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What is hypnotherapy?

Updated: Oct 5, 2023

Many of us are familiar with the concept of hypnosis - whether from stage performers, cartoons, or scary movies. Fortunately, most of what society thinks of hypnosis is fiction. The reality is that mental health professionals have been using hypnotherapy to help clients get past mental barriers for several decades.

Hypnotherapy uses relaxing techniques to calm the body so that more attention can be focused on the mind. It feels very similar to falling asleep, but clients are aware the whole time! In hypnosis, thoughts, feelings, and memories flow easier. Many people report feeling that they’re being more honest with themselves. This is because hypnosis bypasses something called the “critical barrier”, which is similar to the line between the conscious and the subconscious mind.

Clinicians use hypnotherapy to help people work through traumatic memories, sort out underlying causes behind addiction, and connect with themselves better. It can help with sleep issues, weight problems, mood disturbances, and bring a sense of motivation. Individual issues can typically be resolved in a matter of just a few sessions!

Now that we’ve discussed what hypnotherapy is, let’s talk about what it isn’t:

-It is not a truth serum. Surprisingly enough, it’s actually possible to lie in hypnosis! (But why

would you?)

-You cannot be made to do anything you wouldn’t consciously be comfortable with.

-It is not a trance. You are still in control of yourself the whole time.

-It is impossible to get stuck in hypnosis. You can bring yourself out at any point.

-It cannot erase memories. You’d remember the entire session upon waking up as well as any

memories you uncovered.

Just like any therapy, addressing the things that make us uncomfortable head-on can be

unnerving, but most clients report feeling relaxed after hypnotherapy. Ask your therapist if

hypnotherapy could help you!

Olivia Chaffin, MA, CIHt Hypnotherapy & Counseling

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