principle of hypnotherapy
Dr Uma Devi
Published : 01 Jan 2011
KOCHI: The therapist
induces a deep hypnosis, where the conscious mind steps aside, giving control to
the subconscious mind, which has tremendous powers. Under hypnosis our sensory
faculties become more alert, the hearing, understanding and creative powers
becoming keener and more acute. The healing is actually done by the person
himself/herself, the therapist only helping in the process by appropriate verbal
A hypnotized person
retains his/her control, even though his/her suggestibility increases many folds
and he/she becomes more open to verbal suggestions. So he/she visualizes or
imagines as guided by the therapist through suggestions and these images become
real to his/her mind. As an example, a person may visualize the pain being
washed away by the waves as he/she stands on a beach and this becomes real to
the mind; as a result, on being awakened the person realizes that the pain has
disappeared; and this feeling becomes reinforced when the same process is
repeated in a couple of sessions.
But some problems like
depression may need more than simple suggestions, and more number of sessions.
What is done is positive changes are brought about in the perception regarding
the problem in the mind of the patient. Once the mind accepts it, the change is
incorporated and the old negative feeling/perception is replaced by the new
As a result, next time
the person encounters the same or a similar problem, his/her reaction is changed
to a more positive one under the influence of the changed perception.
Hypnosis produces deep
relaxation, releases tension and stress, and promotes neuro-secretions that
control the moods in a positive way. Actual measurements in laboratories have
shown that certain neuro-humors like serotonin and nor-epinephrine (pleasure
hormones) are enhanced during relaxation.
A general hypnotic
session can be divided into three parts:
● Induction of
hypnosis: Different methods are available for inducing hypnosis. Hypnosis can be
induced by progressive relaxation through suggestions or using devices like
pendulum, etc. along with verbal suggestion.
suggestions: Desired change is effected through suggestions given under deep
hypnosis. Guided imagery (imagining that the changes suggested by the therapist
are actually happening) is also being used, for example, for improvement in
performance (e.g. sports, facing interview, examination, etc.).
● Bringing out of
hypnosis: Afterwards the person is brought out of hypnosis, by appropriate
suggestion. Most of the time, on waking up, the person is able to remember
everything that is said during the hypnotic state. Since hypnosis relaxes the
body and mind, he/she will feel good and relaxed on waking up.
Areas amenable to
Most problems treated
under psychiatry/psychology are amenable to hypnotherapy; the results are faster
and more lasting. It is used successfully in the following areas:
● Anxiety, depression,
● Antisocial behaviour
in children stealing, telling lies, fighting, creating tantrums.
● Eating disorders
anorexia, bulimia, overeating, nausea, vomiting.
● Fears and phobias:
fear of animals, spiders, etc.; fear of darkness, closed spaces, flying,
heights, water etc.
● Pains: Migraine and
other headaches, joint pains, back pain, menstrual pain, pain from cancer,
arthritis, surgery, dental extraction, piles, fractures, burns and other
● Ease child birth.
● Induce anesthesia
and analgesia in surgery; tooth extraction, etc.
● Pediatric problems: Bed-wetting, nail biting, stammering, timidity, etc.
● Students' problems:
Increase concentration and memory, improve study habits and performance in
exams, overcome examination fear, stage fear, etc.
● Build self-confidence
and self-image, personality development, improve sports performance, social
interaction, public speaking skills.
● De-addiction: smoking
and other tobacco habits; drug abuse, alcoholism.
● Solving marital
● Coping with
bereavement, loss of status and position, failure in business.
● Relief from chronic
diseases, e.g. asthma, diabetes, etc
Some myths and truths
Several myths about
hypnotherapy are in circulation, mostly because of the stage shows, where people
act funny and do ridiculous things under the magician's command. Some of the
● It is black magic
and the effects are not real, but only illusions.
This is not true.
Hypnotherapy is an accepted and proved form of treatment.
● It has no legal
standing or formal support from medical faculty.
On the contrary,
hypnotherapy was recognized and formally approved by the British Medical
Association and American Medical Association in the 1950's. Recently, the
National Cancer Institute,
USA , has approved hypnosis as one of
the methods for relieving cancer pain.
● The person may get
stuck and may not wake up from hypnosis.
Not true. No one has
so far been known to be stuck in hypnosis. The hypnotized person might drift off
into natural sleep, but then will wake up into full consciousness, without any
effect of the trance.
● The hypnotist can
make a person jump like a monkey or bark like a dog or do other ridiculous
things under hypnosis.
This is not true. The
fact is that a person never loses control of self and he/she cannot be made to
do or say things against his/her will.
● Hypnosis can damage
Not true. Hypnosis
does not damage the brain or any other organ; in fact, under hypnosis, one's
concentration becomes more focused and it is possible to recall events/persons
that are otherwise forgotten.
● It is not safe and
can disturb mental balance.
Not true. It is
absolutely safe in the hands of a qualified