What is hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy is an aid to psychotherapy. During hypnotherapy the subject is put into a state that is almost like a trance wherein the subconscious mind reaches a finely tuned sense of awareness and becomes more susceptible to suggestions that can alter behavior or resurrect a repressed memory. With a subject in this state, the hypnotherapist can make suggestions to change bad habits like smoking and overeating. Hypnotherapy can also aid in the treatment of phobias, fears, and anxiety, among others. Lastly, hypnotherapy can be used to tap into repressed memories that may be causing adverse physical or mental effects on the subject.

Hypnotherapy is a method by which the patient is guided into a natural state of relaxation and heightened concentration. In this hypnotic state, the powers of positive suggestion and visualization are intensified, enabling a person to achieve goals that may have seemed unattainable in the past. Transformation of destructive thought patterns and behaviors is also achieved more readily in a hypnotic state. It wasn't until the late 1950s that hypnotherapy became accepted as a treatment modality in the U.S. Today, it is widely used to treat everything from asthma and depression, to addictions and phobias.
Although the term hypnosis comes from Hypnos, the name of the Greek god of sleep, hypnosis is not a form of sleep but a state of deep relaxation. During this trance-like state, the mind is particularly receptive to suggestions, which form the basis of this form of therapy. A session usually involves sitting with eyes closed as you slow your breathing. The therapist then instructs you to calm and clear your mind, which helps you become receptive to suggestions.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.