In order to understand hypnotherapy, it is necessary to understand the underlying concepts of hypnosis.
What is hypnosis ?
It is far easier to describe what hypnosis is not rather than to describe what it is. For example, it is not one person controlling the mind of another. The client is not unconscious and does not lose control of his or her faculties. People will not do things under hypnosis that they would be unwilling to do otherwise. The person being hypnotized is always in control. The hypnotized person decides how deep the trance will be, what suggestions will be accepted, and when to awaken. Therefore, a hypnotized person cannot be forever "lost" if the therapist should fall dead during an induction or while the patient is deep in trance.
Hypnosis is first and foremost a self-accepted journey away from the reality of the moment. Although the trance state is often referred to as if the client is asleep, nothing could be further from the truth. The client is aware at all times. The hypnotic subject is simply in a heightened, more receptive state of mind. This fact is proven with inductions called open-eye techniques, where the client keeps his/her eyes open during the hypnotherapy. Full and deep trance is still achievable.
Trance is commonplace. People fall into trances many times without even being aware that it happened. Examples are: reaching the destination of a morning commute, but not recalling the passing of familiar landmarks; daydreaming while sitting in a college classroom; or that anxiety-free state achieved just before going to sleep. The difference between these altered states and clinically used hypnotherapy is that a professionally trained person is involved in helping the client achieve the trance, which can be done in many ways.
A typical hypnotherapy session has the client seated comfortably with their feet on the floor and palms on their lap. Of course, the client could choose to lie down if that option is available and if that will meet the client's expectation of hypnosis. The therapist can even set the stage for a favorable outcome by asking questions like, "Would you prefer to undergo hypnosis in this chair or on the sofa?" Once clients make the choice, they are in effect agreeing to undergo hypnosis. Depending on the approach used by the therapist, the next events can vary, but generally will involve some form of relaxing the client. Suggestions will lead the client to an increasingly relaxed state. The therapist may wish to confirm the depth of trance by performing tests with the client. For example, the therapist may suggest that when the eyes close that they will become locked and cannot be opened. The therapist then checks for this by having the clients try to open their eyes. Following a successful trial showing the client's inability to open the eyes, the therapist might then further relax them by using deepening techniques. Deepening techniques will vary for each client and depends largely on whether the client represents information through auditory, visual, or kinesthetic means. If the client is more affected by auditory suggestions, the therapist would use comments such as "You hear the gentle sound of rain on the roof;" or, "The sound of the ocean waves allow you to relax more and more." For the visual person, the therapist might use statements such as, "You see the beautiful placid lake, with trees bending slightly with the breeze." Finally, with the kinesthetic person phrases such as, "You feel the warm sun and gentle breeze on your skin," could be used. It is important for the therapist to know if the client has difficulty with the idea of floating or descending because these are sometimes used to enhance the experience for the client. However, if the client has a fear of heights or develops a feeling of oppression with the thought of traveling downward and going deeper and deeper, suggestions implying the unwanted or feared phenomenon will not be taken and can thwart the attempt.
Hypnotherapy is a combination of hypnosis and therapeutic intervention. The therapist leads the client to positive change while the client is deeply relaxed in a state of heightened suggestibility called trance.
Hypnotherapy has been used to stop self-destructive and addictive habits like smoking. It has also been used to curb the urge to eat for overeaters, cure insomnia, stop bed-wetting, and minimize anxiety. Excessive stress can be generated from any number of sources and can be the springboard for anxiety. Some of the more prominent sources of anxiety and stress for which people seek hypnotherapy are: public speaking, test taking, and job stress. Hypnotherapy also works well for other anxiety disorders such as phobias and has proven to be an effective treatment for mild to moderate depression. In one study, hypnotherapy was used in conjunction with traditional cognitive therapy, to assist persons who had severe aversion to needles. The treatment was necessary, because it was essential that each participant receive periodic medical injections. However, the participants would have become non-compliant without the adjunct intervention of hypnotherapy. In another case, involving care for terminally ill cancer patients, it was concluded that hypnotherapy was more effective at enhancing quality of life and relieving anxiety and depressive symptoms, when compared to others who received traditional care.
Confusion can occur when one seeks a hypnotherapist, as a result of the various titles, certifications, and licenses in the field. Many states do not regulate the title "hypnotist" or "hypnotherapist," so care must be exercised when selecting someone to see. As a rule, it is best to consult a professional in the field of mental health or medicine, although alternative sources for hypnosis are available. Care must be taken also by the therapist to ensure adequate training and sufficient experience for rendering this specialized service. The therapist must be well grounded in a psychotherapeutic approach before undertaking the use of hypnotherapy. Professionals should not attempt hypnotherapy with any disorder for which they would not use traditional therapeutic approaches. The client seeking hypnotherapy is reminded that unskilled or amateur hypnotists can cause harm and should not be consulted for the purpose of implementing positive change in an individual's life. The detrimental effects of being subjected to amateur or inadequately trained persons can be severe and long lasting. (See abnormal results below.)
