What is Hypnosis and who uses it.

Hypnosis has been around long before we started keeping history records. It is quite possible that prehistoric man only had this as a medical treatment. In fact it was not until 1841 the term Hypnotism was used. A Scottish surgeon named James Braid coined the term.

About the same time James Esdaile using a similar technique in Calcutta and started using the term Hypnosis to more adequately depict the technique and the response. He was successful in doing such procedures like leg amputations with the technique. Remember there was a lot more amputations going on back then because of infection. There was no pain control other than getting very drunk back then too.

So even then significant pain control with Hypnosis was a fact. But long before that Hypnosis was used in India by Yogis and in Greek temples as sleep therapy. In 1933 There was a new pioneering approach to how Hypnosis could be used. The research was done by Clark Hull and Milton Erickson.

Today Milton Erickson is viewed as the Einstein of Hypnosis and the term Ericksonian Hypnosis is widely known even to people who do not know Hypnosis. When He died in 1980 he had written 150 journals, worked with over 30,000 patients and authored or coauthored several books.

In 1951 the National Guild of Hypnotists NGH was founded and today is the hub for Hypnotist from around the world. This is the main forum now for exchanging ideas, developing new and improving methods. The NGH has over 6000 members now world wide. The NGH is based In New Hampshire and holds it annual convention in the summer. This is where the cutting edges is today. It is a very impressive sight to see thousands of Hypnotists from around the world all at the same place and all at the same time.

In 1956 The American Medical Association dedicated a journal to the medical use of Hypnosis. However outside of a few Universities, Hypnosis had not been seriously investigated. In 1957 Milton Erickson founded The American Society of Clinical Hypnosis. (Note that many organizations over time have merged) In the early 1960's another name was beginning to emerge. That person was Dave Elman.

Dave Elman was looking at placing a person in a hypnotic state quickly. This was beneficial in that more time could be spent doing the therapy and less time getting the person in Hypnosis. Today you can see this method of rapid induction with almost every stage hypnotist show. When it may only take a snap of a finger or some other method.

Some of the things Dave writes about include helping a person who was in great pain for over a year. The source of the pain was a mystery until a time line was established that the pain started right after surgery. After some poking around in the persons memories using a method known as age regression it was found that during the surgery a comment was made by the people in the operating room “Look at that gall bladder, she will never be the same again!” although her conscious mind did not hear it, her subconscious did. Even that the surgeons were making a positive remark, her subconscious interpreted it as a negative. As a result she began to experience pain. After a few well selected hypnotic suggestions the pain ended and the woman was back to her life.

Beyond pain management Dave also did some work on impotence and laid some important groundwork for today's Hypnotherapy in that field.

In 1972 a new understanding about the human mind was being developed. The technique known as Neuro Linguistic Programming or NLP for short. Initially it was not developed for Hypnotherapist.... or perhaps it was. NLP has become a very powerful tool that is used today.

In 1984 The American Board of Hypnotherapy was founded. ABH. This body deals with Hypnotherapy where the NGH deals with all hypnotists including Stage Hypnotists. The ABH is in Hawaii.

Today Hypnosis is becoming more main stream. This is reflected in that some insurance companies are starting to pay for Hypnotherapy. Looking at the reason is simply the bottom line. Hypnotherapy works and in many cases it works a whole lot faster than conventional therapy. Recently medical Hypnosis has been becoming more of the norm and not the exception. Two of three Doctors will refer their patients if they feel it is appropriate for them.

The days of thinking that Hypnosis is just a bunch of parlor tricks or some form of mind control is fading to be just a memory. Only people who refuse to accept the wonderful benefits of Hypnosis will try to cast it in a dark and evil way. Ironically they are using a simple form of Hypnosis themselves try to suggest that it is wrong or in some way the work of the devil. There are some people who will go as far as to deliberately exclude it from people who could really benefit from Hypnotherapy based on some religious conviction. Only with then power of knowledge can you defeat ignorance some have. 

Today you can find Hypnotherapists in all modalities. Some are very holistic and others shoulder to shoulder with your MD. It is important to know this and understand that if you are not comfortable with one Hypnotherapist you can seek out another. Also it is important to know that outside of the basics not all Hypnotherapists have the same training. So be sure to ask if you are looking for something special.

