What is Hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is a kind of complementary therapy that uses skilled communication. It helps assist the patient’s imagination into an altered state of consciousness intended to bring about alterations in sensations, feelings, thoughts, perceptions and behaviour. However it is not a state of deep sleep contrary to popular belief.
Benefits of Hypnotherapy
Hypnotherapy can be applied to a wide variety of medical and psychological problems alongside conventional medicine. Some of these conditions may include;
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Addictive behaviours (e.g. smoking, substance and alcohol abuse)
Confidence issues (e.g. public speaking, interviews)
The No.1 Pain Relief Clinic uses ‘Clinical Hypnotherapy’ to help relieve such conditions which may be caused by a variety of physiological or psychological conditions. This may then be supplemented by other forms of treatment alongside current evidence based research to support its use to provide a more enhanced comprehensive complementary approach.
How it works
There is still consensus amongst scientists on how actually hypnotherapy works. Arguably, it is thought to work by altering the patient’s state of consciousness by helping the left analytic side of the brain to switch off whilst the non-analytical right side of the brain is made more alert. Thus hypnotherapy helps to awaken the subconscious mind of the patient whilst at the same time inhibiting the conscious control of the mind. According to this principle since the subconscious mind is made more alert, this is the part which has to change for the patient’s physical state and behaviour to alter.
The National Institute of Care and Excellence (NICE) have recognised that hypnotherapy may be used as a possible treatment to help patients with abdominal pain such as Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in conjunction with conventional medicine - or for those patients that haven’t responded well to other forms of treatment (1). Studies support the use of hypnotherapy as a useful therapy for treating minor skin complaints alongside conventional medicine especially those that are made worse by stress (2). Research has shown promising signs that hypnotherapy may prevent anxiety in pregnancy and relieving pain in labour and childbirth (3,4). Despite limited research to date, there is scientific evidence to suggest for some patients that are seeking to lose weight or quit smoking that hypnotherapy works (5,6).
What to expect
A typical clinical hypnotherapy session will begin with by the hypnotherapist asking the patient questions regarding their previous medical history, general lifestyle and health. The hypnotherapist, with the patients consent, will then discuss together the goals and changes that are desired.
This is followed by an induction of a trance like condition, although when in it, the patient is essentially in a higher state of awareness focusing entirely on the hypnotherapist voice. Throughout this trance like state of hypnosis, the patient’s conscious mind is suppressed, and the subconscious mind is revealed. This allows the hypnotherapist to suggest ideas, such as lifestyle adaptations and concepts to the patient to help re-programme patterns of behaviour within the mind (e.g. to help overcome irrational fears, phobias or negative thoughts and supressed emotions).
Hypnotherapy should be avoided by patients that suffer from psychosis or certain types of personality disorders.
To help get the most out of the treatment, we insist on the patient themselves making contact - the motivation and desire to succeed are crucial elements in hypnotherapy.
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Webb, A,N. Kukuruzovic, R. Catto-Smith. A,G. Sawyer, SM. (2007) Hypnotherapy (treatment by hypnosis) for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome - source Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2007 Oct 17;(4):CD005110.
Ersser, S. Latter, S. Sibley, A. Satherley, P,A. Welbourne, S. (2007) Psychological and educational interventions for atopic eczema in children – Source The Cochraner library
Marc, I. Tourecher, N, Emst, E. Blanchet, C. Dodin, S. M-Njoya, M. (2011) Mind-body interventions during pregnancy for preventing or treating women’s anxiety Source The Cochrane library.
Madden, K. Middleton, P. Cyna A,M. Matthewson, M. Jones, L. (2012) Hypnosis for pain management during labour and childbirth Source The Cochrane library.
Barnes, J. Dong, C,Y. McRobbie, H. Walker, N. Mehta, M. Stead L,F. (2010) Hypnotherapy for smoking cessation Source The Cochrane library.
Shaw, K,A. O’Rourke P. Mar, C,D. Kenardy,J. (2003) Psychological interventions for overweight or obesity Source The Cochrane Library.