Is hypnosis more than a party trick?
Most people have some image pop into their mind when they hear the word hypnosis. Remember the cartoons where the character would come under hypnosis and walk through life doing silly things? Or Office Space? It has a reputation as an entertaining party trick and is often mis-represented as something that is done to a person. It’s often thought of as mysterious or even hokey. However, hypnosis is growing in popularity in the health care field as its effectiveness in a clinical setting has been increasingly studied. Clinical hypnosis is being used in hospitals, clinics, and therapists' offices to help patients conquer fear and anxiety, overcome depression, ease pain, lose weight, birth babies and treat addictions.
Historical roots of hypnosis
Hypnosis is an old practice, dating all the way back to ancient Rome and even having a major resurgence in the 1700’s. Until anesthesia was created, it was a go-to for most surgical procedures. In early psychology, Freud initially used hypnosis in his practice, but arguably, its real legitimacy in psychotherapy came about through Milton Erickson’s use of hypnosis in the 20th century. Part of the recent increase in the popularity of hypnosis may be due to our access to study it. Brain scan technology and the ability to study the brain has opened up a whole new world of mental health, old theories have become facts and neuroscience is more important in the field than ever before. It may also be growing in popularity as people become more interested in “natural” treatments for mental health concerns.
How does it work?
So what is hypnosis? It is a strength-based intervention that utilizes the trance state to help a patient/client meet their goals. It’s not magic and depends entirely on the patient/client’s inner strengths. Most people will experience a trance state after one session; however, significant progress toward goals is typically experienced through multiple sessions and practice. Several studies have found it to show long term efficacy after only 6 sessions. Compared to other therapeutic interventions, this makes hypnosis worth looking into. For most people, successful hypnosis requires practice, this is especially true when using hypnosis for big events like surgery or childbirth. Hypnosis can be used with both individuals and couples and even in groups working towards similar goals.
Interested in learning more and maybe even experiencing a trance state?
Wayside House will be hosting an education session on the use of hypnosis with clients with dual diagnoses on February 28th at 6:00 p.m. at our Wellness Center (2356 University Ave. W., Suite 210, St. Paul).