Hypnotherapy is used in so many applications today. Smoking and weight loss is just the start. Working with pain management, stress and anxiety, diabetes, sexual dysfunction, child birth, phobias, performance enhancement, eating disorders, OCD, and the list goes on and on. Don't be afraid to pick up the phone and ask. There are just too many things to put on any web page. Plus new therapy is being developed, and old therapy is constantly being improved on. Also there are different approaches to some of the same therapies. For example smoking cessation. Many do a one session program, and other do a multi session program. As the understanding of Hypnosis continues undoubtedly the full potential of the human mind will be unlocked.

The miraculous power of the human mind.

How do some of the wonderful things happen we all hear about. How and why a person who is terminally ill live much longer than expectations. On the same note people who give up on life and mentally succumb to their illness seem to pass away in just a very short time and much sooner than expatiation's. Or how a person is able to recover from a catastrophic injury against the odds. And still others never seem to make any recovery at all.

Why does Hypnotherapy work for some conditions where other treatments fail or have very little effect. Why is Hypnotherapy so effective with IBS and Fibromyalgia when conventional therapies only provide short term relief from symptoms. Countless examples could be cited and questioned, and the question will remain. Very simply we don't know everything about the human brain and how it does what it does. We don't know what causes illness in the body. If we did we could eliminate illness all together. Modern medicine is continuing to look for the answers. They are looking for how and why things happen. They are still writing all the technical manuals and identifying all the specifications of the human body.  Finding all the answers to the human brain will not happen in my lifetime and probably not in yours.

Now you may be asking yourself what is the relevance of this and how it relates to Hypnotherapy. Well lets look at it in another way. Many of us, if not all of us don't fully understand how many of the things we use work. We just know how to make them work. Do you really understand the workings of the computer you are using to read this? Yet you are able to use that computer to do many things, surf the Internet, read and send email, play games or even design things.  Do you know how a DVD player works? Most of us understand it has to do with a laser but little more than that. However, we can select what we want to play and push the buttons to make it work. Do you know how some of the medications you take work, or do you just know that they do?

Part of being human is our endless curiosity to see what makes things tick. We want to have some logical answers to hang our hats on. As our technology grows the human brain is slowly giving up it's secrets. Then when the researchers discover a new secret someone invents a drug to influence what they just discovered. That is probably the reason much of the research is being funded by drug companies. However even if Hypnotherapists don't completely understand how the brain works, they know how to push the buttons to make it work. Much of the doubt some people have about the effectiveness of Hypnotherapy is based on the need to know how it works. Some of it we do know, and some of it we don't. But when it comes down to it is really necessary to know? That is something to think about the next time you are using something you don't fully understand. The human brain is the ultimate expert on how to do things with the body. All Hypnotherapists do is simply ask that expert human brain to do what it's so good at. How it does what it does it is not necessary to know as long as the end results are desired. Even if we did know, would it really make any difference?

Negative stories on Hypnosis

Every time I come across a negative article or story on hypnosis, it comes from someone who is not qualified in the field of hypnosis, quoting another person who also is not qualified. You may have to dig down several levels of people quoting people to find who started the negative thread. Even professionals with impressive degrees and credentials can easily be mislead by reading negative stories. Unfortunately if that professional makes a negative comment about hypnosis bases on that unqualified information, it adds a sense of credibility to the negatives about hypnosis. As an example to clarify what I am saying is, the worlds most experienced neurosurgeon is qualified to make professional comments in his or her area of expertise, but not in the area of law or engineering. I have yet to find a negative article on hypnosis that was started by someone qualified in hypnosis.

One such story was started by a journalist who apparently allowed his own personal doubts about hypnosis become part of the story. The journalist had no degrees except in journalism. Without a doubt that story caused several people to have a more negative view on hypnosis. Perhaps the motive was to add sensationalism the story for some self serving reason.

