What is hypnosis, how can it help you and how to choose a hypnotist

Part 1 – Hypnosis: What it is and How Can It Help Me Change?

If you are finding yourself in a “stuck” state, hypnosis is the best way to get yourself unstuck and moving in the direction that you desire. Any thought, behavior or habit can be changed easily with hypnosis. Medical interventions can also be very helpful as long as the hypnotist is working with a referral from the doctor on the case. This is to insure that there is continuity of care and to make sure the hypnotist is aware of anything that may be counter indicated on the case. Hypnotists are not doctors and need to work in concert with them in order to do the best work for their clients.

Hypnosis is a natural state that you have experienced many times without knowing it. Every time you got engrossed in a good book, movie or video game and lost track of time you were in a hypnotic state. In fact any time you drove yourself to a place without remembering how you got there you were in a hypnotic or trance state. When you go to bed at night right before you fall off to sleep and right before you awake in the morning you are aware of everything that is going on, yet you could care less, you are in a hypnotic state. Hypnosis creates the same state of mind that is used during day dreaming, deep prayer and meditation.

Hypnosis uses this state of mind in order to access the part of your mind that runs you, your unconscious mind. It is there that the information is located that needs to be accessed in order for you to stop doing the things you want to stop and to do the things you desire.

You see, what most people fail to realize is that it is their unconscious mind that runs them. Because it is indeed un-conscious, the reasons for the unwanted thoughts or behaviors are hidden.

When you are in the hypnotic state, your unconscious mind is open to suggestion. It is free of all the immediate pressures and worries of the world. In this state, the mind is calm and can process suggestions without the constant “chatter” of the conscious mind. You are hyper aware of everything that is going on between you and the hypnotist and can respond to anything the hypnotist tells you to do. However, you will never do anything that you choose not to do, for your unconscious mind will protect you from doing so. However, do understand that if you are going to work with a hypnotist you will need to trust that person enough to tell them whatever it is that you need to have worked on so that they can help you clear it. Remember hypnotists are not able to read your mind.

Anyone with a normal intelligence, without a history of psychosis, and able to focus can achieve amazing results through the use of hypnosis. It is astounding how fast the result can occur for many issues that other methods are unable to really address like: resolving worries, obsessive thoughts and behaviors, addictions and bad habits. However you will need to trust the hypnotist with whom you are working and truly want the goals that you have set out to achieve. You need to understand that you will need to put in the effort to achieve your goals for the hypnotist’s role is merely that of facilitator.

Hypnosis is a great state because for every 15 minutes that you are in trance you are getting the equivalent of an hour’s sleep. The client will come out of trance feeling tired and inside of 15 minutes they will feel totally energized. I always tell my clients that if they are tired when they come in, that they came to the correct place because they will feel much more energized when they are done being in trance for awhile.

When people think of hypnosis, usually they get an image in their mind of a hypnotist doing a stage show with the volunteers all relaxed to the point where they are leaning on one another in a very deep trance state. In many cases you may be working with a hypnotist that uses mainly suggestive hypnosis where you are placed in a very relaxed state so that your unconscious mind will be receptive to the suggestions that you are given. It is important to understand that one need not be in that deep a trance state in order to make the changes that you would like. It really depends on the type of training the hypnotist has received as to the level of trance they will use for any given situation.

You can tell lies while you are in the state of hypnosis and the hypnotist would not know it. I would suggest that you be truthful if you are going to invest your time and money in getting their assistance.

Also note that you can never get stuck in the hypnotic state. All that will happen is that not more than five minutes after the hypnotist stops talking, you will either emerge from the state or fall asleep.

Hypnotists are the professionals that work specifically with making changes in the unconscious mind. They work to exchange strategies that do not work with those that will be more helpful to you, creating the changes that you desire, making your life happier and more fulfilled.

If you go ahead and close your eyes down and go back in time to a place where you were in the kitchen when something that you love to eat was being prepared, perhaps you can smell the ingredients as they are cooking, looking to see the beautiful colors of the food and smelling the aroma. Imagine this favorite food of yours fully cooked. Imagine lifting some of it out of its container, first looking at it, then smelling the wonderful aroma, and lastly, tasting it. This would be an example of an internal representation of a remembered event. It is how you remember the events of your life and internally represent these events that make up your self-image. If life is working out well, you have healthy internal representations. If there are areas that could be better, it could be helpful to change these internal representations to some that would work better for you.

