Willingness to be hypnotized is basic to the successful induction of hypnosis. This can be either a conscious or unconscious acceptance, that can be summed up in the word, expectancy, that is, expectancy of being hypnotized. – Ormond McGill, renowned Therapist, stage performer
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The human brain possesses unique ability to adapt; this ability is far greater than we can imagine in ordinary life N Geitman Gulag survivor
“Most people dedicate their lives to actualizing a concept of what they should be like rather than actualizing themselves. This difference between self actualizing and self-image actualizing is very important. Most people only live for their image.”
Bruce Lee, legendary martial artist in discussing philosophy and Gestalt Therapy. (Bruce Lee, p. 80 “Artist of Life”. Ed. John Little)
Could it work for you?
New York City writer Patricia Morrisroe could fall asleep easily. But four hours later, she’d be up again, her mind reeling. The problem started in childhood and gradually worsened. Patricia tried cognitive behavioral therapy and meds; when they didn’t help, she decided to visit a hypnotherapist. Patricia was hypnotized once, then given a recording to listen to nightly. Immediately, the then 50-year-old had what she describes as “the best sleep of my life.” The results wore off after 10 days (Patricia’s hypnotherapist suspects this is because she was only partly susceptible to hypnosis; about a third of the population can’t be hypnotized at all), but many people see results as long as they listen to the recording.
People with stress-linked sleep disturbances are great candidates for hypnotherapy, says psychotherapist Marty Lerman, Ph.D., author of Mindshift. That’s because hypnosis can teach you how to acknowledge and release spinning thoughts. The payoff: A study found women who listened to hypnotic suggestions for sleep (such as a fish swimming deeper into water) at night experienced up to 80 percent more restorative slow-wave sleep compared with when they heard a nonhypnotic text.
That stress connection is why you’ll see the best results if you have a session or two with a therapist who can tailor a recording to your specific stressors. For example, if a jam-packed schedule is stealing your Zs, she might include a statement like “You have time to complete all your daily tasks.” Nonpersonalized sleep hypnosis apps are okay, say experts, as long as you choose one that’s been created or vetted by a certified hypnotherapist (check the description in the app store). Try Sleep Well Hypnosis (free), a 25-minute session you listen to nightly; it promises consistent, deep sleep in one to three weeks.
When she was 25, Amber Ponticelli started getting sharp abdominal pains every time she ate. ER and gastro docs thought she had IBS, but their suggested dietary tweaks (like eating six small meals a day instead of three large ones) didn’t ease her symptoms. Finally, an M.D. diagnosed the culprit: rapid gastric emptying, a condition that causes the body to force undigested food through the gut. She was referred to a doctor who was using hypnotherapy to treat GI patients. Amber didn’t have great expectations, but the now 35-year-old Chicago Pilates instructor was desperate.
People with gut problems often find relief with hypnotherapy—on average, 75 percent of women get significant relief after treatment and more than 80 percent continue to feel better for up to six years later—because of the close link between mind and gut, says Olafur Palsson, Psy.D., a professor of medicine at The University of North Carolina’s Center for Functional GI and Motility Disorders in Chapel Hill. The brain sends signals to the gut to influence how much it should contract or relax to move food through your intestines. But sometimes that message can come across too intensely (which can lead to diarrhea) or not firmly enough (resulting in constipation). Hypnotherapy can help iron out these mind-gut missives so your intestines contract properly, says Palsson.
Each session, Amber would stare at a penny glued to the ceiling to help her relax. Then her doctor would describe a soothing location and say how Amber should tap into it to ease her symptoms (think: being on a beach and feeling the warm sun moving through and healing her intestines, and her stomach acting like the waves, breaking down food).
Amber saw her symptoms ease up immediately; the majority of people find relief after six sessions (most women have one every other week over the course of about three months). People who begin to experience pain again (to date, Amber hasn’t) can go back for “tune up” visits or listen to a taped session provided by their doctor or therapist.
