Long before psychotherapy, hypnosis was developed as a treatment for pain management by refocusing attention and promoting a state of profound relaxation that permited changes in sensations, thoughts, emotions and habits.
Hypnosis is a means of getting the brain to reinterpret what is happening in the body and change painful or disturbing physical and emotional sensations. Our approach draws from the humanistic approach in clinical hypnosis developed over the past 60 years, particularly through the work of Milton Erickson. This hypnosis emphasizes the collaboration between the client and therapist in developing goals and finding therapeutic outcomes. It also emphasizes the primary role of the client in the treatment -- all hypnosis is self-hypnosis.
The hypnotic state comes out of the client's deep relaxation that is initially brought about by the therapist's prompting, but eventually becomes a skill used by the client as required. Once the client achieves this state of relaxation, there is the possiblity to address the "unconsious" -- that background to our thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations that generally operates without direct communication to what we think of as our "conscious" self. All of our emotions and thoughts originate in our unconscious, generally with little participation by our "conscious" mind. These emotions and thoughts arise automatically, based on our pasts. Through hypnosis, we can end automatic and reactive responses to what is happening now. We can also utilize techniques that change how we experience our bodies and environment.
Hypnosis can be used to alter how our brains place attention on, or interpret, sensations, emotions, and memories. The conditions that are treated include:
- chronic or acute pain
- physical conditions including IBS, tics, headaches, warts and a number of others that have psychological underpinnings
- general anxiety and phobias
- fear of public spaces
- anger management
- poor sleep
- control over addictive or compulsive behaviors like smoking, gambling, pornography use, and impulsive eating.
Hypnosis can be used for clients of all ages. Some clients enter hypnotic trance easily, while others utilize particular aspects of the hypnotic experience without necessarily "entering" a trance state. However, virtually anyone can benefit from a hypnotic experience.