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 engage in 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 participated 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, hypnosis involves the use of your free will. You choose to respond to the suggestions given in the state of hypnosis. The “inner hypnotist” is the part of you that says, “I can and will allow myself to relax.” Since your own free decision is engaged, you will only respond when you want to respond.
The ability to be hypnotized is not the same as gullibility. In fact, the ability to be hypnotized points to a higher than normal capacity to engage in creativity and act as the “captain of your own ship,” in control of your body, mind, and emotions. In essence, it can free you from the hidden whims of your subconscious mind. When you are in hypnosis you are behind the wheel, driving your own life, and in better control.
Hypnotherapy has innumerable benefits. It can help you overcome addictions, lose weight, lower anxiety, learn new skills, address childhood traumas that disrupt your life, improve your relationships, and help you cope with the emotional turmoil of the pandemic.
In a hypnotic state, you are more resourceful and creative because you gain access to more dimensions and levels of consciousness. You experience yourself as more than your normal waking thoughts, beliefs, and feelings. You are expanded to include access to your subconscious and your super-conscious self. In hypnosis, you can access long-forgotten memories, promote self-healing, control pain, and become more intuitive. In hypnosis, you are also more receptive to positive suggestions that promote desired change.
This is an example of hypnotherapy effectiveness. To maintain anonymity, we’ve changed the details. Holly worked with a woman with symptoms of burnout, 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 was also allowed to 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 that allowed 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.