THE MANY USES OF CLINICAL HYPNOSIS
by Carin Friedman
Imagine a simple, harmless, non-evasive treatment that can resolve a multitude of
emotional and physical symptoms. Hypnosis, or hypnotherapy, is a mind-body technique
that has the potential to bring about remarkable and enduring healing quickly – often in as
little as one to three sessions. In this present time of obvious stress and considerable life
challenges, hypnotherapy can potentially bring about life altering change and
address a wide range of psychological needs for many individuals.
Dealing with Stress
Humanity appears to be in the midst of significant change – economically, politically,
technologically, environmentally, psychologically, and spiritually. The field of mental
health needs to be an integral part of addressing these challenges and transformations.
Health care providers are encountering countless individuals and families who are
currently in tremendous need psychologically as they face a variety of major life stressors
and attempt to cope with these multiple issues. At the same time, practitioners and
patients need to open their minds to alternative modes of therapy to align with this “New
Age” and address these issues more effectively and efficiently.
Hypnosis, which is basically achieving a relaxed state of focused concentration, has
been used in one form or another for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians,
Greeks, and Romans used the induction of trance states in their religious and healing
practices. Its modern use dates back to a Viennese doctor, Franz Anton Mesmer, who
used hypnosis to treat a variety of emotional and physical problems in the 1700’s. A
century later, the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, wrote about practiced
hypnosis extensively. He used free association, relaxation techniques, and formal
hypnosis in an attempt to facilitate individuals to reach deeper levels of
consciousness as part of their emotional healing, or catharsis.
To date, hypnotherapy has been used to treat an extensive range of issues, such as
curing headaches…smoking cessation…eliminating nausea…decreasing anxiety and
depression…even improving one’s golf game. There are numerous hypnotherapeutic
techniques, all aimed at reduction or elimination of
distressing symptoms through the re-programming of the deeper levels of consciousness.
Research in this area has increased dramatically in recent years and is yielding promising results.
One form of clinical hypnotherapy I find particularly useful is referred to as
“regression therapy”. Regression Therapy involves guiding an individual back in time for
the purpose of emotional and/or physical healing. It is an often remarkably effective form of
treatment that aims to uncover the root cause or causes of symptoms that are presently
causing distress and resolve that symptom or set of symptoms permanently. I have
successfully used regression therapy for several years as a psychotherapeutic tool to
address nearly the full range of emotional and physical disorders and symptoms.
Regression therapy can be used to treat chronic pain, emotional trauma, unresolved
grief, phobias, anxiety, panic, depression, low self-esteem, and relationship issues.
Furthermore, it is an excellent tool for those seeking deeper self understanding or
spiritual growth. In regression therapy, the therapist uses an induction such as
progressive relaxation to help the patient achieve a relaxed state of focused concentration.
Then, he or she guides the patient back in time to retrieve memories that may still be
negatively influencing the patient’s present life experience – oftentimes the source of the
patient’s present symptoms. Whereas traditional talk therapies often require long periods
of time to yield positive change, regression therapy commonly leads to significant,
positive results in a single to a few sessions. This may be because it adds a very personal
experience component to the psychotherapeutic process.
Deep Relaxation and Emotional Healing
Some psychotherapists believe that all individuals have the innate capacity for
achieving deeply relaxed states as well as emotional and physical well-being.
Moreover, even those who appear to have limited ability or difficulty relaxing can still
achieve adequate relaxation levels for healing to occur – with proper technique and
practice. In addition, therapists can teach patients how to self-hypnotize, meditate, and
practice relaxation techniques at home for continuity of practice and maintenance of inner
peace and well-being.
In any capacity, hypnosis and regression therapy are powerful mind-body techniques
that can lead to significant and enduring physical and emotional healing. Whether one’s
goal is to eliminate a troubling symptom, to heal from a loss or trauma, to increase coping
skills in a time of stress, or to grow spiritually and emotionally, hypnotherapy is an
excellent treatment choice.
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