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Taking the Mystery Out of Hypnotherapy

Taking the Mystery Out of Hypnotherapy
by Marion Gwizdala, M.S.C.Ht.

The phenomenon of hypnosis is one of the most powerful of human experiences. It is also one of the most misunderstood of the healing arts. This article will help you learn more about how hypnotherapy can help unlock the power of the subconscious mind to facilitate healing and enhance personal performance.

A Definition
Mosby’s Medical Dictionary defines hypnosis as, “A trance-like state, resembling normal sleep, during which perception and memory are altered, resulting in greater susceptibility to suggestion.” Simply put, hypnosis is relaxation with an agenda!
Another key concept to understand is that all hypnosis is self-hypnosis. The hypnotherapist is only a facilitator who guides you into the deep state of relaxation we call hypnosis; therefore, the proper practice of hypnotherapy is to teach you how to do self-hypnosis. Once you learn to do self-hypnosis for one issue, you can easily apply it to other areas of your life! There are several myths about hypnosis that we will examine later in this article.

The Key to Success
The key to a successful hypnosis session is education. In other words, if you understand what hypnosis is, how it is created, and what to expect during the session, your success is greatly enhanced. For this reason, most professional hypnotherapists offer free initial consultations. During this consultation you will learn more about what hypnosis is, how hypnotherapy can be applied to your specific issue, and what to expect while hypnotized. This consultation is also the time for the Hypnotherapist to get to know you better, learn more about your goals and challenges, and develop the best, most successful approach

How It Works
Hypnotherapy is not magic! The hypnotherapist has no special powers, but is only a facilitator – a “tour guide”, of sorts! Through progressive relaxation and creative visualization, the hypnotherapist guides you to a state of deep relaxation. This state of relaxation opens the door of communication between the conscious and the subconscious minds. The conscious mind is your critic, judging what comes in and limiting your potential. Your subconscious mind is accepting and unlimited. By relaxing the conscious mind, you allow your unlimited potential or the subconscious mind to take charge. Placing positive, life-enhancing suggestions in your subconscious mind allows you to replace destructive, old habits with healthy new ones.

The Applications of Hypnosis
There are a variety of applications for hypnosis. When used correctly, clinical research has found hypnotherapy to be the most effective method to quit smoking, with between 64-75% of people still smoke-free after one year and abstinence rates that increase over time. Let me take this opportunity to state that there is nothing in the research literature that supports the exaggerated claims made by lay hypnotists that a single session is effective. In fact, research reveals that single-session hypnosis is no more effective than “cold turkey”! If anyone tells you differently, ask them to prove it, in writing, from a credible source. If they can, please send it to me, as I want to read more about it! Likewise, if you want the results of real research, please write to me.
Hypnosis can be used to help you achieve your ideal weight, as well. Your mind controls every function of your body, including your mental appetite. Until you change how you think about food and learn to control your mental cravings, no diet will work. By combining hypnosis with a sound plan for eating and exercise, you will notice tremendous success. Again, though there are lay hypnotists who will make exaggerated claims of the success of a single session of hypnosis and that you can release weight while continuing to eat anything and as much as you want, this is absolutely illogical. No ethical, professional hypnotherapist would consider telling you such lies!
Stress is a major cause of illness in America. Stress is a function of the mind that acts upon the body causing headaches, insomnia, and related health problems due, in part, to an over taxed immune system. Since the opposite of stress is relaxation, and hypnosis is nothing more than relaxation with an agenda, hypnosis is the most effective method of stress management. In addition, irrational fear and anxiety can be very successfully managed through the proper use of hypnotherapy.
Whether you are an athlete or business executive, hypnosis can be used to enhance your performance. In fact, hypnosis was used to increase the Ohio State University Weight Lifting team’s bench press by 26 lbs. and their dominant arm and chest size by 1/2 inch in only one month! If hypnosis can make someone’s body bigger and stronger, imagine what else your mind can achieve!
Hypnotherapy is also a very effective tool for managing pain, improving memory and recall, and much more! Since the applications for hypnosis are more numerous than space allows, contact a professional hypnotherapist to see if hypnotherapy can help you!

Choosing a Qualified Hypnotherapist
In most states, hypnosis is an unregulated profession. Virtually anyone can say they are a hypnotherapist. Furthermore, certification as a hypnotherapist can be obtained with as little as a few hours of instruction. In order to help you find a qualified practitioner, here are a few tips!

1. Ask for a free consultation. Before you make the decision to work with a hypnotherapist, ask for a free consultation. During this consultation, ask important questions about the therapists training, education, and experience. Professional hypnotherapists are well aware of those who taint our profession with little regard for the client, so do not be hesitant to ask direct questions. Likewise, expect direct answers. You must have a good relationship with a practitioner in order to be successful. If you feel uncomfortable with the answers you get, pay attention to those feelings!
2. Examine the office environment. Some practitioners may choose to work out of their home. This is perfectly acceptable if they have a dedicated office space with a private entrance. Practicing out of the living room or any other place that requires a client to enter into the residence is considered unethical by professional standards of practice and is illegal in most cases.
3. Look around the office while you are there. Does the person have their credentials displayed? Professional standards of practice require therapists to post their credentials, including degrees and certifications, in a conspicuous place. If you do not see them, this is a reliable sign they are not a professional hypnotherapist.
4. If the hypnotherapist makes exaggerated claims of success that are not supported by objective evidence, this should be a “red flag”. Guarantees or assertions that single sessions are effective are other clues you are not dealing with a professional. No professional hypnotherapist will offer a guarantee, as no one can guarantee you will change your behavior and single sessions are almost never successful for permanent change.
5. Professional hypnotherapists charge between $125 – 175 per session, depending upon their credentials, and frequently offer multi-session rates. If someone charges significantly more or less than this, it could be a sign they are practicing unethically.

Myths About Hypnosis
There are several myths about hypnosis. In order to gain the greatest benefit from your hypnosis session, let’s examine some of these myths.

Hypnosis is a natural state of consciousness that everyone can attain. It is that state through which we pass just before we go to sleep or just before we awaken in the morning. The hypnotherapist only trains you to attain that consciousness at will and utilize the potential available to you at that time.

During hypnosis you are completely conscious and aware of your surroundings. In fact, in the altered state of consciousness that is hypnosis, you may hear sounds more acutely and be more aware of your surroundings. There is a deep state of hypnosis, called “somnambulism”, in which you may briefly relax so deeply you may feel as if you have fallen asleep. Once you realize you have achieved this deep state of hypnosis, however, you are no longer there!

3. THE hypnotherapist CAN MAKE ME DO THINGS against my will or things I WOULD NOT NORMALLY DO.
This myth is the result of stage hypnotists who create the illusion of controlling the actions of the participants. The stage hypnotist screens subjects very carefully to know what suggestions they will accept and follow. Under hypnosis you will not, and cannot, do anything that you would not do in a normal, alert state of consciousness.

For more information about hypnotherapy, please feel free to get in touch with me!

Marion Gwizdala, M.S., C.Ht.
A Natural Approach to Wellness
15901 N. Florida Avenue,
Lutz, Florida 33549
(813) 626-2789

“Nurture your mind with great thoughts, for you will never be any greater than you think!” Benjamin Disraeli