What is Hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy is a non invasive client centered way to assist a client to change outward behaviors and / or inner beliefs which in turn helps the client to attain a specific goal or outcome. It is a verbally induced enhanced state of awareness where the conscious mind is suppressed, but not completely switched off, and the subconscious mind is revealed.

In a hypnotic state, the analytical left-hand side of the brain is toned down, while the non-analytical right-hand side is made more alert. In so doing the subconscious mind is easily accessible.  The subconscious mind is a deeper-seated, more instinctive force than the conscious mind and by working directly with the subconscious mind the client is able to re-frame past events, uncover the cause of emotional and possibly physical issues and re-frame, heal and or understand them in ways that are 100% appropriate for the client.

It is important to stress that in no way is the client out of control at any time during or after the session. The client is conscious and super aware of what is happening around them, of the actions, voice and suggestions of the therapist and of what is happening in their own mind at all times, and is usually able to recall the events and experiences of the session with 100% clarity. The client is conscious enough to actively engage with the therapist, to answer questions and understand emotions and mental images that their own subconscious presents to them.

This client - therapist engagement and memory of the experience is essential and a vital and integral part of the therapy session.

The History of Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy is a natural human experience, and as such it has been used directly or indirectly for thousands of years. The Egyptians were utilizing the healing method of `incubation`, or `temple sleep` as early as 3,000 B.C. The priests considered the `sleep` to have special healing powers and that the person in the sleep was in an enlightened state. It is thought that in this "Temple Sleep" state complicated surgical procedures were conducted

The Greeks and Romans had a strong belief in mental health, and placed hypnotherapy and mental well being at the core of their healing systems.  They used The Aesculapian Sleep Temples, where patients would be put in a trance-like sleep for healing. The term `hypnosis` is derived from the Greek word `hypnos`, meaning `sleep`

In China hypnotherapy has been used for over 5000 years to assist physicians facilitate healing. There are also records in various scriptures that indicate that spiritual leaders, priests, healers and philosophers were the practitioners of early hypnosis.  Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, Ghengis Khan, Richard the Lion-heart and Napoleon all practiced forms of hypnosis!

Austrian physician Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815) was regarded as the father of hypnotherapy.  However many dispute the fact that he even practiced hypnotherapy with his subjects, but introduced his theory of animal magnetism, including the passing of hands over parts of the subjects body, which would effect a cure.

Scottish surgeon James Braid (1795-1860) became aware of many of his patients experiencing a trance like state when they kept their eyes focused on the one spot for a period of time. He introduced the words `hypnosis` and `hypnotism` to the medical fraternity. He stated that hypnotism was a scientific and psycho-physiological discipline.  James Braid and another Scottish surgeon named James Esdaile (1808-1859) validated the use of hypnosis prior to surgery. They recognized the benefits for patients and were among the first doctors to have hypnosis accepted by their medical peers.

During the mid 1900s Milton H. Erickson (1901-1980) was a well known psychiatrist who used hypnotherapy in his practice.  In 1958, both the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association recognized hypnotherapy as a valid medical procedure.