May 8th, 2021
Co-authored by Dr. Holly Holmes-Meredith and Bill Yarborough.
Have you seen a Hollywood movie or TV show where a hypnotist gets someone to cluck like a chicken or perform another embarrassing act? Such stunts have caused hypnotherapy to be misunderstood for years, triggering many to avoid it entirely.
Hypnotherapy is not what the entertainment industry has “hypnotized” its audiences to believe. We know that because we’ve facilitated hypnotherapy sessions (Holly over 20,000) and taken part in hypnosis during life-changing, healing journeys.
So, sit comfortably, take a deep breath, and allow us to teach you what hypnotherapy really is…
You have actually already experienced the hypnotic state many times. Are you sometimes unresponsive when asked a question while absorbed in a captivating book? Do you easily lose track of time when you are sitting at your computer playing games? Or do you fall into “highway hypnosis”, a state of consciousness experienced when driving long distances where you daydream and forget crossing a familiar bridge or going through a tunnel? If so, you’ve spontaneously experienced the non-ordinary state of consciousness called hypnosis.
Hypnosis is natural. It’s the state we experience between waking and sleeping.
All hypnosis is a self-trance. Contrary to what most people believe, in hypnosis you use your own free will, choosing how to respond to suggestions. The “inner hypnotist” is the part of you that says, “I can and will allow myself to relax.” Since you are free to decide, you will respond only when and how you want to respond.
The ability to be hypnotized is not gullibility. In fact, the ability to be hypnotized points to a higher-than-normal capacity to engage in creativity and to act as the “captain of your own ship,” in control of your body, mind, and emotions. In essence, you gain freedom from the hidden whims of your subconscious. When you are in hypnosis, you’re behind the wheel, driving your life, and in better control.
Hypnotherapy has many benefits. It can help you overcome addictions, lose weight, lower anxiety, learn new skills, address childhood traumas that disrupt your life, and improve your relationships.
In a hypnotic state, you are more resourceful because you gain access to additional dimensions and levels of consciousness. You can experience yourself beyond your normal waking thoughts, beliefs, and feelings and gain insight into your subconscious and super-conscious self. Using hypnosis, you can retrieve long-forgotten memories, promote self-healing, control pain, and become more intuitive. You can also enhance receptivity to positive suggestions that promote desired change.
What follows are examples of hypnotherapy effectiveness. To keep anonymity, we’ve changed the details. Holly worked with a woman with symptoms of burnout, including an excessive desire to take care of others and unsatisfying relationships where she didn’t get her needs met. When she was a girl and teenager, her single mother expected her to care for her siblings, leaving little or no time for play. Using hypnotherapy, Holly and the woman did inner child work where the woman re-parented or re-imagined childhood experiences in which she could also live out her role as a child, freeing her from childhood patterns and perceptions that kept disrupting her life.
Bill used a hypnotic practice called skill rehearsal when he took on a role requiring him to perform ceremonial and speaking duties in a public forum that was new to him. Apprehensive that he would make mistakes given his inexperience, he created a hypnotic recording using his voice, allowing him to memorize and perform his duties in a calm and confident manner.
In most hypnotic states, you are relaxed, and when you return to wakeful consciousness, you feel refreshed and renewed. After a hypnotic session, you are likely to continue to think about what you experienced and enjoy the positive effects of the work you’ve done as you integrate new levels of insight into your conscious self. The positive effects will most often become part of your daily awareness and can help release distressing energy patterns that keep getting activated and replayed in your life.
If you would like to seek professional help from a qualified hypnotherapist, it’s important to choose someone with whom you feel comfortable. A well-trained hypnotherapist will have flexibility in their approach so they can match their client’s needs and responses. You should ask about a hypnotherapist’s credentials. Are they also licensed to provide counseling or psychotherapy? Many hypnotherapists are available online or in person. Teaching professionals often have interns who charge minimal amounts.
By Dr. Holly Holmes-Meredith, D. Min., MFT, Board Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist and Bill Yarborough, CHT, and Certified EFT Practitioner.
Below is the link to the May 2021 July Diablo Gazette. Our Emotional Health column is on page 15.