What is hypnosis?



Hypnotherapy. jayne@ravenhypnotherapy.com

The Wilbury Clinic, 64 Wilbury Road, BN3 3PY


The Therapy Rooms, 60 Lansdowne Place, BN3 1FG

What is hypnosis?

You're an expert on hypnotic trance. You use it everyday. You make yourself feel good or bad by using it, you enter deeply into stories or games or tv using it, you withdraw from the world and rest within it. Despite its familiar everyday quality, there's plenty of debate about what exactly happens to our brains and bodies when we are in the middle of it - but there is no debate about its therapeutic effectiveness, although results may and do vary.

Perhaps hypnotherapy works well for so many conditions because trance is a way of accessing the R.E.M. state (found, for example, in the dreaming brain). The R.E.M. state may be how we make sense of the information received via our senses by matching it to instinctively-learnt latent patterns - neurological codes, genetically pre-determined. In fact, a large part of our lifetime R.E.M. activity occurs in the womb. Perhaps archetypal behaviours are laid down at that point as blueprints in the foetal brain. We could even say that trance has been part of our learning experience since before we even entered the world.

The hypnotic state has been found to be an effective way to learn new behaviours or adjust old ones precisely because of the openness or 'heightened suggestibility' which comes along with it. Notoriously, stage hypnotists use this state in the interests of showmanship and general amusement; so do salesmen (but let me assure you, very quickly, that hypnotherapy has nothing to do with hypno-entertainment). And yet, hypnosis - this rather controversial but so very common state - can't be described as a 'therapy' in itself, any more than going for a swim is an Olympic sport. It can be - but only when applied thoughtfully and with skill. In my opinion, hypnosis is a most effective delivery system for therapeutic change and, in its many different guises, all good therapy depends upon it.

So what exactly is it good for?

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