Twenty-five-year old Megan McGovern has relied on hypnotherapy to help manage her anxiety for nearly a decade. She first tried it when a therapist suggested it as an alternative to medication. It was good advice: Research shows adding in hypnotherapy can make regular therapy sessions for depression or anxiety significantly more effective.
“My first time, I was worried I would be out of control of my body or say something embarrassing,” says the Denver resident. But that wasn’t the case. Once Megan was put into a relaxed state, her hypnotherapist talked her through ways to release negative thoughts. When Megan was anxious about an upcoming trip, her therapist helped her envision going through the process—packing her bags, driving to the airport, getting through security, boarding the plane, the actual flight—without anxiety. It worked; she was far less tense than usual during her trip.
Hypnosis is similarly successful for depressed individuals, who often receive messaging geared toward identifying and releasing uncomfortable emotions (“As sad feelings surface, you can let them go”). When hypnosis is incorporated into cognitive behavioral therapy sessions, it usually reduces the number of sessions needed by at least half, compared with using behavioral therapy alone.
Today, Megan’s anxiety is managed with self-hypnosis, a technique she learned during her sessions. She relaxes her mind, then repeats some of her therapist’s frequently used phrases in order to guide herself through whatever upcoming stressful situation (like going to the dentist) she’s facing.
Rumor has it Gisele Bundchen and Kate Middleton used hypnotherapy to ease labor contractions sans epidural. The Gisele anecdote, together with the documentary The Business of Being Born, helped convince Lauren Fong Barlow, the CEO of a Los Angeles digital production company, to enroll in a hypnobirthing class when she was five months pregnant.
For the next four months—and during the 36-hour unmedicated birth of her daughter—she listened to recordings and birthing affirmations (e.g., “My muscles are working in harmony to make birthing easier”) recommended by her teacher. During delivery she had periods of discomfort, “but I was never in pain or screaming,” says Lauren, now 37 years old.
Experts aren’t positive how hypnosis helps with labor pain, but Palsson suspects it may lessen the so-called fight-or-flight response, which can cause muscle tension that makes it harder for the baby to move through the birth canal.
Baby-delivering pains aren’t the only ouch hypnosis can heal, though. Studies show it can lessen the chronic pain that comes from conditions such as fibromyalgia or even a years-old injury (to, say, your back or ankle). Here’s how: Typically, when you’re hurt, the nervous system sends pain cues to the brain until the problem heals. But with chronic pain, the neurons misfire, making the signals—and the agony—continue. Hypnotherapy can help tamp down these signals,” says David Patterson, Ph.D., a professor of psychology in the departments of rehabilitation medicine, surgery, and psychology at the University of Washington in Seattle.
So if you see a hypnotherapist for that bad back, her suggestions might be about ways to ease or completely get rid of the discomfort. (One example: Telling you to imagine you’re putting your spinal pain into a series of progressively larger boxes, locking each one shut, then putting the last box on a train to take it away for good.) Most patients with chronic pain report feeling less achy after a single appointment and significantly better after about four sessions.
Ready to coax your brain to better health? If you suffer from a condition that hypnotherapy can help with, doing your research is key because most states don’t require hypnotherapists to be licensed. Ask your primary-care doc for a referral, or contact the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis. The latter requires therapists to be health-care professionals who are licensed in their state to provide medical, dental, or psychotherapeutic services, and to have completed at least 20 hours of hypnotherapy training, learning the process of hypnosis for a variety of conditions. Expect your initial appointment to last about an hour and to include more background-gathering than actual hypnosis so that your mental state and the root of your issue can be determined. Sessions (you’ll probably need five to seven) cost about $100 to $150 a pop—though they may be covered by insurance if the therapist codes them as regular psychotherapy sessions.
This article originally appeared in the July/August 2017 issue of Women’s Health.
Before she discovered the practice, she nearly suffered a heart attack every time she spotted a spider.