Before people subject themselves to hypnotherapy, they are advised to learn as much about the process and about the chosen therapist as is necessary to feel comfortable. Rapport and trust are two key ingredients in making a potential hypnotherapy patient comfortable. Therapists should be open and willing to answer all questions regarding qualifications, expertise, and methods used. A well-qualified professional will not undertake the use of hypnosis without interviewing the client to ascertain their level of understanding of the process. This is very important for two reasons. First, it allows the client the opportunity to have questions answered and to develop some rapport with the therapist. Second, it is important for the therapist to know the client's expectations since meeting these expectations will enhance the likelihood of success.
Tergantung tujuan hypnotherapi (berhenti merokok, penurunan berat badan, memperbaiki kemampuan berbicara di depan umum atau melepaskan masalah emosional yang dalam), sebaiknya datang kembali untuk difollow-up. Dalam menyetop kebiasaan buruk yang tidak diinginkan, sebaiknya mendatangi kembali ke terapisnya untuk melaporkan hasilnya dan mengikuti sesi hypnotherapi berikutnya untuk memperkuat hasilnya.
One obvious risk to clients is the insufficiently trained therapist. The inadequately trained therapist can cause harm and distort the normally pleasant experience of hypnotherapy.
A second risk for clients is the unscrupulous practitioner who may be both inadequately trained and may have some hidden agenda. These rare individuals are capable of causing great harm to the client and to the profession. As mentioned above, the client should carefully scrutinize their chosen therapist before submitting themselves to this dynamic form of therapy.
The result of hypnotherapy is overwhelmingly positive and effective. Countless success stories exist attesting to the benefits of this technique. Many people have stopped smoking, lost weight, managed pain, remembered forgotten information, stopped other addictions, or improved their health and well-being through its use.
Abnormal results can occur in instances where amateurs, who know the fundamentals of hypnosis, entice friends to become their experimental subjects. Their lack of full understanding can lead to immediate consequences, which can linger for some time after the event. If, for example, the amateur plants the suggestion that the subject is being bitten by mosquitoes, the subject would naturally scratch where the bites were perceived. When awakened from the trance, if the amateur forgets to remove the suggestion, the subject will continue the behavior. Left unchecked, the behavior could land the subject in a physician's office in an attempt to stop the itching and scratching cycle. If the physician is astute enough to question the genesis of the behavior and hypnosis is used to remove the suggestion, the subject may experience long-term negative emotional distress and anger upon understanding exactly what happened. The lack of full understanding, complete training, and supervised experience on the part of the amateur places the subject at risk.
Training requirements vary greatly worldwide with the key determining factor being whether the use of hypnotherapy is state-recognized in a given area. In many parts of the world there are no requirements and, in theory, anyone can name themselves a hypnotherapist and begin practicing. Other districts, however, to define and legislate for hypnotherapy and these qualifications vary greatly. In the most extreme cases, hypnotherapy is only allowed to be practiced by a qualified medical professional of another area of expertise such as psychology, psychotherapy or psychiatry. This in effect rules out hypnotherapy as a stand-alone profession in the affected areas. Generally this strict approach is rare and in most parts of the world it's up to the individual to ensure their training is to a suitable standard.
Suitable training will generally require a minimum of 300 hours of education. Some hypnotherapists are trained in a specialty such as smoking, and receive much less training. Hypnotherapy is about working with people - in a proper learning environment the trainee has the opportunity to practice on their fellow classmates and teachers, with full support from the staff while they learn. Errors can be picked up while being observed. This can iron out any bad habits before they develop. This experiential approach to hypnotherapeutic training is essential in order to be able to work effectively with clients in a real therapeutic setting. Some hypnotherapy schools do offer distance learning courses in the form of video DVDs or audio CDs, but the value of learning in-person for an art form as subtle as hypnotherapy cannot be understated.
When it comes to becoming a hypnotherapist, training requirements and state registration requirements vary greatly around the world, ranging from no qualifications being required to practise right up to needing to be a state-certified professional in the field of mental health. Those interested in becoming a hypnotherapist should first research the laws in their district and then consider joining a professional organisation that can guide them in proper training and offer a central code of ethics and disciplinary procedure that they can commit to. This provides assurance to clients and a good ethical framework for the therapist in question.
Professional organisations usually have their own set of guidelines and code of ethics to abide by, and require a number of hours of professional development every year to ensure the highest quality in treatment. Many hypnotherapists undertake this kind of professional development and will continue to do it until they stop practicing.
Licensing Boards ~ USA
American Council of Hypnotist Examiners: Organized in 1980, ACHE certifies examiners worldwide
National Board for Certified Clinical Hypnotheraphists: Organized in 1991, the NBCCH certifies professional in the field of hypnotheraphy
US Definition for Hypnotherapist
The U.S. (Department of Labor) Directory of Occupational Titles (D.O.T. 079.157.010) supplies the following definition:
"Hypnotherapist-- Induces hypnotic state in client to increase motivation or alter behavior pattern through hypnosis. Consults with client to determine the nature of problem. Prepares client to enter hypnotic states by explaining how hypnosis works and what client will experience. Tests subject to determine degrees of physical and emotional suggestibility. Induces hypnotic state in client using individualized methods and techniques of hypnosis based on interpretation of test results and analysis of client's problem. May train client in self-hypnosis conditioning".