If you have never driven, you cant describe driving from the passengers seat.
Unless you are hypnotizing someone, you can only make an assumption of what the exact intended outcome was to be. Hence a Psychiatrist or Psychologist is not qualified to make professional comments on hypnosis, unless they also have credentials in hypnotherapy. Often there are several steps in a more complex issue, and only someone qualified in hypnosis would know at what stage they are at, and the desired outcomes at that stage. Because hypnosis covers such a broad area, research of one area may not be heard of by others until a paper is published, or a gathering of Hypnotherapists to discuss and present their findings.

Conscious verses Subconscious

The subconscious always wants to do what is best, however it sometimes makes the wrong choice as how to do it.
Often people are confused about the application of Hypnotherapy, verses Psychotherapy. In the area of mental health, Hypnotherapy can be just as effective as Psychotherapy. On average the same results are achieved in about one quarter the time. The reason for this is very simple. Psychotherapy deals strictly with the conscious. The therapy takes and examines every part of the problem step by step. That is because the conscious is very logical and needs answers for every question it can think of. That is a very time consuming process.

On the other hand the subconscious is very simple. It works on concepts and impulses. The subconscious is often referred to as the sixth sense. If a person went for Psychotherapy and the issue was finding shelter. The psychotherapist would start with talking about finding a vacant place to build a house. From there giving step by step instructions from pouring the foundation, to selecting the paint. You can imagine how many steps there are in that process.

In Hypnotherapy the hypnotic suggestion would be “why don't you build a house?” that concept would start the process and the conscious would look at it logically as a challenge, then start finding the answers it needs along the way and not being told them. The only time this would not be effective is if the person had no conceptual clue as to how to build a house. The reason could be from lack of education to a more severe mental issue.

Almost all mental illness has a subconscious start.
If you could break down mental illness into three levels, mild, moderate and severe only the severe would be better off seeking psychiatric help. The need for medication with that level of mental illness is almost 100% necessary. Hypnotherapy for that level is not the best choice because the logical processing ability of the afflicted mind is hindered. Rendering a hypnotic suggestion could result in unexpected outcomes that could worsen the condition. Often a team approach is best at that point. Often Psychiatrists will send their patients to work with a qualified Hypnotherapist when they feel that are at a workable level. I have received many such referrals. For moderate and mild conditions, hypnotherapy is both effective and fast. 

Different training yields different opinions.
Psychiatrists and Psychologists may not understand the subconscious approach and question the effectiveness of Hypnotherapy and the credentials of the Hypnotherapist in the area of mental health. This is simply because during their schooling, hypnosis is not part of the training and is only mentioned in passing. 

Other thoughts

Are we part of nature?
We have been evolving for thousands of years. Nature has adapted us for our surroundings and provide checks and balances all along the way. As humans we have only been tinkering with ourselves for a few hundred years. We have invented chemicals to put in our body that produce a reaction. If nature did not provide the chemicals then rest assured there are some side effects. Simply because as compared to nature we are amateurs.
A few hundred years verses several hundred thousand. You don't need to be a math expert so see where I am coming from.

There are medications that work well like antibiotics, however it was nature who provided the template for that. The first Antibiotics came from mold and were discovered by accident and not by design. The chemicals that are the most unnatural cause the most harm. You can search the Internet to find side effect that list liver damage to and even permanent brain damage if over used. Even the stories about Prozac we hear about in the news on a regular basis are side effects. We hear about Prozac mostly in the crime section. This is simply our body saying we did not get it right yet.

We have even tried to increase the potency of what nature has provided. That in itself is unnatural and just more tinkering on our part. The latest venture is genetically modified foods. Hypnosis however only uses what is in our bodies already. There are no negative side effects because nothing is being added. Any chemical that alters how you feel only mimics what hypnosis does naturally.

As each of us has our own genetic code found in our DNA, we each react differently to chemicals we put in ourselves. That is why some people die from a bee sting and others little or nothing happens. That is why it is so difficult with western medicine. Finding the blend that the biggest piece of the population can tolerate is part of the puzzle.

Ultimately it is your choice as what you want to use. You must weight the pros and cons with each. In any case your choice should be based on fact and not myth or misinformation. Personally I feel that western medicine is more driven by profit and not so much by the desire to heal or help. I feel this way because so many medications have been removed because of rush to market without complete disclosure and testing for excessive side effects. That includes the ultimate negative side effect of death. I also feel the holistic approach can benefit from some of the western medicines. Sometime in the future we as humans will find the perfect blend of the two. But before we can do that we must be able to put aside the negatives like greed.