By Kim Fredericks
Like many phobias, Clearwater, Florida-based general surgeon Jamie Daniel’s fear of spiders began after a traumatic event. While she was sleeping, a Jumping Spider had made a nest in a fold of the sheer curtains in her bedroom. “When I woke up there were what seemed to be a billion baby spiders crawling all over me!” she says. While the event happened when she was just 11 years old, she developed a paralyzing fear of spiders that affected her for more than 30 years of her life. Some people may scoff at this kind of fear, but phobias are very real and come in all types. “Anytime I saw a spider in the house I’d shriek and jump up on the furniture. I’d spray them with Aqua Net hair spray, and if that didn’t work, I’d use hair spray and a lighter like a flame torch.” But as with many phobias, fears, or bad habits like nail-biting, hypnotherapy ended up offering a solution.
Daniel’s way of killing a spider may have been on the extreme side, but her fear was real. Seeing a spider would send her into a panic, making her palms sweat, raising her heart rate, and causing her to flee the room. “I couldn’t sleep if I knew there was a spider in the house,” she says. If she saw a spider crawling along the interior of her car or on the windshield, she would have to pull over. “My fear was so bad that I almost wrecked my car more than once.”
Her fear was irrational, Daniel freely admits, and she lived her life trying to bury or overcome her fear of spiders on her own—with no success. In May 2016, Daniel took action by volunteering to be hypnotized on WFLA’s Daytime news show by hypnotist Richard Barker. “I had always been skeptical of hypnosis and was not sure that I would be able to be hypnotized,” says Daniel, “But I have always been arachnophobic and it was causing a lot of anxiety, so I thought ‘what the heck,’ I’ll step out of my comfort zone.”
Since the session, spiders no longer paralyze me—I see spiders at my house and I no longer get tachycardia or freak out,” says Daniel. “I don’t love them, but I can tolerate them.” As for hypnosis, it took just the one session to learn how to deal with her fear of spiders and she now considers herself a believer of the practice of hypnosis. “I learned that the brain is a powerful thing.”
Sixty million Americans deal with this uncomfortable sensation at least once a month — heartburn. It’s not only painful, but can be life-altering, or even deadly if ignored. No wonder that heartburn and other gastrointestinal medications are among the most popular drugs on the market. But these “miracle drugs” are far from perfect; some patients report mixed results and long-term side effects.
For patients who don’t get relief from medication, their gastroenterologists are turning to psychologists for help. Hypnotherapy can be an effective treatment for heartburn and other stomach conditions. It’s a powerful alternative treatment, backed with plenty of scientific evidence, that is increasingly being offered at the nation’s leading medical centers.
“There’s a robust amount of literature behind hypnotherapy beginning in the 1980s,” said Laurie Keefer, Ph.D, director of psychosocial research at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “We’ve really taken to calling it brain-gut therapy.”
Hypnosis, which exploits the relationship between the mind and digestive system, can also help with conditions like GERD and the inflammatory bowel diseases, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Untreated GERD has been linked to esophageal cancer.
Amber Ponticelli, 35, started having digestive problems in 2007. Initially, she only felt dizzy and weak in the morning, but soon developed severe abdominal pain. Unable to eat or drink for months, she lost 20 pounds and was ultimately left bedridden. After seeing multiple gastroenterologists at leading medical institutions, she was eventually diagnosed with a genetic condition that is associated with many GI symptoms.
“I thought I was dying. I had to quit my job and ended up moving to the city with my boyfriend just to be closer to the doctors I was seeing in the city,” Ponticelli told NBC News.
Studies show more than three quarters of patients experience at least a 50 percent reduction in symptoms. Many are able to stop medication, including popular acid reducing drugs.
Full article available and sourced from: http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/tummy-troubles-hypnosis-might-be-answer-n778556
Something doesn’t add up. Law and hypnotherapy seem, on the face of it, to be such divergent occupations. But occasionally someone will see the common thread.
As members of the legal profession, clarity is one of the tools of our trade, along with precision, foresight and persuasion. I see a clear continuity in the skills I apply to both being a commercial lawyer and being a hypnotherapist. I help clients gain clarity around their situation and I offer guidance and direction on how they can move forward to be more relaxed, more centred and, of course, happier.