Here are some examples of where and how hypnosis can be used to change self-image.

We hypnotists believe that you have all your own answers within your own unconscious mind, with the role of the hypnotist being that of facilitator. Realize that if you were conscious of what the answer to your problem was, you would not require our assistance. Because it is unconscious, you have made the decision to have a hypnotist help you to better understand what your unconscious is protecting you from, in fact, the reason that you are unable to figure it out on your own.

Depending on the breadth and depth of your problem, hypnotism is about clearing the problem as quickly as is possible. In some cases one or two sessions will take care of simpler problems. We are not in business to keep you endlessly coming in for help. The exceptions to that would be weight loss of over 20 pounds and more complex situations that have been going on for a very long time.

The hypnotist will do whatever is needed as long as it is therapeutically in your interest. However, we would rather be light and playful in our approach, realizing that the more fun the intervention the more likely you will do what is required to make the changes in order to get your results.

Hypnosis uses your imagination in order to create change. It is the quickest way I know that truly transforms those aspects of your life that are not working, so long as you are willing to be “at cause” and do what is being asked of you. Of course we hypnotists are not mind readers, so it is up to you, the client, to do as you are asked. If there is something that you do not understand or that confuses you, it is your responsibility to ask for clarification.

When you work with a hypnotist, the issue that you come in to resolve is the issue that is resolved. We are trained to only work on the areas of your life that you desire to change, and leave anything else alone. It is within the ethics of our profession to attend to you in this manner.

If you are a person who is: unable to finish the projects that you start, suffer from worry, are holding a lot of anger, sadness, fear, guilt or shame, have some sort of obsessive thoughts or compulsive behaviors, or have experienced traumas that nobody else has been able to release, hypnosis is the best way to put those items behind you once and for all.

I had an anesthesiologist who had a problem with sleep for over 55 years. He had undergone every test there was and still there was no solution in the medical world for his problem. He came in to see me and in 2 ½ hours his problem was a past memory. Why? He had experienced interrupted sleep so many times as a child, and then during his medical residency, that he could no longer stay asleep. Once we knew his history, we could desensitize the events throughout his life and all of a sudden, sleep was no longer an issue. This process can be used for many traumas as well.

Lastly, while working with the unconscious mind, you will soon realize that without thinking about it, your behaviors, thoughts habits and even illness will change for the better. That is perhaps the best reason to choose hypnosis as the intervention of choice in many cases where the mind could use a bit of reframing to work more effectively for you.

Part 2 – Suggestive Hypnosis vs. NLP

There is another type of hypnotic work known as neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) codified by Bandler and Grinder and based on modeling the best therapist they could find: Milton Erickson, Virginia Satir, Fritz Perlz and others. NLP is based on how we use the language of the mind to consistently achieve our specific and desired outcomes. While doing NLP techniques, the unconscious mind is engagedl; yet you are not placed in the traditional relaxed position of traditional suggestive hypnosis. Instead the practitioner is speaking to your unconscious mind though the language patterns that they are using to effect the changes in the programming of your mind to attain your results. With this type of intervention you are seemingly in the same state as you would be without being placed in a hypnotic trance. The interesting thing to understand is that NLP techniques in most cases will work more quickly and easily than the suggestive hypnosis.

There are many patterns that we learn through life that run us, even though we do not think about them. Whenever the phone rings, you most likely will automatically pick it up. Another example is with emails. Every time you hear one come I would bet you are more likely than not to go and find what is in it. These are two examples of anchors that most of us have in our every day life.

Ivan Pavlov taught us about anchoring when he did his famous experiments with dogs. He would ring a bell and then give them some steak. After awhile all he had to do was ring the bell and the dogs would salivate. It is really a trigger response that was set up in this experiment. The response occurs when someone picks up the habit of smoking maybe in high school in order to belong to the group even though the first smoking experience is riddled with a terrible taste, and coughing. Some people continue the smoking behavior and soon find themselves not only wanting a cigarette now with that group of friends, but perhaps with the coffee in the morning, or, with a glass of wine. The behavior becomes generalized to other situations, so a trigger response becomes what is known as a “gestalt” – a pattern of behavior that is continued in different situations.