Comments and other foot notes

Having worked with so many people for so many different things, it has become painfully obvious that the insurance companies are dictating the quality of professional help we are getting. Before if you went to a Psychiatrist you would get some talk therapy, and at a last resort they would get out their prescription pad if it did not work. Today you walk in and they ask you what kind of drugs do you want before you even get your coat off. This is because it cost less to keep you on drugs than to pay for the talk therapy. If you go to a psychologist you will get the talk therapy but it seems to go on and on forever. I am sure the insurance companies are trying to figure out ways to let psychologists write prescriptions. The one draw back about being a Hypnotherapist is keeping your appointment book full. Because Hypnotherapy is so effective only a hand full of sessions is usually plenty. This is probably another reason some insurance companies are starting to pay.

So I would push your insurance company to do what is right for you, and not for their bottom line so much. Encourage them to pay for Hypnotherapy. Each state has differing laws about Hypnotherapy. Unfortunately because so many people don't understand it they sometimes let laws go up that actually hurt people.

I would be for a standard across the country that requires a certain level of competence before being allowed to practice. Even right now today in the twenty first century there are some religious groups that still think Hypnosis is some sort of mind control or the work of the devil. It is very unfortunate that some people are so blinded by that suggestion. In a way it tends to make me think that they are under some kind of mind control already.

A common myth is that you can be controlled by Hypnosis and they cite Stage Hypnotists as examples. Well the first thing you need to know about this is that after the Stage Hypnotist get up on stage and introduces themselves is the ask for volunteers to come up on stage and be part of the show. So the people that go up already know what may happen and they accept it as being fun and entertaining. Others go up to see if they can resist being Hypnotized. In both cases they volunteered. So simply remember and understand that a volunteer is a person who wants to do something. If that was the case that you can be compelled to do things against your will, I would be Bill Gates best friend right about now. But the blind ignorance of some can be harmful to you so don't be afraid to set them straight.

Virtually every religion with the exception of a few accepts Hypnosis. As for the others, well you can come to your own conclusion. When I occasionally encounter a person like that I ask them who gave them the suggestion that Hypnosis is the work of the devil. Then after I will ask them about this suggestion and the basis of it. By about this time it starts to fall apart for them and they start quoting some passage from some text. Apparently the people who wrote this passage have long sense departed and are not around to debate it with you. Plus when the passage was written the world was probably still flat too. I am sure whoever wrote it would probably put up a good argument about that too. So about this time I point out that they have chosen to believe that suggestion and not scientific proof. 

Now please don't get me wrong about this. Back then the ability to apply science to test this probably did not exist and could not be disputed. Also putting a challenge back then may have got you thrown in jail or worse.

I have always enjoyed a good logical debate. I have often found them to be enlightening providing your mind is open to listen to who you are debating. I hold no ill will on anyone's religious belief, I am just upset that sometimes people over step the line when it comes to someone else.

I have helped hundreds of people with everything from sexual problems to learning how to deal with stress and just about everything in between. The people that I have helped will freely tell anyone that Hypnosis is very effective. Even after dealing with an issue that had dogged them for years if not decades their problems were solved in just a few sessions. In some cases just a few minutes.

Hypnosis can go past the barriers that some people throw up as a result of their problem. Even recently the major television networks have been doing stories of the positive results of Hypnosis. Most recently CBS and NBC. There have been several others too like in Discovery and TLC. Every now and then you may hear a story that sheds a negative light on Hypnosis. When you hear a story like that ask yourself who wrote it before you buy into it. Chances are it was written by someone does not know the truth about Hypnosis, or perhaps they may have some religious motivation and are trying to influence people by suggestion.

Hypnosis has even found its way into advertizing. Many top corporations have used hypnosis to promote their products or services. As any business man knows there are 3 type of people when it comes to finding customers. The wills, the won'ts, and the undecided. Advertizing hypnosis works on the undecided by letting them view the product or service in a more positive light. This is not to be confused with subliminal programming.

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This page updated 10-24-2007






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