This is also on my main menue under Hypnosis — clients interested in hypnotherapy should print it out and read it slowly and carefully at least three times before talking with me about the options.
Brief Hypnosis Facts for Clients & Therapists
Bob Dick, PhD, CGP, AC
VM 919-215-4703 www.drbobdick.com Chapel Hill and Raleigh
Hypnosis is a powerful tool for strengthening both adults’ and children’s responsiveness
to treatment in most psychological, dental and medical issues – for example: the
anxieties (stress, tension, anxiety, phobia, PTSD), the depressions, unresolved grief,
relationship/couple and family/parenting difficulties; creative problem solving, enhancing
artistic expression; learning/study/test performance; both physical and mind-body
disease/healing; habit change, substance abuse, and dealing with death.
Clinical hypnosis is often understood as an altered state of consciousness, much like
other common altered states, like: “highway hypnosis”, meditation, deep prayer, day
dreaming, concentration, or enjoying imaginative fiction in movies or books. Greatly
increased focus and concentration automatically alter sensory, physical, thinking and
emotional processes and possibilities, and strongly enhance learning, self-exploration
and self-regulation. The resulting state of intense awareness and self-control is called
trance. Hypnosis has been approved and supported for many decades by both the
American Psychological and the American Psychiatric Associations.
It’s useful also to recognize what hypnosis is NOT. It is not a state of unconsciousness,
accompanied by loss of control or automatic amnesia. Neither is it something that
someone does “to” another person; ALL HYPNOSIS IS SELF-HYPNOSIS, and it’s
your trance, to use however you choose. Hypnosis is not a sleep state, and the EEG
more closely resembles a waking than a sleeping EEG. An individual in a trance
generally knows what is occurring, and will not reveal secrets. People who use trance
are not weak-minded or gullible; in fact, intelligence and the learnable skill of
concentration are necessary. There need be no concern about ending a trance, since
clients are aware and functional, and will choose the appropriate time to begin and end
Hypnosis is NOT a treatment in itself; it’s a tool to greatly strengthen treatment
relationships and instructions. Trance, often but not always, involves deep and active
relaxation, useful in itself. However, focused use of trance is what offers the opportunity
for exploration and changing thoughts, feelings, beliefs and behavior. In clinical
situations, hypnosis becomes an extension of the existing rapport relationship.
Although not essential, formal structured hypnotic techniques give both the clinician and
the client the opportunity to realize that something very unusual and constructive is
happening. Often helpful, these exercises make it simpler to allow, discover, and use
your own personal trance abilities – to learn to change yourself.
Attitudes that help develop clinical hypnosis include: the willingness to learn to
concentrate (practice makes progress); the willingness to believe that something
beneficial can result; and high motivation for personal change. Important principles
include: 1) Understanding that when one’s attention is repeatedly concentrated on
something, it makes goals much more likely and more easily accomplished (sometimes
called “positive thinking”); 2) Combined with imagination, emotion is a very powerful
tool for change; 3) Direct and indirect suggestions can be equally effective; 4) The
clinician’s verbal and nonverbal communications need to be consistent with the client’s
personal world and values.
Once trance has been established, additional suggestions and invitations are offered to
encourage deeper absorption in the client’s experience, and the development of some
of the useful phenomena of hypnosis, such as greatly increased receptiveness to
healing possibilities and choices for example, increasing flexibility and creativity;
increasing / enriching options and choices; enhancing self-regulation / body-mind
control; and disconnection from pain. Cooperative use of trance continues with
support and suggestions appropriate to the client’s changing needs. The clinician’s
positive attitude, support and interpretations usually increase the effectiveness of
hypnosis, and audio tapes may be recorded for regular practice at home. As the client’s
inter- and intra-personal experiences change, experienced clinicians will notice and
use feedback from the client to personalize the experience. As client and clinician work
together over time, they often recognize spontaneous readiness for trance. This permits
conversational trance, bypassing the classical, more structured induction techniques.
Hypnosis is not magic and not a cure-all, nor a substitute for experienced clinical
judgment & technique. It is used to get a client’s fullest and most receptive attention, in
order to speed cost-effective learning and change. Hypnosis is a very useful adjunct in
all health professions for both clients / patients & healers to : reduce stress ;
strengthen receptiveness to instruction & intuition ; increase physical & emotional
comfort ; maximize individualized learning potentials ; and to access internal abilities
and resources not usually available in ordinary consciousness.
Extensively edited by Dr. Bob Dick, PhD from a Kaye F. Thompson, D.D.S. handout