosis is discussed and the client has the opportunity to address any queries or concerns about the process before the process is initiated.
It should be pointed out that hypnosis, although beneficial in many ways, is not a quick fix to take symptoms away or change habits in an instant. Symptomatic behaviour resulted from psychological factors over time and should be thoroughly addressed in order to ensure the necessary change is affected. Thus, if another treatment modality is indicated to address the presenting complaint the therapist will indicate this to the client and give a thorough explanation to the reasoning. The inverse is also true, in the case that a client present with a difficulty and hypnosis is indicated, the process of hypnosis is thoroughly discussed and any concerns addressed and if the client consents, the process is initiated. Ethically the therapist acts within what is in the best interest of the client and if concerns about the hypnotic process is of such a nature that is will influence the therapeutic gain, other approaches can be utilized.
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