We can all enter states of altered consciousness, and do, in fact, several times a day. We may drive all the way to work and then not remember much about the trip, we may be so focused on a special project that hours fly by. These trance-like states are natural states of heightened and focused attention – we call it hypnosis – and can be utilized for many purposes.
Our ability to learn to enter this unique state of consciousness at will, brings opportunities and possibilities for healing, self-exploration and change. When we enter into a state of hypnosis, we can utilize thoughts, skills, memories and experiences in ways not accessible to us in a conscious waking state. With the guidance of a trained clinical hypnotist, we can connect with and develop abilities to change our thoughts, feelings and perceptions.
Clinical hypnosis is NOT: as it is portrayed in films and television to be mind-control, to take over someone’s will and have them do things out of their ordinary set of behaviours. That portrayal is inaccurate and even alarming. Clinical hypnosis, when practiced by a well-trained, licensed health-care professional, is safe, gentle and respectful.
Hypnosis has been used successfully to treat various psychological and physical conditions and problems. It is also an effective technique for individuals to help people overcome “blocks” that underlie their failure to achieve their desired goals, such as quitting smoking. Clinical hypnosis is also used in “peak performance” training, for individuals in the areas of sports, academics and skill-building, to enhance their abilities, their focus and their concentration to their maximum.
There have been many successful applications of Clinical Hypnosis in Medicine and Psychotherapy. According to documented case studies, the following is a list of conditions/situations that have been successfully treated by hypnosis (from Canadian Federation of Clinical Hypnosis, and American Society of Clinical Hypnosis):
• Irritable Bowel Syndrome
• Crohn’s Disease
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Anxiety and stress management
• Test Anxiety
• Travel Anxiety
• Identifying “blocks”
• Self-hypnosis for relaxation
• Increasing resistance to stress
• With and without medications
• Pruritus [itching]
• In unusual circumstances where the usual chemical anesthesia is not recommended, or when the patient needs to be conscious during a procedure
• Dental anesthesia
• Back pain
• Cancer pain
• Headaches and migraines
• Arthritis or rheumatism
• Injuries from motor vehicle accidents
• Some maintain that hypnosis can “cure” the source of some of these painful conditions, but this has not been definitively demonstrated in the literature. There is good evidence that some people can use hypnosis to mask and alleviate pain
• The American Society of Clinical Hypnosis claims that, based upon members’ anecdotal evidence, approximately two thirds of women have been found capable of using hypnosis as the sole analgesic for labour.
Sports and athletic performance enhancement
• Hypnosis has been found effective by many athletes as a way to deal with improving concentration and alertness, improving adaptiveness in the incorporation of new techniques.
• For some people hypnosis can be an effective sole agent, but for most, it will be part of a program used to assist in smoking cessation.
• This is another complex problem in which hypnosis can be one of the treatment choices.
• nail biting
• hair-pulling (trichotillomania)
• teeth grinding (bruxism)
Megan Hughes is fully certified in the use of Clinical Hypnosis with her clients. She is a member of the Canadian Society for Clinical Hypnosis.