by Dr. Bob Jones
Clinical hypnosis is an altered state of awareness, perception or consciousness that is used by licensed and trained professionals for treating a psychological or physical problem. It is a highly relaxed state. Hypnosis is a state of inner absorption, concentration and focused attention. It is like using a magnifying glass to focus the rays of the sun and make them more powerful. Similarly, when our minds are concentrated and focused, we are able to use our minds more powerfully. Because hypnosis allows people to use more of their potential, learning self-hypnosis is the ultimate act of self-control. Recent research supports the view that hypnotic communication and suggestions effectively changes aspects of the person's physiological and neurological functions.
Hypnosis has been used for as long as records have been kept. Modern clinical hypnosis is dated from the late 1700s, and the use of hypnosis has grown by leaps and bounds since 1958.
In the mental health area, it is used for phobias, anxiety, sexual problems, alcoholism, smoking control, speech disorders, weight control, chronic pain, age regression therapy, self-esteem/ego strengthening, memory/concentration improvement and forensic work. In medicine, its uses include anesthesia and surgery, obstetrics/gynecology, control of bleeding, pain control, burn therapy, dermatology and habit control. Dentistry uses it to control fear, dental surgery, saliva control, gagging, bruxism, control of bleeding, tongue biting and general oral hygiene. In Sport and Exercise Psychology, hypnosis is used to help athletes improve their cognitive functioning, control their emotional levels, improve athletic performance, and help with injury recovery.
The length of treatment will vary depending on the nature and severity of the problem. Hypnosis is one tool and may be used in conjunction with other forms of treatment. Hypnosis often helps quicken the pace of treatment.
There are several misconceptions about hypnosis that people often have. You will not become unconscious and you will be aware of everything at all times. Your will is not weakened in any way. You are in control and cannot be made to do anything against your will. You will not begin to reveal information you wish to keep secret. Hypnosis is not sleep.
Another common misconception is that a hypnotized person loses their will and is partially or completely under the command of the hypnotist. Nothing could be further from the truth. This unfortunate belief is reinforced by many stage hypnotists. You are in control of yourself, and cannot be made to do anything that is against your will.
Hypnosis, particularly the deeper forms, can appear to be like sleep because the person's body is typically very still and quiet. There is usually a great deal of mental activity, and measurements of brain activity during hypnosis show a significant level of neurological activity.