What is Hypnosis?

Brief history

Hypnotic or suggestive therapy is one of the oldest healing techniques documented. From the sleep temples of Egypt through to the ancient civilisations of Greece and Rome some form of hypnosis was an intimate part of these cultures.

The very word hypnosis, coined by a Scottish optometrist Dr James Braid in the 19th century, has given us an inaccurate picture for well over a century. It is derived from the Greek word hypnos, meaning sleep. But hypnosis is not a state of sleep, it is a state of deep relaxation with heighten awareness.

In the early part of the 20th Century hypnosis was used almost exclusively by stage hypnotists and unfortunately gave it a hopelessly distorted view of this very powerful therapeutic tool. However, in 1955 the British Medical Association endorsed the practice of hypnosis in Medical School education, since when it has become a very valuable addition to conventional medical treatment. Milton H. Erickson (1901-1980) and Dr William J. Bryan Jr (1924-1977) were considered by many as the two main figures in therapeutic hypnosis during this period.

What is Hypnosis?

The actual experience of hypnosis is very difficult to describe. Contrary to popular belief, hypnosis is not a state of deep sleep. It does involve the induction of a trance-like condition, but when in it, the client is actually in an enhanced state of awareness, concentrating entirely on the hypnotist’s voice. The therapist is able to suggest positive ideas, concepts and lifestyle adaptations to the client.

There is little difference between hypnosis and daydreaming, or becoming involved in a good book or television programme. It is an altered state of awareness which everyone experiences naturally. It’s that lovely feeling that one experiences just before going to sleep at night, or as you come out of sleep in the morning.

Generally, you will be aware of what is going on around you and of what the therapist is saying to you, you will remember a lot of what has happened in your session, and throughout, you are always in control. It is really important to understand that nobody can be hypnotised against their will and even when hypnotised, people can reject any suggestions that do not fit in with their own set of personal belief systems and their own personal integrity.

What is hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy means the use of hypnosis for the treatment and relief of a variety of psychological symptoms including: stress, anxiety, panic, phobias, unwanted habits and addictions (e.g. smoking, overeating and alcoholism), lack of confidence, fear of examinations, public speaking, allergies and skin disorders, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and many more. It has also been used to help pain management and develop a greater confidence in sporting and artistic performance.

With hypnotherapy it is possible to work with and transform the thoughts that lead to self-limiting beliefs. This is mainly achieved through using complete mental and physical relaxation and visualization techniques. It is vital to have the co-operation and commitment of the client to make the changes they want to make. It is completely natural and safe and there are no harmful side effects.