Hypnotherapy—Using the Power of Your Mind
By Julia Ferré
Sandra breathed in and out, stabilizing her breath and relaxing deep into a rhythm. Her eyes closed and her arms became so heavy that she couldn’t lift them even though she tried. The lines on her face softened and her hands unclenched. For 15 minutes, Sandra breathed and relaxed and listened to words that she desired to hear:
“You are a good person. You take care of many things in your life. Now is the moment to take care of you. Your body is relaxing completely, your heart is pumping blood through your body, and your lungs are inhaling beneficial air that you need and exhaling stale air that you let go. Let yourself rest completely. Your body aligns with this deep relaxation and feels marvelous.”
Sandra is one of millions of people who choose to undergo hypnotherapy—a way for the body to relax and the subconscious mind to engage. To reach this state, a person listens to vocal instructions and his or her conscious mind relaxes so well that it ceases to dominate and interfere. The subconscious mind becomes open to suggestions and dialogue. In such a state, there is potential to make desired changes, whether in attitudes, emotions, behaviors, or memories. In Sandra’s case, one of her troubles was that she felt she couldn’t relax. Through her session she gained respite from the stress and learned that she could indeed relax.
Other people gain similar benefits. Janice wanted to start a workout program and learned through hypnosis that she really loved exercising and being healthy. Earlier in her life she had been active and by remembering these times vividly, she could build on her past successes to reach her present goals.
Tom wanted to quit smoking and had a strong desire to change. Coupled with a high motivation and willingness to do the homework, he became a committed participant in his own healing. Hypnotherapy helped provide mental support and emotional understanding; his agreement to change his behavior for life provided long-lasting success.
Carol prepared for an upcoming childbirth by going to hypnotherapy to rehearse the birth in advance and to review areas of stress about the upcoming event. Hypnotherapy allowed her a chance to rehearse, review, and remove obstacles from her mind so that she could give birth with confidence and ease.
During a hypnotherapy session, many things can happen, but there are a few general characteristics. The first is that the body relaxes. This itself provides numerous benefits, from a temporary cessation of pain to long-lasting relief, especially if the person undergoes multiple sessions to understand the causes of the initial problem.
In addition to physical relaxation, there are mental and emotional benefits. Hypnosis is a focused and alert state. While a few people enter a state so deep that they recall little afterward, most people remember fully all the feelings and interactions and continue to garner insights afterward.
Hypnosis is powerful because it provides access to the subconscious mind. The subconscious is the part of the mind that remembers everything. It houses beliefs, is the seat of the emotions, and is the creative, imaginative part of the mind. It relays messages through dreams at night, and it is noticeable during the day when you do things such as daydream or become so involved in a movie or book that you lose track of time.
When the subconscious mind is engaged in the hypnotic state, it is possible to think, imagine, and process things without the critical overlay of the conscious mind. Thus, a person can remember things and understand their importance, or evaluate beliefs and realize how they influence actions, or resolve emotions and change what is undesirable. The initiative to change is driven from a person’s own perception and is strengthened by the person’s commitment to living life fully.
Hypnosis is a valuable method to help make desired changes. In one session, it is possible to connect with the power of the mind, and in a series of sessions, to tackle bigger issues. In addition, there is self-hypnosis, which can follow or accompany the sessions. In self-hypnosis, a person creates positive inner dialogue and/or imagery, for example, imagining that the chemotherapy is gobbling up the cancer cells or visualizing bones knitting together. There are people who step forward into new professions or manifest financial success because they consistently engage the mind in such positive ways.
There are many types of hypnotists—from those who entertain on the stage to those who specialize in childbirth or past-life regression. When choosing a hypnotist or hypnotherapist, consider what it is you want to address and/or experience and your level of comfort with the practitioner. Also, consider his or her education and background. Most hypnotherapists undergo extended training, and there are many therapists and health-care practitioners who offer hypnosis as an additional tool with the services they already provide.
Transitioning back to her normal state, Sandra rose from the chair, stretched, and opened her eyes. “That was only 15 minutes?” she remarked, “I feel like I just took a two-hour nap.”
Thanks to hypnosis, Sandra learned not only that she could relax in her active stress-filled life, but also how good it felt to be taking the time to take care of herself.
Seven Common Uses of Hypnotherapy
- Smoking cessation
- Weight loss
- Preparation for upcoming event
- Confidence and self-esteem issues
- Skill enhancement and/or setting goals
- Reducing chronic issues (pain, stress, sleep)
Julia Ferré is a certified hypnotherapist, receiving certification through ACHE (American Council of Hypnotist Examiners) and Sylvia Browne, and offers sessions for behavior modification, regression, and self-hypnosis: 530-864-5053 or www.juliaferre.com