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Where Did Hypnosis Come From, Why Use It and What To Expect
Have you tried hypnosis before? NO, then let me tell you a little about hypnosis and what you can expect to experience, just to put your mind at rest and help you get the most from this amazingly powerful form of help.
At first, there are many misunderstandings about hypnosis and I will bring up some of the most common misunderstandings. The most frequent misunderstanding is that hypnosis would be some kind of sleep. You will not sleep during the sessions. Even though the word “hypnosis” comes from the Greek word “hypnos” which means sleep – you will not be sleeping. You may be aware of everything I say during the session and that’s OK because you are still in hypnosis. In some instances you may be able to respond, and in some cases I may wish for you to provide me with predetermined signals, or a verbal response. Yet, again, I stress that even though you may be aware of everything you say during the session, you can be assured that you are under hypnosis.
If you do completely relax and fall asleep during the session it isn’t a problem. You are in a safe place and will not miss anything from the session. And there is no need to worry about not waking up. This cannot happen. Less than 10% of the population achieves such a deep trance state that they disassociate or “black out” like they do when they receive anaesthesia. Such people are called “somnambulists” and they do not consciously remember what happens during hypnosis unless the hypnotist suggests that they will. However, even these people will wake up at the end of a session.Your hearing acts like a surveillance camera, which stays alert to protect both you and your offspring. Just think of when a mother is “asleep” and hears her baby cry, she wakes up immediately. If someone breaks into your home while you are “asleep,” you will be alerted as soon as you hear a noise. Your hearing is “on” 24/7, taking in information and recording it. In hypnosis, we use this to your advantage, so even if you fall “asleep” during the session, your brain is still recording all of the information in your subconscious mind.
The history of hypnosis is fascinating, but very long and detailed, so allow me to give you the basic version so you can appreciate where hypnosis came from and why hypnosis is so successful, beneficial and safe for us to use.
Hypnosis is at least more than 6,000 years old, and some say it could be older. The Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Indians, Chinese, Persians and Sumerians all studied hypnosis and altered states of consciousness. Between the 9th and 14th centuries a deep understanding of human psychology was achieved and therapeutic processes such as analysis, altered states of consciousness and hypnosis were used to alleviate emotional distress and suffering. This came before psychotherapy and hypnotherapy as we know them today. From the 15th and 16th centuries onwards physicians across the world developed and refined the concept of hypnosis and its uses.
In the 18th century the most influential figure in the development of hypnosis was an Austrian physician called Dr Frantz Anton Mesmer. Mesmer used magnets and metal frames to perform “passes” over the patient to remove “blockages” (i.e.: the causes of diseases) in the magnetic forces in the body and to induce a trance-like state. Mesmer soon achieved equally successful results by passing his hands over the patient, and he named this method “animal magnetism”. Sadly because his healing sessions were so theatrical and held in front of the public and medical practitioners, his work was ridiculed and his tangible results ignored. However his name survived and entered our vocabulary as the verb “mesmerise”.
Mesmer died in 1815, but a student of his named Armand de Puysegur took Mesmer’s work one step further. He discovered that the spoken word and direct commands induced trance easily and noticeably faster than Mesmer’s “passes”, and that a person could be operated upon without pain and anaesthesia when in trance.
The earliest medically recognized record for surgery under trance was by the English Dr James Esdaile, who performed his first operation without anaestheticin India and reached an incredible tally of 300 major operations and a thousand minor operations using hypnosis or mesmerism as it was still called at the time.
The next progression for hypnosis came from a Scottish optician named Dr James Braid. He discovered by accident that a person focusing on an object could easily reach a trance state without the help of “Mesmeric passes”. In 1841 he published his findings and inaccurately named his discovery “hypnotism” based on the Greek word “hypnos” which means, “sleep”. This is a misleading name as hypnosis is not sleep, and you will remember that although you may be aware of everything I say during the session that’s OK because you are still in hypnosis.
In 1891 the British Medical Association voted in favour of the use of hypnosis in medicine but it was not approved until 1955, 64 years later! It was then that The American Medical Association took notice of patient that underwent a Thyroidectomy, or the surgical removal of the thyroid, without anaesthesia. The only aid for pain reduction was hypnosis. As demonstrated in the thyroid surgery, blocking pain is one of the effective and practical uses for hypnosis. Weight control, cigarette smoking addiction, motivation to exercise, improving study habits, controlling nervous habits, and developing a healthy self-esteem are but a few of the conditions that can be influenced, with positive results, through therapeutic hypnosis.
