What do Hypnotists do?
A hypnotist is a person who helps a person go into a natural state of focused attention (hypnosis) by talking to them in a particular manner, using specific language patterns.
What is the difference between a stage hypnotist and a hypnotherapist?
A stage hypnotist engages with a person who wants to be hypnotised. They make suggestions so a person behaves in an entertaining manner. i.e. Cluck like a chicken.
A clinical hypnotherapist takes the same state of focused attention and makes positive suggestions. This helps the person make better choices or feel calmer, or more confident.
History of Hypnosis
Hypnotherapy first surfaced in the 19th century as a way to suggest the removal of symptoms or aversion to drugs or alcohol. Promoted by the likes of James Braid and Hippolyte Bernheim, this simple form of treatment employed relatively direct methods and few theoretical constructs, but largely influenced most subsequent forms of hypnotherapy.
Milton H. Erickson was one of the most influential hypnotists of the 20th century. From around the 1950s onward, Erickson developed a radically different approach to hypnotism, which has subsequently become known as “Ericksonian hypnotherapy” or “Neo-Ericksonian hypnotherapy.”
Later development of Erickson’s methods was a direct influence on NLP and SFBT, which believe that a person has the resources to achieve what they want, but people generally will focus on the negative, these look at positive ways for achieving what you want.
What is Hypnotherapy?
We go into a trance state on a regular basis. It’s the daydreaming mode when the brain switches from the limbic system to activity of the Anteria Cingulate Cortex. Often activity around the peripheral areas of the brain become quieter. The person may feel a loss of sensation or time distortion. Brain waves change during this process. Consequently, we become more focused, relaxed and able to make decisions easier. We experience the trance state when driving a car, watching TV or reading a book.
Being able to utilize how the brain switches mode, hypnotherapy can then suggest to the person in trance to change the way they feel or think about themselves, or a situation, a problem, or an object.
It has been found through MRI scans that the brain can also artificially perceive reality as if it’s really happening in this state. The same parts of the brain will fire when asked to visualise as if the person was really there and experiencing reality. Further research into mentally rehearsing such things as playing the piano or shooting a basketball has found that visualisation can improve one’s performance as much as actually physically practising.
This is why hypnotherapy can be excellent for sports as much as anxiety disorders.
The difference between Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy
On its own hypnosis is not a therapy, it’s all the other interventions such as SFBT, CBT, NLP and mindfulness that adds to the experience.
The other benefit of hypnosis is promoting REM. Sleep is essential to help deal with memory, emotion and repairing our cells. When we go into a hypnotic trance we quite often find we go into REM. We can often detect our eyes flickering. Listening to a relaxation CD whilst going to sleep can help regulate sleep patterns. It allows us to get the sleep we need to sort out our emotional problem.
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