By Maurice Sterndale D.Hyp, FBAMH, FBSCH
Why do many people shy away from hypnosis? For one reason only, because they don't understand what it is and therefore tend to fear it. During Hypnotherapy Awareness Week it's a good opportunity to explain to people how much hypnosis plays a role in their lives even when they are not aware of it!
The majority normal people will dip into some form of hypnotic state several times a day, typically when day dreaming or drifting off to sleep at night. The actual experience of being hypnotised is very difficult to describe, being neither asleep nor awake. The state is characterised by a pleasant state of relaxation, sometimes described as an altered state of consciousness, into which individuals allow themselves to enter, so that desired beneficial suggestions may be given directly to the unconscious mind. Thus, hypnosis is a natural, effective way of making contact with a tremendous reservoir of unrecognised potential strength and knowledge.
The hypnotic process is something that you allow yourself to take part in and not something that is imposed on you. It's a way of opening your mind to unlock your own potential in order to give yourself the best opportunity to achieve your own realistic goals.
Of course hypnosis is not a 'miracle cure' it just creates that impression every once in a while! One particular patient I treated some time ago advertised in the Manchester Evening News for some one to stop them biting their nails. She had a 50 year history of nail biting having had many visits to Accident and Emergency to have rings cut from infected fingers and had tried all the better known treatments in order to stop the habit. After one hypnosis treatment the 50 year habit had gone and the patient is now the proud owner of a nail file and is now a person who is no longer ashamed of letting her hands be seen in public .
Another was a young man who used to bandage himself at night to stop him scratching his Psoriasis, he would stay covered to avoid comments and had absolutely no confidence as he perceived himself to be faulty and worthless. After a few treatments that equipped him with the resources that he needed, his symptoms had reduced drastically, he went on a training course to get a better job, two months later a girlfriend appeared on the scene and eventually they got engaged.
In the early part of the 20th century hypnosis was used almost exclusively by stage hypnotists, thereby projecting a distorted view of this powerful therapeutic tool. However in 1955 the British Medical Association endorsed the practice of hypnosis in medical school education and since then it has become a valuable addition to conventional medical treatment.
Withington hospital in Manchester very successfully utilises hypnosis by a combination of relaxation and visualisation in the treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) which is often exacerbated by stress and anxiety.
The two areas that most people associate with hypnosis are breaking the smoking habit and weight loss but modern day hypnotherapists use hypnosis for the treatment and relief of over 300 different conditions ranging from phobias, panic attacks, stress, anxiety, exam nerves, insomnia and all the way through to painless childbirth. sporting performance, pain control and skin disorders, etc.
Hypnotherapy Awareness is about highlighting the use of hypnosis and explaining some of its positive benefits. If anyone would like more information either about hypnotherapy treatment or training to be a hypnotherapist, I would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have and I can be contacted on 01457 874752