As lawyers, we’re good at definitions. Let’s start with a couple of definitions. Hypnotherapy is the therapeutic use of hypnosis. Hypnosis is a relaxed, pleasant, focused state that induces enhanced receptivity to suggestion.
So how did I go from law to hypnotherapy? I was always interested in wellbeing. As an idealistic teenager, it was human rights that drew me to the law in the first place. In my 30s I went back to uni while working as a commercial lawyer and did a Graduate Diploma in Psychology. It was dry, rigorous study that gave me flashbacks of studying law. I gained a thorough grounding in dysfunction and stats and then decided to explore alternative avenues to mental and overall wellbeing. That’s how I encountered hypnotherapy, first as a client and then as a practitioner.
So how can hypnosis benefit the legal profession? We’re all familiar with the high levels of stress and pressure that are part and parcel of legal work. Just search for stress in the online Lawyers Weekly and you’ll find articles galore on how the industry is rife with stress, anxiety and depression, and how lawyers can minimise, manage and damage-control the effects on their personal and professional lives.
Underlying most modern biopsychosocial issues is stress. This reality is one of the reasons I have been drawn to hypnotherapy as a healing modality, because it induces deep relaxation that has a pervasive and continuing impact. When we’re relaxed we’re better at decision-making, problem solving and simply just getting through higher workloads if that’s what we need to do. Relaxed, in this sense, doesn’t mean sleepy or unmotivated; it means centred, focused and in flow.
On the other hand, when we’re stressed and anxious, our attention is scattered. It’s hard to concentrate and our productivity is severely compromised. We then have the flow on effects of unhealthy eating, minimal exercise and disrupted sleep patterns that can then become a vicious circle that is hard to break.
Many people immediately think of hypnosis to quit smoking, which has very high success rates. But they’re not usually aware that hypnosis can be used to interrupt any dysfunctional pattern, behaviour or habit that is impacting on your wellbeing. I personally believe that there is no price for peace of mind. It is the foundation of a happy life and when we have it, then we really hold the key to opening any door in life.
I chose to practise hypnotherapy rather than psychology because it’s a form of brief therapy, limited to three to six sessions. I personally get bored rehashing the same old stuff time and time again. I’m not one for endless talk therapy, although it does have its place and is beneficial to some. I would much rather be a sounding board, a jump-start and a partner in the client’s journey to a better frame of mind. That doesn’t mean compassion and understanding fly out the window. It’s a balance of strategy and understanding, which I’m sure many in the legal profession will intuitively understand.
To have a successful therapeutic relationship, mutual respect between client and therapist is essential. Coming from the same level of understanding is also crucial in building rapport. I consider it a privilege to be trusted with someone’s inner thoughts and emotions, their vulnerability and their humanness.
When I first transitioned from law to hypnotherapy, I thought it would be clean break. Many of us think in this light when we look at our careers and ask the questions, ‘What am I meant to be doing? What is my purpose?’ As I discovered, transition can be non-linear, and being flexible, open-minded and pragmatic can be a winning combination when it comes to job and life satisfaction.
I love the variety and challenge of my work, which is why I keep a foot in both professions so they can inform and enrich each other.
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There has always been a fascination with hypnotism throughout the centuries. The latest special issue of Notes and Records examines the history of hypnotism in Europe and we asked one of the Guest Editors, Andreas-Holger Maehle, some questions about his research.
How did you become interested in hypnotism?
I had been researching the medical ethics of the Berlin physician and sexologist Albert Moll (1862–1939), who was one of the main propagators of hypnotic therapy in Germany. This led me to studying Moll’s contributions on hypnotism, when I learnt that Kaat Wils of KU Leuven was bringing together a group of scholars for a panel on hypnotism at the conference of the European Society for the History of Science 2014 in Lisbon. I joined that group, and in Lisbon we developed the idea of a special issue of Notes and Records on the history of hypnotism in Europe. I was happy to take on the role as guest editor, together with Heather Wolffram, and we managed to include contributions on Spain, Italy, France, Belgium and Germany.
