What is Hypnosis?

What exactly is clinical hypnosis?  Clinical hypnosis is a therapeutic modality. While definitions may vary, hypnosis is described as a state of inner absorption, focused attention and heightened concentration.  Perhaps it is helpful to think of it like using a flashlight to direct a beam of light on a specific spot so you can see more clearly and find your way more easily or think about a photograph taken with a high-powered lens and the clarity achieved in little details.  Similarly, when in a hypnotic state our minds are focused in a concentrated fashion. This heightened focus of attention allows us to use our minds more powerfully.  

Hypnosis is a cooperative interaction between the subject of hypnosis and the hypnotist in which the person responds to the suggestion and direction of the hypnotist more easily when in a state of hypnosis or trance state.   Hypnosis helps avoid the critical censor of the conscious mind, which often defeats what we know to be in our best interests.  The effectiveness of hypnosis appears to lie in the way in which it bypasses the critical observation and interference of the conscious mind, allowing the subject’s intentions for change to take effect more easily.  Learning self-hypnosis can be a very helpful tool as it allows individuals to utilize more of the potential power of their mind.

Healthcare practitioners use hypnosis along with other tools in their profession. Practitioners use clinical hypnosis in a variety of ways. There are three common applications.

  • The use of imagination. The mind is capable of using imagery, even if it is only symbolic, to assist us in bringing about the things we are imagining.
  • Presenting ideas while in a state of hypnotic trance. In a state of concentrated attention, ideas and suggestions that are compatible with what the patient wants to achieve seem to have a more powerful impact on the mind, thus on manifesting desired changes.
  • Unconscious exploration enables a better understanding of underlying motivations, and provides insight into barriers or experiences that are associated with causing a problem.

Recently, research supports the view that hypnotic communication and suggestions effectively changes aspects of the person’s physiological and neurological functions.

Hypnosis is most beneficial, optimally effective, when the hypnotherapist is both well trained in hypnosis and versed in general consideration of the problem area.  Additionally, a client or patient needs to be highly motivated to overcome a problem to support the changes and receive the suggestions. Some individuals seem to have a higher native hypnotic talent and capacity that may allow them to benefit more readily from hypnosis. 


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Demonstrations of Hypnosis


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