Hypnotherapy is one of the least understood yet one of the most beneficial psychological therapeutic techniques. Unfortunately, it has been misrepresented in films and entertainment which has given rise to many misconceptions about hypnosis. It is not a form of mind control; a hypnotist cannot make you bark like a dog or hop like a rabbit. Such entertainment shows are purely theatrical. Similarly, the familiar old image of a mystic swinging a pendulum is also very misleading. Unsurprisingly perhaps, there is nothing magical about swinging a pendulum in front of somebody’s eyes; its purpose is simply to cause one’s eyes to tire and ultimately close. Think about it. Could you follow a swinging pendulum without your eyes tiring?
The Inner Voice: Friend or foe?
We all have an inner dialogue that chatters busily away in our minds. This inner voice is programmed and driven by the subconscious, the content of which is determined by the vast array of experiences that make up our past. How this voice responds to daily events and challenges is crucial to our mental well-being. In simple terms, if we are programmed to respond and react positively, we will, in most instances, experience a greater feeling of contentment than someone with a more negative mind-set.
The Hypnotherapeutic Advantages
One of the great advantages of the hypnotherapeutic process is the trance state which is, in fact, just a state of focused attention, a bit like daydreaming or concentrating exclusively on one thing. The reason for this is simple; the trance state distracts the conscious mind with its ever present internal dialogue. During the hypnotherapy session, the client reclines in a comfortable chair, closes their eyes (with or without a pendulum) and drifts off into a relaxing reverie. The therapy is then delivered, without hindrance, in the form of positive and repetitive words and phrases.
Neuroscience and Hypnotherapy
Hypnotherapy, in many ways, runs in tandem with some of the principles of neuroplasticity. The ability of the brain to re-wire itself underpins neuroplasticity and it is now recognised that the network of neural connections in the brain are not immutable. Hypnotherapy utilises this concept and seeks to build strong, positive neural connections through a repetitive, encouraging and affirming narrative.