Hypnosis is a particular state of deep relaxation of the body and high concentration of mind, commonly known as hypnotic trance.
Hypnotherapy is a brief therapy used to facilitate rapid change in the form of new perceptions, new attitudes, new emotional responses and new behaviours.
Hypnotherapy has nothing to do with stage hypnosis, and it is not a magic trick. Hypnotherapy is based on a set of specific skills, but primarily this approach relies on a solid understanding of the functioning of the human mind, and on the talent of the practitioner. Negotiating the changes you wish to experience with your subconscious mind is an art.
Even though hypnosis is used by various health professionals as an integrated tool in different approaches, between hypnotherapy, psychotherapy and allopathic medicine, there are very few similarities in their philosophies, assessment protocols and therapeutic protocols. Therefore, despite their great diversity, proven efficacy and increasing popularity, no form of hypnotherapy is approved as a first-line therapeutic approach for any psychological, allopathic or psychiatric treatment. Yet, as described by Dr. James Braid, hypnotherapy is a therapy in itself, with a distinct ancestral philosophy, a symptom-oriented holistic approach and a multimillennial tradition.
According to contemporary scientific models, emotions are complex experiences leading to coordinated changes across mental, somatic (physical), physiological (hormonal release) and behavioral response systems. Emotions always include a cognitive component that you are able to intellectualize and associate with a rational sense, a lab measurable chemical (hormonal) component, a somatic component that manifests itself in the form of physical bodily sensations, and a behavioral incentive. Since these manifestations are coherent, you can control your emotions by controlling either the physiology (chemistry) of your brain, the thoughts that caused or have been caused by the emotion, or by controlling the emotional feelings.
Although health professionals agree that emotions have a powerful grip on our life, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to emotional issues. When dealing with overwhelming negative emotions, we have the choice between three medically recognized approaches, each based on a very different scientific concept. Each approach focuses on improving or eliminating the negative thoughts and unpleasant feelings, and their resulting unwanted behaviour, through easing or eliminating the associated physiological (chemical), mental or somatic manifestations.
The approach in psychiatry is based on the core concept that negative emotions stem from a cerebral malfunction, that is induced by a physiological (chemical) imbalance of the brain. This is why to correcting negative emotions psychiatrists prescribe psychoactive drugs (medicine) that can change the way people think, feel and act.
The approach in psychology is based on the core concept that negative emotions stem from negative thoughts. Thus, psychologists focus on thoughts and use various psychological approaches and homologated psychological therapies in the effort to correct the harmful thoughts that have generated the unwanted negative emotions and thus change the way people feel and act.
Hypnotherapists believe that the fastest way to control unwanted emotions is to control the related emotional feelings. As long as emotional manifestations are always coherent, you can control an emotion by controlling any of its manifestations: the cognitive, physiological, or the somatic manifestation. Thus, as soon as you won't feel anxious anymore, your thoughts and behaviour will instantly change and follow your new emotional reality. This is why hypnotherapists always focus on emotional feelings.
The holistic or mind-body concept of healing the human being as whole rather than curing diseases, is not new. What is now called “hypnotherapy” has been known to exist in almost all ancient societies. Although the term “hypnosis” has been used only 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 about hypnosis going back 5,000 years in Mesopotamia and Egypt and 2,500 years ago in ancient China and Greece.
This healing practice has been kept alive by many traditional healers, priests and shamans, as well as famous practitioners such as the Persian physician Avicenna, the Swiss physician Paracelsus, the charismatic Austrian physician Franz Anton Mesmer, famous physicians and hypnosis enthusiasts Dr. John Elliotson, Dr. James Esdaile and Dr. James Braid, who coined the term “hypnosis” and described the traditional hypnotherapy as medical approach in 1841, the famous Dr. Sigmund Freud, Dr. Gustav C. Jung and Dr Milton Erickson, the founder of Ericksonian Hypnotherapy.
The practice of somatic hypnotherapy emerged from the traditional hypnotherapy from which it inherits a time-tested ancestral approach to health, adding to it the rigor of the scientific methods of several visionary scientific models of human behaviour that it integrates, in particular the somatic markers theory, developed by the American neuroscientists Prof. Dr. Antonio Damasio and Prof. Dr. Joseph LeDoux, and the Dr. Bruce Lipton’s deterministic epigenetic model. This therapeutic approach is focused on emotional feelings and is based on the physiological and neurological updated scientific models rather than on the psychological model.
According to these models, the behavioural response is modulated by the perception rather than the observation of the objective reality. For instance, someone terrified by a tiny spider is overreacting because of the perceived irrational fear of spiders, not because he really thinks that a tiny spider can harm him. Yet, for as long as strong emotions do not tangle, it is most likely that people will act logically and rationally. According to this biological approach, decision making in your daily life is much more about habits, emotion-driven desires and rewards than about rational choices.
Many assume that positive emotions and progress on the path to happiness are the result of good, rational choices. Only when your life starts taking the burden of your bad decisions do you realize that your emotions have a powerful grip on your decision-making processes. Once there, if you want to regain control over your life, you have the option of investing in the long process of educating your rational brain on how to better negotiate your decisions with your emotional brain, or to take the somatic hypnotherapy shortcut, with instantaneous good results.
Apart from relaxation, hypnosis by itself does not bring any particular health benefits. It is the hypnotic suggestion inside a hypnosis therapy framework that leads to changes and represents the hallmark of each type of hypnotherapy. Unlike conventional hypnotherapy approaches that focus on adding a fresh layer of positive feelings on top of your lasting fears and traumas, the somatic hypnotherapy is all about releasing the past by rearranging the present reading of your past traumatic experiences. This therapy works with your model of the world and involves you in your therapy process, so that changes are easily accepted and long-lasting.
The somatic hypnotherapy is a particular type of hypnotherapy that can help you enhance your life through positive changes. This intuitive and very effective therapy can help ease or clear your negative emotions, it can help winnow away painful feelings, help release addictions and unwanted behaviours, and increase confidence and self-esteem. It can help you be the person you’ve always desired to be.* According to this approach, you don't necessarily need to learn how to cope with your overwhelmingly unpleasant feelings. You have to clear them away before they become persistent and part of your life.
Even though somatic hypnotherapy uses verbal cues as specific tools, it does not rely on the speaking ability of your hypnotist, but on his ability to understand how the subconscious mind actually 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 to know how to put their techniques, their talent and their passion at your disposal, to allow you to access the immense resources of your subconscious, so that you can use them as you like.
The hallmark of somatic hypnotherapy is a process of neuro-linguistic modulation that consists of speaking to your subconscious mind in a very particular way, by using a metaphorical language that would appear to be a regular conversation. It is clearly understandable and very precise in its intentions.
The hypnotherapist cannot take any credit for your healing as he is not the one who heals you. His work consists mainly in guiding you to trigger your inner self-healing resources.
Yet, it is the talent and the passion of the therapist that can make the difference between endless sessions and a brief professional therapy, with constant good results.
Whatever your fear, pain, or other issue may be, don't allow it to cripple your life.
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Disclaimer: The above content is intended for general informational purposes and does not constitute any psychological or other medical professional advice. I don't diagnose conditions, nor do I interfere with any treatments given by your medical professional.
If you are already 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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