Hypnotherapy as a Clinical Tool

Writing in The Observer of 21 July this year, Vaughan Bell explores the renaissance of hypnotherapy as a clinical tool rather than as a source of entertainment. He notes that some of the most respected science journals are regularly publishing studies of hypnotherapy and are once again taking hypnotherapy seriously as a way to deal with issues.

The part of the article I found particularly interesting was where Bell discusses the ‘hypnotizability’ of individuals. He says that the success of hypnosis depends on how hypnotizable you are and suggests that people lie on a ‘bell curve’, with some people not being hypnotizable at all, others being very susceptible and the majority lying somewhere in the middle.

I have to say that in my clinical sessions I have only very rarely come across people who cannot be hypnotized at all and in fact it is a skill which can be learned and improves over time especially when supported by regular practice at home. This may be because people who seek clinical hypnotherapy are people who are ready to deal with their problems or issues. Their desire to see an improvement in their condition makes them a willing participant in the process and thus more open to the trance-like relaxed state that a hypnotherapist induces in order to deal with the problem.

Bell also emphasizes, as I also often do, that hypnosis is not something that can be carried out against the will of the participant. I would add to this that you also cannot be made to do something against your will while in hypnosis. You remain aware of what is going on around you and fully in control. In fact, if you are asked to do something is contrary to your values you will naturally come out of the hypnotic trance.

You may be thinking ‘but what about all those people who do ridiculous things for stage hypnotists’. The type of person who volunteers for a stage show is usually somebody who is open-minded and curious and also somebody who enjoys entertaining others. This is why they are susceptible to stage hypnotists. If you sit in the audience, determined not to be hypnotized, then you will not be!

In my clinic, my most successful sessions are with clients who are fully committed, not only to the hypnotic process, but what they wish to achieve from it. If you are motivated and willing to co-operate with your hypnotherapist this makes you able to achieve the best results from your session.

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