Michelle Morris is experienced in providing clinical and medical hypnosis.
Did you know, you have probably been hypnotised before? Many people experience hypnotic trances several times a day, for example when you are absorbed so deeply in reading or watching TV that you don’t hear some-one speak to you. You may have experienced driving along the usual route home, absorbed in your thoughts, and forgotten to turn where you had meant to, or driven into your driveway with no real recollection of having driven the last few minutes. You were driving safely, quite aware of the road and yet absorbed in your own thoughts. You were paying attention, and yet not paying attention to the things around you at the same time.
A hypnotic trance is similarly where you deepen your focus on something to the extent that you are not consciously aware of other things that are taking place at the same time. Similarly, you can always regain your alertness to your surroundings at any time.
Hypnosis is defined medically as a process by which an individual can access deeper levels of consciousness. Such states can also be achieved naturally without hypnosis. It is not the same as sleep, however. An individual does not ‘pass out’ or become unaware of their environment and unable to control their thoughts and feelings. It does not require a weakening or surrendering of their will to any other person, in fact, many believe all hypnosis is ‘self hypnosis’ as it occurs to the extent to which the person can simply relax their conscious mind’s control, in order to listen to their own subconscious mind. There are therefore many levels or depths to a trance from a light daydream type state to a state so deep you can undergo an operation without feeling pain. The hypnotist is only the facilitator. Achieving this state can be learned readily by adults, adolescents and children alike. Skills can be developed which allow an individual to use hypnosis themselves, on their own, throughout their life. You don’t have to experience a deep trance state for it to be a useful exercise, and you cannot get ‘stuck’ under hypnosis. Research has shown that you will naturally re-awaken from even the deepest trance state in around 15-30 minutes.
Uses of hypnosis
Hypnosis can be a useful tool in a treatment plan for many conditions to assist in managing symptoms, changing beliefs and reinforcing outcomes as well as exploring understanding of past events. Hypnosis can enable you to listen to what is really troubling you underneath what you are consciously telling yourself. It enables you to vividly imagine future states where you have achieved a desired outcome and bypass your critical mind which might be telling you that you cannot achieve this.
Hypnosis has been successfully used in:
- Assisting in changing unhelpful behaviours and attitudes and in enabling deep physical and mental relaxation.
- Symptoms of anxiety, depression, eating disorders, fears, phobias, nail biting, thumb sucking, sleep disorders, performance anxiety, post traumatic stress, stuttering, sexual dysfunction have all been improved, along with such medical issues as asthma, enuresis, hypertension, migraine, obesity, smoking, gastrointestinal disorders, pain management, burns, wound healing, gagging, nausea, salivation and bleeding.
What to expect
Psychologists use this tool as part of an over arching therapy program designed to identify the contributing factors which helped establish this belief or behaviour and then to establish alternatives which have healthier meaning for you.
Changing a simple behaviour will require at least three sessions. The first is to learn to relax, and to commence practising the technique. You may receive a tape or CD of this session to take home and familiarise yourself with the process. It is often necessary to fully explore the reasons and relationships of the issue resulting in the undesired behaviour, and this is an important component of the management. At least one more session is needed to begin to explore the meaning of this behaviour for you. Without fully appreciating this, many sessions of hypnosis assistance will not produce a stable outcome. This is also why follow up sessions should be planned, as you take your desired outcome into the challenges of everyday life.