Prove Me Wrong…
In October of 2016 I was excited by my work as a therapist, but I wanted to become trained in something really…..”out there.” I had had a brief introduction to hypnotherapy in a wellness course in graduate school and decided to look into it. To my surprise there were several national and international societies which focused on hypnosis for express use in mental health therapy. I was intrigued to learn that there were thousands of mental health practitioners using hypnosis everyday to assist their clients in even the most difficult situations. Trauma, PTSD, Anxiety, Sexual Abuse, Insomnia, Existential Fears, the list goes on and on.
I decided to attend a training. I wanted to see for my own eyes; to convince myself this was a valid intervention with my clients. To have my own experience.
Here’s How It Works
Clinical hypnosis* involves a set of skills that facilitate a natural, altered state of consciousness called trance. During therapeutic trance the conscious, critical mind is usually relaxed and relatively inactive, while the subconscious mind is able to access resources, skills, and abilities that are otherwise unavailable to the conscious mind. During trance, openness to suggestibility can be enhanced, senses heightened, mental absorption increased, and imagination activated in controlled manners that promote insight, ego strengthening, and activation of solution-focused skills.
Hypnosis involves a collaborative and cooperative relationship between a therapist and client and cannot be used against someone’s will or voluntary consent. Hypnosis does not involve a sleep or unconscious state and generally involves a state of relaxation. When in trance, individuals are usually aware of their surroundings, the sound of the clinician’s voice, and are able to remember more or less what was said during the session.
Individuals may experience time distortion, alterations in feeling states including analgesia (inability to feel pain), physical heaviness and/or lightness, and heightened or diminished sensations involving multiple sensory modalities. Most clinical hypnosis professionals maintain that all hypnosis is self-hypnosis, therefore trance states are generally under the control of the person in trance, and trance can be terminated at will, if necessary.
*Clinical Hypnosis is hypnosis performed by a mental health professional who adheres to the licensure and continuing education requirements set by both their state board and their certifying clinical society; and is responsible to the ethical boards of both entities.
Will I be in control of myself?!
You will not become unconscious and you will be aware of everything at all times. Your will is not weakened in any way. You are in control and cannot be made to do anything against your will. You will not begin to reveal information you wish to keep secret. Hypnosis is not sleep.
One common misconception is that a hypnotized person loses their will and is partially or completely under the command of the hypnotist. Nothing could be further from the truth. This unfortunate belief is reinforced by many stage hypnotists. You are in control of yourself, and cannot be made to do anything against your will.
Hypnosis, particularly the deeper forms, can appear to be like sleep because the person’s body is typically very still and quiet. There is usually a great deal of mental activity, and measurements of brain activity during hypnosis show a significant level of neurological activity.
(Information from the American Society for Clinical Hypnosis)
“In August 2018, I was attending Professional Military Education development course for the Army, and very much struggling to retain information and my self-confidence during public speaking was terrible. The final exam was a rigorous comprehensive oral exam. Terri helped me confront my fears of public speaking, and tap into the information which was locked in my subconscious. I received commendable marks for the final exam.”Maj. E.C. Johnson City, TN