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What is Somatic Hypnotherapy?

                Hypnosis is the process of inducing a state of deep relaxation of the body and a high concentration of the mind, commonly known as a "hypnotic trance".

Hypnotherapy is the therapeutic use of hypnosis to facilitate changes in perceptions, mindset, and patterns of emotional and behavioral responses. According to it's founder Dr. James Braid, hypnotherapy is a legitimate therapy per se, with a holistic approach based on a distinct ancestral philosophy and a multi-millennial tradition.

Somatic Hypnotherapy is a distinctive type of hypnotherapy with an innovative, personalized, interactive, and pragmatic approach focused on emotional feelings in termes of coherent components of all emotional experiences. While most hypnotherapy approaches aim to facilitate change by inducing under a hypnotic trance new perceptions, feelings, and emotional responses, Somatic Hypnotherapy triggers the desired change by selectively uprooting the disturbing feelings (the sensory experiences) related to the unwanted emotional and behavioral response patterns.

According to contemporary scientific models, emotions are complex experiences leading to coordinated changes across physical (somatic), mental, physiological (neuroendocrine), and behavioral response systems. Thus, an emotional response pattern always has a physical feeling, called the somatic component, a cognitive component (the meaning the brain makes of emotional feelings), and a chemical component (neuroendocrine changes). Because these manifestations are coherent, you can control your emotions by controlling either the physiology (chemistry) of your brain, the associated thoughts (the mental experience of emotions) or by controlling the associated emotional feelings (the physical experience of emotions).

An emotional response pattern always has a bodily feeling called a somatic component, a chemical (hormonal) component, and a mental component, which is the meaning your mind makes of your emotional feelings. The somatic components of your emotions (your emotional feelings) are sort of a physical presence in your body. You feel them as physical sensations, including butterflies, heart palpitations, sweating, dizziness, shortness of breath, knots in your stomach, chest pressure, body tightness, body pains, smothering sensations, restlessness, or a sense of impending doom. 

While cognitive approaches are focused on the mental experience of emotions (the thoughts triggered or induced by emotional feelings), the Somatic Hypnotherapy approach is focused on emotional feelings themselves. Since your emotional feelings are a coherent component of your subconsciously driven emotional responses, the quickest and most effective way to control unwanted emotions is to control the associated feelings. For, by altering or suppressing the emotional feelings (the somatic component) associated with an unpleasant emotion, one breaks the coherence of the emotional experience and thus, the cognitive reading and the negative behavior associated with it, will instantly change.

The wide variety of contemporary behavioral theories helps us understand that, despite the many fundamentally different therapeutic protocols used to modulate unwanted emotions, there is no scientific contradiction between psychiatric, psychological, and naturopathic approaches. Each of the above approaches focuses on only one of the three manifestations of emotions, not because one particular manifestation has been scientifically proven to be the source of the other two, but because all emotional manifestations are coherent! For an emotion to manifest, the three inter-conditioned experiences must manifest simultaneously!

This is why, although all therapeutic approaches to emotions aim to control unwanted emotions by disrupting the coherence of the emotional experience, psychological approaches focus on the cognitive (mental) component, psychiatric approaches focus on the physiological component, and naturopathic approaches focus on the somatic experience. A somatic hypnotherapist should focus more on what you feel than what you think about your problem. Somatic Hypnotherapy helps you change the patterns of your intrusive thoughts and unwanted behaviors by helping you change your feelings and your mindset.

Behavioral responses are modulated by the perception rather than the observation of objective reality. For example, someone who is frightened by a tiny spider overreacts because of the perceived irrational fear of spiders, not because he thinks a tiny spider can harm him. However, as long as strong emotions are not involved, people are likely to act logically and rationally. According to this approach, decisions about daily life are rather the result of impulses triggered by instincts, habits and emotions arising from our fears, desires and rewards, than rational choices.

The holistic or mind-body concept of healing the human being as a whole, rather than treating individual diseases, is ancient. What is now called "hypnotherapy" has been known to exist in almost all ancient societies. Although the term "hypnosis" has only been used since the 1840s, many priests, shamans, healers, and medicine men began using this technique, or some form of it, centuries earlier. There are written records of hypnosis dating back 5,000 years in Mesopotamia and Egypt and 2,500 years in ancient China and Greece.