We hypnotists use anchoring in many different ways to assist our clients to change their behaviors to create calming, more beneficial behavior, while removing a behavior that is detrimental to them.

Understand that hypnosis is a wonderful method to use, because there are usually no adverse effects. Your unconscious mind will not process anything of harm to you, and so in most cases you are in a safe state while undergoing hypnosis. That being said, it is important that you trust your hypnotist and want your goals to make things as comfortable and productive as possible.

Part 3 – Transforming Yourself: “Being at Cause”

Control begins when you believe you have control. This happens when you realize that you have choices in life and that, in fact, not making a choice is also a choice that is available to you. Sometimes you really are not sure how it may be to make a different choice. In many cases you may find that you are stuck even if it is not pleasurable, but what you are used to. Sometimes you may be stuck because you are able to be the “victim” and get whatever attention is desired in that situation, even if it is negative attention. Anything is better than being ignored, isn’t it?

In order for one to create transformation in life, it is imperative to understand that you are “at cause” for everything that enters your life, unconsciously, in order to teach you something that will assist you in your growth process. When you really understand this basic concept it becomes easy to take responsibility for your actions and inactions regardless of what anyone in your life may have done to you in the past. You see, it is only when you realize that if you blame someone “out there” in the world for your difficulties; you have taken your ability to change the situation away. Other people are dealing with challenges of their own. Rarely are they going to, care about your life as much as you do. It is in your best interest to take responsibility for all your decisions, and thus your life.

To help make this point clearly understood I will explain the difference between being “at cause” and being “at effect.”

If someone is “at effect” they are taking the position that they do not control their future. Specifically, they do not believe that every action that they take today, this week, this month will directly influence their future. It is easy to look out across this very complicated world and feel small, helpless and powerless. The economy, family circumstances, physical appearance are to blame for your problems. Once you feel you don’t have any control, it is easy to become the “victim”. Finally, you have created the limiting belief that you are the victim, with others causing you harm. It becomes natural to accept whatever comes your way. You are not in control anyway, so why try to change anything?

Many times these people will have a difficult time taking any action to change the situation because they are more comfortable with their roles in life than taking the risk required to make a situation better. They fear change. Many times it is easier to continue to receive the secondary gain, for example the attention received for their endless complaints about all that is wrong in their lives. Or worse, if they get physically ill, receiving the care that they are no longer willing to give others, instead creating the illness in order to be the receiver of the care.

On the other hand people who are “at cause” are willing to do whatever it takes, face whatever fears they may have in order to transform their lives to what they can visualize in their dreams. They realize no one is going to care about their life more than they. It is up to them to take the actions required to create the change, thus giving up the negative strategies while creating positive strategies.

So you see that once you understand the choices that are open to you, it becomes easier to make the decision to allow yourself to be free from being a victim. Instead, become the victor of your life.

A hypnotist’s job is to assist you in understanding that you do have the ability to make the choices that serve you better in life.

Part 4 – How Do I Find a Competent Practitioner?

How do you know if a hypnotist is actually capable of helping you? There are different certifications that are earned when one becomes a hypnotist; however each professional association uses different terms to determine what level of training one has achieved. Even more confusing is the fact that there are medical doctors and mental health workers and others who also have training in hypnosis. Many of their professional organizations would lead you to believe that it is much better to hire one of the licensed professionals rather than a lay hypnotist, one who is certified in hypnosis but is without any other professional license. You need to understand that just because these professionals have a license to practice in these other fields does not in and of itself make them more capable of doing hypnosis for you. Hypnotism is a separate profession unto itself and many of these other licensed professionals have taken few courses if any in the field of hypnotism. I have had too many clients to count who have come in to see me after their mental health or medical professional failed to have helped them with their limited knowledge of hypnosis.

The first thing that you would want to know about your hypnotist is what sorts of training they have had. There are different levels of training starting out with the basic certification, known as a Certified Hypnotist (C.Ht.). From there they could go onto get a Master Hypnotist Certification and/or specialized certifications to do specialized work: like pain control, regressions, complimentary medical hypnosis, etc. They can next become a Trainer to be able to certify others to become a hypnotist. These people have to know what they are doing in order to teach, and they take rigorous exams in order to achieve that level of competence. Last is Master Trainer which would be someone who can train trainers. The National Guild of Hypnotists also has a credential known as Board Certified Hypnotist, where their members have to take a test demonstrating their knowledge. These people do understand their profession, but do understand it is one association of 22 that exist in the field of hypnotism just here in the U.S.A.

