Hypnosis and hypnotherapy are well recognized methods for psychotherapy, medicine and dentistry.
Hypnosis has a long tradition as a therapeutic method. Since several thousands of years, suggestive and trance rituals have been integral parts of healing processes. Their importance has been lately rediscovered by modern psychotherapy, medicine and dentistry – with growing significance.
The trance state is usually subjectively perceived as deeply relaxing. Sometimes vivid pictures or emotions become accessible that are perceived much more intense, more “realistic" than while awake. Suggestions are more likely accepted in trance and thus can contribute to healing processes.
Direct and indirect suggestions open the doorway to hidden skills and subconscious potentials. In trance the client experiences that he already has all the resources that he has not been aware of.
Hypnosis can be used on its own or in a combination with other therapy methods for psychic, psychosomatic or bodily disorders.
The psychotherapeutic use of hypnosis is called as “hypnotherapy". In the area of medicine it is also known as “clinical hypnosis". When used by dentists it is called “dental hypnosis".
Indications when hypnosis is applicable (excerpt):
• Psychosomatic disorders
• Excessive, compulsive behaviour
• Sexual disorders
• Post-traumatic disorders
• Personality disorders
• Pain (organic, psychogen, jatrogen)
• Dentistry (fear, pain)
• Birth and preparation for birth
• Surgery and preparation for surgery
• First aid
• Attention deficit / behavioural disorders and hyperkinesis in children
For these hypnosis can be useful:
What indicates a hypnotic trance?
In contrast to being fully awake a human experiences a hypnotic trance as dream-like. The awareness is directed into an individual. This heightens the receptivity to a more pictorial and symbolic way of language like suggestions, comparisons, fairytales and analogies. The therapist can provide positive impulses through suggestions and metaphors. The “outer" reality vanishes into the background. This state is comparable to day-dreaming, meditation or being deeply focused while reading.
In trance the subthreshold awareness is very sensitive. Even whie being awake we always pick-up much more information than we can consciously recognize. On a party, for example, we are able to tune into a discussion with a person while all the surrounding seems not to exist. But as soon as we hear our name from somewhere we are fully alert. In hypnosis we work specifically with this very special subconscious form of communication.
Another penomena of the hypnotic trance are so called “dissociative processes". For example someone can perform movements that are completely independant of the conscious awareness. e.g. a finger provides a signal “on its own" upon a question of the therapist. Or soemone writes something even without even noticing that he is currently writing.
Does this mean that in hypnosis we don’t have a will or we become heteronomy?
Clearly no. Modern hypnosis respects a client or patient as a cooperation-partner and active framer of his personal trance-process. There is nothing like manipulation rather than opening to new chances and options to utilize latent capabilities.
Psychological changes under hypnosis
In hypnosis some changes occur that are scientifically well explored. Some of them are: a lowering of the muscle-tone, heartbeat frequency and blood-pressure, slower and more balanced respiration, changes in some certain areas of the brain, reduction of the level of stress-hormones, changes in the hemogram as well as a lowered sensitivity of reflexes.
Hypnsis is capable to positively influence physiological stress-reactions. Because of this hypnosis is a virtue treatment for disorders that are caused or influnenced by phsychic distress.
The power of hypnosis is clearly visible for example in the field of anaesthetics: a patient can undergo surgery just with the help of trance. He does not feel any pain and the the healing process afterwards is verifiably accelerated.
Scientific evidence of the efficiency of hypnotherapy
Currently there are more than 170 international publications of scientific research available that show clear evidence the efficiency of hypnotherapy. There is a broad field where hypnosis is used: it reaches out from the field of psychotherapy to medical support. Hypnosis can also be used for smoking cessation and for weight regulation in obese or anorexic people. There is some extraordinary positive evidence of efficiency in the field of psychosmatic discomfort like headaches, migraine and other chronic pains, but it also works for irritable bowel disease, high blood pressure, asthma and neurodermitis. Proven is the treatment of all kinds of fear like phobias of any kind and even fear of an upcoming exam. It works very well for insomnia and non organ-related sexual disorders. Notably is the broad spectrum in the medical area: anaesthetics and relaxation for surgery, radiologic examinations, support of healing processes and improvement of the comfort after surgery, improved cancer survival rate, reduction of the side-effects of chemo- and radiationtherapy, improvement of pain caused by cancer, preparation for giving birth and reduction of the pain during labour and giving birth, acceleration of healing after burns and fractions, treatment of warts, tinnitus and other specific ilnesses, and finally at the dentist.
In all of the above mentioned areas the successrate of hypnotherapy is about 70%. This is remarkable, as it shows evidence that hypnotherapy plays at least in the same league as other common methods in psychotherapy. Several studies have shown the reconcilableness of hypnotherapy to other kinds of therapy. Hypnosis along with cognitive therapies is remarkably more efficient than cognitive therapie on its own. Hypnotherapy can be combined with depth psychology to hypnoanalysis, with talking therapy and with systemic therapy.
Hypnotherapy is also widely used for groups and for self-hypnosis. This enables a patient to further help himself once the therapy has come to an end.