Now let me put some of your possible concerns to rest and to remove some questions you may have from your mind.
Hypnosis can only occur if you want it to. You can only be hypnotised if you allow it. I cannot just approach you and hypnotise you without you knowing about it allowing it. This means that hypnosis is safe for everyone that wants to use it to help with and more!
Hypnosis is not some form of mystical mind control that robs you of your will or ability to make informed choices. Hypnosis is an altered state of awareness, that makes you more susceptible to suggestions and directions that are intended to assist you in making positive behavioural and physical changes in things like weight control, cigarette smoking addiction, motivation to exercise, improving study habits, controlling nervous habits and developing a healthy self-esteem. It is just one of many methods of therapy that can help in a wide variety ways, for a vast number of behavioural and physical problems.
Hypnosis is not a form of mind control. YOU are always in control. If I make an unwelcome, inappropriate or destructive suggestion, your mind will reject it and you will become fully alert. Under hypnosis you cannot be forced into doing anything against your will or your moral code. If anything happens during the session that needs your immediate attention you will still be able to deal with it. Just count “ONE-TWO-THREE” mentally and you’ll be fully awake, or simply just open your eyes.
During your hypnosis session you may not think that you are in a trance, but you will be able to sense your focus narrow and your breathing slow as you begin to relax and enter the Alpha state. Alpha is a level of consciousness or a trance, which is one level below being wide-awake or fully conscious, known as the Beta state of consciousness. In the Alpha state you may become up to two hundred times more susceptible to suggestion and direction as a person in full consciousness, or the Beta state.
To describe the benefits of the Alpha state, imagine there is a pipeline going directly through the conscious into the subconscious mind. I then ‘drop’ the seeds of suggestion, which you have asked me to plant & help you with, into this pipe. In the subconscious, these suggestions are 200 times more likely to be effective than the things we tell ourselves in our normal Beta state. This is because they reorganize our roots of thought and behaviour. They change our perception for the better. Hypnotic suggestions give people more control over subconscious mental frameworks which otherwise might debilitate their lives indefinitely. Hypnosis is a way to reorder the mind’s associations into a more healthy and positive direction.
Once the suggestions and associations are in place, the therapist makes sure nothing else will be able to disassociate them in the future. When a problem is solved, it is usually solved for good. For example most weight control cases can be treated symptomatically. It would take 1-6 sessions, or about 21 days to form and own new habits. Sometimes with weight control we have to delve a little deeper to find the root cause of the weight gain, and this could take additional sessions, but the results at the end will justify investing this extra time. An American Health Magazine study found that psychoanalysis gave a 38% recovery after 600 sessions, behaviour therapy gave a 72% recovery after 22 sessions, and hypnosis gave an amazing 93% recovery after 6 sessions. As you can see, hypnosis has been proven to safe and very effective at helping you reach your goals quickly.
Hypnosis is a complete normal state, it’s something that you experiences every day. For example, when you are absorbed by a great movie or a TV-show then you are in a state of hypnosis. If you’ve ever been driving to work or to the store and you wondered how you got there because your mind was thinking about a thousand other things, you’ve experienced hypnosis. If you’ve ever been in the “zone” where you are totally focused on the task at hand and nothing else, you’ve been in hypnosis. If you’ve ever found yourself day-dreaming, you were in a hypnosis. Even when you are reading a good book you can be so absorbed that you don’t hear when someone talks to you. Your brain is then in a different state – hypnosis. But it isn’t necessary to do things like watch movies or reading good books. It can also be boring stuff, which put you in a hypnotic state, as an unexciting lecture. When someone talk with a monotonous voice it can be difficult to stay focused. Maybe you begin to dream about something more exciting – that is also hypnosis.
Just remember that you may be aware of everything I say during the session and that’s OK because you are still in hypnosis, you can always bring yourself back to the waking Beta state by opening your eyes or counting “ONE-TWO-THREE” in your mind, and above all YOU are always in control.
Now if you have any concerns, or misgivings, feel completely free to ask me anything at all, and I will do my very best to answer any questions that you may have. After all, it is you that I am here to help.
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