For Neuro-Linguistic Practitioners there are also Certified Practitioners, Master Practitioners, Trainers and Master Trainers.

The other thing that you may want to know when you hire a hypnotist is what associations they are members of. Each association requires the hypnotist to carry the certifications for the level of training that they are registered. They also require copies of the certifications before allowing them to join as a certified member. Some like the National Guild of Hypnotists require continued educational units to be earned every year in order to remain certified as is typical of many professions.

The most important thing that you need to know though after you are sure that you have a competent professional is to appraise the type of specialization that you require. Like medical doctors and nurses, hypnotists can generalize or specialize in various areas of work. When you think about all the thoughts, behaviors, and habits, not to mention illnesses that a person may be looking get assistance with, you start to begin to understand that you are looking for the correct fit for your particular situation. You want someone who has a successful track record doing the sort of work that you need to have done for you.

I specialize in the area of emotional and behavioral change, specifically addictions and compulsions. This is different than from a medical hypnotist does who may work in pain control or with cancer patients for example. You find this out by first looking at their website if they have one, to see what client testimonials they have and what they had to say about the work that was done. Please find testimonials that actually say something other than the fact that they lost weight or were happy with the work. Look for testimonials that speak to the process involved and what they gained in return for their time, monetary investment and most importantly the trust they placed in that hypnotist. Look at what sorts of products they offer if they indeed offer any.

Next call the hypnotists up and ask them questions until you feel comfortable that you have the correct fit. If any practitioner is rushing you to make an appointment, thank them for their time and move on to somebody who is demonstrating an interest in working with you and your issue. When you contract to work with a hypnotist you are making a substantial financial investment, usually self paid. So do the research required to find the best fit for you. You are the one doing the hiring so take your time and do it well.

The last thing to be concerned with when you are hiring any professional is the cost. You are looking to receive value for your time and investment. Many of the more inexpensive hypnotists out there have just started to practice and are charging less for their services. Some of the most highly paid hypnotists out there have gone through a massive amount of training but have no experience. You are looking for the person who has the experience to know how to help you. If you follow the instructions above you will be thrilled with your results.

Part 5 – What is The Session Going to Be Like?

When you first come in to see a hypnotist they will begin by taking your personal history. Next they will explain what hypnosis is, and what it is not, to dispel any misconceptions that you may have. This is called a “pre-talk”. Once that is done they will ask you if you are ready to be hypnotized, hopefully contracting with you that they will do everything in their power to help you as long as you follow the directions given and do your best to follow along. Once the hypnosis is over, a post-talk will be done where you will be asked how it went and will go over what happened.

When you are in a hypnotic state you will feel the same as if you closed your eyes. You will notice that you are aware of everything that is happening around you, and will not care. You will be hyper-focused on what the hypnotist is saying. Understand that hypnosis is not the same as sleep. In the state of hypnosis that most hypnotists use, you will be able to respond to what they are saying. In fact it is necessary for you to hear and understand what is being said. You are the one who will determine just how deeply in trance you choose to go, and you are in control at all times. In fact you may pop out of hypnosis any time you choose, but understand that if the work is not finished you will need to be hypnotized again to complete the session.

Sometimes people who go into deeper trance states will notice that they may feel like they are floating, some feel heavier. In other cases they may feel tingling in their hands or feet, or may not even feel them at all as if they are numb. In other cases the client may feel as if they are floating above their bodies. In all cases when they are taken out of trance state they will be surprised to know how long they were in trance. They usually feel that it has been a much shorter time than it actually was. This is akin to when one is working on the computer and thinks a mere half an hour passed, yet is in a state of disbelief when looking at the clock realizing an hour and half went by.

All clients should be taught how to do self-hypnosis along with how to give themselves appropriate suggestions. These are really affirmations given to the unconscious or hypnotized mind.

Hypnosis is a wonderful method to use because anyone with normal intelligence who is without a history of psychosis can achieve much through utilizing their very own mind. It is amazing how fast the result can occur for many issues that other methods are unable to really address.

This concludes your free information. I trust that you found it helpful to find the correct hypnotist to assist you in achieving your goals.

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