Can you explain briefly the views of the school of Nancy and Salpêtrière?
Jean-Martin Charcot’s school at the Salpêtrière hospital in Paris held that hypnosis was an induced pathological state of the nervous system and that only people with a certain nervous or hysterical disposition could be hypnotized. The school of Hippolyte Bernheim in Nancy, by contrast, interpreted hypnosis as a common psychological phenomenon resulting from suggestion. It emphasized the therapeutic potential of suggesting to patients in the hypnotic state that their symptoms vanished or at least improved.
How did Freud influence hypnotism?
Freud initially propagated the work of both schools, by translating Charcot’s lectures on the nervous system and hysteria as well as Bernheim’s book on the therapeutic effect of suggestion into German. He also served on the editorial board of the Zeitschrift für Hypnotismus, the main German-language journal for research on hypnotism and hypnotic treatments. As is well known, Freud used initially hypnosis on his patients, but later replaced it by his method of ‘free association’, in which the patient is encouraged to express whatever comes to their mind. Psychoanalysis, and other non-hypnotic approaches of psychotherapy, in the early 20th century eventually began to overshadow hypnotherapy in the tradition of Bernheim.
Do you feel hypnotism is trusted for use in medical practices?
I have no expertise in present medical uses of hypnosis, but it seems to me that its application is recognized in some areas such as treatment of nicotine addiction, pain relief, and therapy of anxiety and phobias. However, in many countries hypnosis still isn’t part of the basic medical curriculum. On the other hand, there are some professional and academic societies, such as the European Society of Hypnosis in Psychotherapy and Medicine, that strongly support the therapeutic application of hypnosis and critical research in this area.
How do you feel hypnotism is viewed nowadays compared to the early 20th century?
There seem to be some interesting parallels between attitudes towards hypnotism then and now. The debates on hypnosis in the late 19th and early 20th centuries highlighted the therapeutic potential but also problematic side-effects and the risk of abuse of the method for immoral purposes. Relatively few doctors were fully committed to hypnotherapy, many thought that suggestions while the patient was awake were sufficient. Today, hypnosis still seems to encounter skepticism in the wider medical profession, and the indications for using the method are probably narrower now than they were a hundred years ago. As in the past, when famous stage hypnotists such as Donato and Hansen attracted large audiences in many European countries, there is still much interest from the general public in the phenomenon of hypnosis. Stage shows and TV programs involving hypnosis are popular internationally.
The efficiency of self-administered hypnotherapy is equivalent to that of in-office hypnotherapy in relieving pediatric irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or functional abdominal pain (FAP), according to results of a randomized clinical trial recently published in JAMA Pediatrics.1
IBS or FAP are diagnosed in 13.5% of children.2 Pharmacotherapy is largely ineffective for abdominal pain-related functional gastrointestinal disorders, but data suggest some patients may benefit from psychological interventions like hypnotherapy.3 Access to hypnotherapy for children is often hampered by inadequate insurance coverage and a lack of qualified experts. In an effort to facilitate access to hypnotherapy, researchers at Emma Children’s Hospital in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, recorded a hypnotherapy program on CD, designed for at-home use.
A total of 250 children (mean age, 13; n = 126 with IBS; n = 124 with FAP), were recruited between July 2011 and June 2013 for this multi-center randomized controlled trial. Baseline characteristics were similar in the hypnotherapy CD group (n=126) and the in-office hypnotherapy group (n=124).
Children randomly assigned to in-office hypnotherapy attended 6 sessions with a qualified hypnotherapist over 3 months. Each session lasted between 50 and 60 minutes. The hypnotherapy exercises consisted primarily of “gut-directed” visualization exercises that emphasized relaxation, controlling abdominal pain and gut function, and ego strengthening.4 The children were advised to practice the exercises regularly at home. To reduce the possibility of any one hypnotherapist biasing results, the study employed 11 hypnotherapists.