This healing practice has been kept alive by many traditional healers, priests, and shamans, as well as by famous practitioners such as the Persian physician Avicenna, the Swiss physician Paracelsus, the charismatic Austrian physician Franz Anton Mesmer, by the famous physicians and hypnosis enthusiasts Dr. John Elliotson, Dr. James Esdaile, and Dr. James Braid (who coined the term “hypnosis” in 1843 and described the traditional hypnotherapy as an empirical medical approach), and the famous Dr. Sigmund Freud, Dr. Gustav C. Jung and Dr. Milton Erickson, the founder of Ericksonian Hypnotherapy.

Although some health professionals use several types of hypnotic induction as integrated tools in different approaches, there are no similarities in terms of their philosophical approaches or therapeutic protocols between Somatic Hypnotherapy, Psychotherapy, and Psychiatry - except for sharing some concepts. While most approaches to emotional well-being focus on thoughts, Somatic Hypnotherapy focuses exclusively on emotional and somatic feelings.

The practice of Somatic Hypnotherapy emerged from Traditional Hypnotherapy, from which it inherits an ancestral pragmatic approach to wellness and health, adding to it the rigor of the scientific methods of several visionary scientific models of human behavior that it integrates, in particular the Somatic Markers Theory developed by the American neuroscientists Prof. Dr. Antonio Damasio and Prof. Dr. Joseph LeDoux, the concept of coordinated changes across somatic,  physiological and behavioral response systems known as emotional coherence, the theory of ritual healing, and the theory of morpfic fields. I did not invent Somatic Hypnotherapy! I discovered it, updated it, and did my best to give it a coherent and easy-to-follow explanation to demystify it and make it accessible to everyone.

The hypnotic suggestion within a hypnotherapy framework is the hallmark of any type of hypnotherapy. Unlike conventional hypnotherapy approaches that focus on adding a new layer of positive feelings on top of your lingering fears and traumas, Somatic Hypnotherapy is all about releasing the past by rearranging the present reading of your past traumatic experiences. This therapy works with your world model and involves you in the therapy process so that changes are easily accepted and long-lasting. Somatic Hypnotherapy is very popular in Eastern Europe - where it is known by various local names.

Although Somatic Hypnotherapy uses verbal cues as a specific tool, it does not rely on your hypnotist's ability to speak, but on his ability to understand how the subconscious mind works. Somatic hypnosis has nothing to do with stage hypnosis, nor is it a magic trick. Those who practice it do not have the slightest supernatural power over you. Their only "magic" is that they know how to put their techniques, talent, and passion at your disposal to allow you to access and use the immense resources of your subconscious mind.

The basic idea of Somatic Hypnotherapy is to help you improve your life by fostering change, not to teach you how to deal with your problems. The hallmark of Somatic Hypnotherapy is a process of neuro-linguistic modulation which is a very special way of speaking to your subconscious mind using metaphorical language that appears to be a regular conversation, clearly understandable, and very precise in its healing intentions.

This approach is based on a solid understanding of how the human mind works, as well as on the experience and talent of the practitioner. However, the hypnotherapist cannot take credit for your healing because he is not the one who heals you. His work consists mainly of guiding you to activate your inner self-healing resources.

The therapist's talent and passion is the ingredient that can make the difference between endless sessions and brief professional therapy, with consistently good results. Negotiating the changes you want to experience with your subconscious is more of an art than an exact science.

The "No Results - No Pay" principle guarantees my integrity and applies to all my therapies.

Whatever your fear, pain, or other issues may be, don't allow it to cripple your life. 

Contact me and book your appointment today! Let this be the most exciting experience of your life, and I will be happy to help you on your journey.

You can reach me by filling out the contact form below.

Disclaimer: The above article may contain statements that reflect the opinion of the author. It is intended for general informational purposes and does not constitute psychological or medical professional advice. I don't diagnose medical conditions, nor do I interfere with any treatments given by your medical professional.

If you already are under the care of a doctor or under medical treatment, follow the advice and treatment recommended by your doctor. For any medical emergency, call the Info-Santé service by dialing 8-1-1

*The results may vary from person to person.

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