What is clinical hypnosis?
Hypnosis is a Natural State
Qualified health care professionals use clinical hypnosis to explore and address a wide variety of health and well-being matters.
Hypnosis is a natural state, very much like when we’re daydreaming or driving down the highway and not paying attention to the signs for a while. It is a trance-like state which occurs throughout the course of a day.
In clinical hypnosis, you are focused and aware of your environment. People describe clinical hypnosis as a pleasant, calming, clearly remembered experience which involves a state of relaxed consciousness.
Seeking help from a Regulated Clinician for Clinical Hypnosis
When carried out by a professionally trained and skilled hypnotherapist, the benefits can be long-lasting and often permanent. When the hypnotherapist is accountable to a recognized organization such as the Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons, Dentists, Psychologists, Nurses, Occupational Therapists, Social Workers or Psychotherapists, among others, you can be assured that ethical standards must be met by the therapist, and his or her competence must be maintained by Continuing Education.
What is clinical hypnosis?
Clinical hypnosis is an altered state of awareness, perception or consciousness that is used, by licensed and trained doctors or master’s degree qualified individuals, for treating a psychological or physical problem. It is a highly relaxed state. Hypnosis is a state of inner absorption, concentration and focused attention.
Source: CSCH (Ontario)
Living Hypnosis: The trance of everyday life
by Davidicus Wong, MD
In recent columns, we’ve explored the evolutionary development and potential of the human brain and how new approaches, including mindfulness, can use this knowledge to better manage our emotions and chronic pain.
Clinical hypnosis is a technique used by specially trained health professionals to help an individual engage the subconscious mind to reinforce positive thoughts, emotions and behaviours. It can help you visualize a positive healthier future. The hypnotic or trance state is an altered state of consciousness we naturally fall in and out of each day. Remember the last time you were in a movie theatre totally engaged in the characters and story on the screen? Remember awakening from that trance when the credits rolled and you walked out of the theatre? How often have you walked or driven home when your mind was elsewhere and you found yourself at home sooner than you expected without thinking about it?
You were in trance as an impressionable toddler and child, during emotionally charged experiences in the past, in a new place that engaged your senses, when you fell in love for the first time, and when you were lost in thought earlier today.
In these uncontrolled trance states, our unconscious is highly sensitive to suggestion. We may have accepted incorrect beliefs about the world, other people and ourselves and these incorrect or maladaptive beliefs shape the stories we tell ourselves. In turn, our personal stories affect our outlook on life and our conscious perspective.
Having suffered from chronic pain in the past, I’ve recognized how easy it is to fall into negative thinking traps or cognitive distortions that actually increased my suffering. Negative thoughts about our pain can include the following. “The pain is just going to get worse.” “I have to take something (drugs or alcohol) to manage the pain.” “I have to find the right test or treatment to cure the pain.” “Because the pain gets worse with activity, I must be causing harm and I have to lie down and rest.” Our subconscious mind can accept these beliefs without question.
Similarly, negative beliefs and assumptions we accepted in the trances of early life, can contribute to anxiety, depression and unhappiness throughout our adult lives. “I’m not good enough.” “I have to be perfect.” “The world is a dangerous place.” “Something’s wrong with me.” “People can’t be trusted.” “Life is unfair.”
With mindfulness and cognitive behavioural therapy, we can uncover maladaptive thoughts and beliefs, and step-by-step replace them with those that are more accurate, adaptive and empowering. We can become conscious and aware co-authors of our own life stories and agents of positive change in our personal lives and in our world.
All hypnosis is self-hypnosis. We allow the conscious mind to relax and engage the subconscious mind using imagery. We often start with deliberate relaxed breathing. Unlike mindfulness meditation, we control rather than simply observe the breath.
In hypnotic inductions, we use the breath as a vehicle of progressive relaxation and imagine the whole body letting go with each successive breath. When we reach a stage of deep relaxation, we offer positive suggestions to the subconscious. These suggestions reinforce the new more adaptive neural pathways that will enhance our coping with life’s challenges and allow us to visualize ourselves mastering our lives and achieving our personal potentials. This creates a positive blueprint for our minds.
Because clinical hypnosis is not appropriate for every person and every psychological or physical health condition, it should only be used by experienced and appropriately trained professionals.
View the complete article in the Vancouver Courier, Living Hypnosis: The trance of everyday life by Davidicus Wong, MD
The following definition is provided by the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis (SCEH):
Hypnosis is a state of focused attention and receptivity which can be an extremely useful tool for individuals wishing to master certain abilities and accomplish specific tasks. it has a long history, going back hundreds of years, and was originally used by clergymen, physicians, neurologists, psychologists, and others involved in the healing arts. Currently it is most competently used by health care professionals and mental health specialists in assisting with a broad variety of problems and life issues.
Hypnotizability varies from individual to individual, yet most people are sufficiently endowed with this ability in order to achieve results in changing some aspect of their life. In working with a trained and licensed mental health professional it is possible to make significant changes in problems, such as chronic pain, headaches, habit patterns (e.g. smoking, overeating), anxiety, and other issues. It is also useful in preparing for anxiety evoking situations, such as medical or dental procedures (e.g., labor and delivery, surgery, injections), taking examinations, or other events inducing apprehension.
Hypnosis is considered to be a normal and adaptive altered state of consciousness that occurs spontaneously for many individuals throughout life. Other altered states of consciousness that regularly occur are sleep, an intense emotional involvement with an engaging movie or piece of music, eliciting changes in one’s heart rate, thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, and even perception of time and space.
Hypnosis at first brings on a deeply relaxed and calm state, both physically and psychologically. You will notice such physiological signs as slowed respiration, a low heart rate, warm and dry hands, and relaxed muscles. Psychologically, you may feel calm, peaceful, and may have an “empty” mind, relatively free of negative or distracting thoughts. You may also be capable of vivid imaginative experiences, which include visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory, tactile, and kinesthetic components. In addition, you may experience a significant time distortion and removal from your general reality orientation (e.g., indifferent to external sounds, distracting thoughts, unpleasant physical sensations).