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  • Daniel Pedley

What can you use hypnosis for?

Disregarding media myths and instead providing examples.

This is intended as a bit of an 'eye opener'.

What it can be used for.

The answer is quite simply "A lot", but examples will be provided. Hypnosis has a very broad spectrum of uses and applications, since it is almost only ever limited by the creativity and ingenuity of how it's used. Often in film, TV and other media, hypnosis is described as having certain powers, being other worldly, like magic or as though it can control you, as though hypnosis is being done 'to you' but this is simply not the case, as hypnosis is entirely within the mind of whoever is being hypnotised. No, there is not going to be a strange looking person in various states os strange dress chanting obscure words whilst making you dance the 'funky chicken' which is what most people would typically think of, however hypnosis in reality is far more practical, down to earth and broad in what it can be applied to and used for. I personally aim to take a more of a scientific focus to how I apply hypnosis with my clients, however that's not to say that it can't be a fun or enjoyable experience and often it can be used just for a pleasant time, that is that hypnosis can even provide a natural high should the need arise. Other applications for hypnosis that I will not directly discuss include forms of regression (taking you back to a certain time in your life, or indeed a 'past life' if that aligns with your beliefs) as well as neutral hypnosis which is more to practice seeing hypnosis as a mindset but doesn't have much practical application or function in itself.

Hypnosis can be used with physiological applications such as (but not limited to):

  • Aiding in the reduction of and dealings with of short-term or persistent pain and conditions that cause it (Whilst working with a consultant or GP in line with medical guidelines).

  • Helping with sleep regulation via pinpointing any issues with sleep.

  • Acting in place of/as a pain reducer instead of anaesthetics for those who are either allergic to or have a phobia of the administration of them in medical settings such as dentists or hospitals for treatment or surgery.

  • Increasing percieved energy levels and alertness and reducing fatigue.

  • Allowing onself to feel warmer or cooler, and other changes in sensation.

  • Increasing sports performance, strength and stamina.

  • Reducing or increasing cravings for certain foods (in line with contacting a GP).

  • Creating a physiological reaction to things you may wish to avoid E.G. feeling physically ill at the sight of a cigarette.

  • IBS treatment (often regarded as high standard and effective).

More often than not though, hypnosis is associated with helping with the more psychological of ailments, conditions and life's general daily challenges. Some of the many examples include:

  • Treating and managing phobias.

  • Smoking cessation.

  • Easing symptoms of depression, and when used in conjunction with CBT treating and managing it.

  • Changing or reversing habits (redusing or removing unhealthy habits, and replacing them with desirable or healthy ones).

  • As an aid to quit smoking, vaping or other addictions including food, alcohol or other substances.

  • Improving motivation.

  • Changing or manipulating one's self-image and improving self-esteem.

  • Cognitive restructuring to change how you think about a certain person, situation or thing.

  • Deep and effective relaxation.

  • Internal conflict resolution.

  • Problem solving.

  • Aiding in the forgiveness of oneself and others.

  • Mindset changes relating to and encouraging lifestyle shifts for weight loss or improving health.

  • Stopping or modifying unwanted or intrusive thoughts.

  • Associating one thought, behaviour or thing to another thought, behaviour or thing (anchoring).

  • Improving mood.

  • Helping to overcome guilt.

  • Anger management.

  • Improving assertiveness.

  • Managing and reducing anxiety.

  • Reducing and identifying causes of stress.

  • And many, many more given the level of creativity and application involved!

What it certainly can't.

Given how multifaceted hypnosis can be, it might be simpler to list some of the things that it cannot be used for. Hypnosis is not and cannot be harmful in itself, and for a detailed explanation of why, here is my blog post on what hypnosis actually is. Given that hypnosis is treated as a skill that can be learned and guided by the therapist, the self or another hypnosis practitioner, I will obviously start by stating that it cannot be used to control or to manipulate somebody, and will not influence them to do or think certain things unless they already deep down want to do or think a certain way, since it is their own mind that is in control. Hypnosis itself can clarify, magnify and exaggerate already present ideas or those introduced to somebody, and is reliant on a theory of self and mind (understanding oneself and others) and as such cannot be used:

  • To treat or help those with psychotic disorders such as Schizophrenia. This is because psychotic disorders cause a loss of touch with reality, delusions and hallucinations which can only be made worse by hypnosis.

  • With those with dementia since they can experience a loss in theory of mind, memory retention, emotional awareness and understanding and comprehensive skills.

  • To help with younger children, since they have not developed theory of mind.

  • To treat those who are at the time under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol because depending on the drug or alcohol consumed or taken, hypnosis may be hampered or may confuse or worsen any side effects that may be caused.

  • To help anybody with an addiction who is affected by severe side effects that may otherwise interfere with their perception of reality or cause delusions.

  • To aid those with comprehensive difficulties since hypnosis can sometimes be a process that requires to be taught in depth and repeated to be more effective.

  • To change people or interfere with people against their will. This is because hypnosis is undertaken by the person being hypnotised, and not a hypnotherapist or any other body. As such, the person hypnotised is in full control at all times.

Often what hypnosis can and can't be used for can be simply defined, but there are occasionally grey areas.

The Grey areas:

Just like many things in life, there are some areas that are not so cut and dry as to whether or not hypnosis can be used effectively. This is because these will vary from person to person on a case-by-case basis. These can include:

  • Helping to give up certain addictive substances such as drugs or alcohol, since the person must not be under the influence or experiencing any delusions or side effects at the time hypnosis is undertaken.

  • Working on helping and easing the symptoms of depressive disorders or those with suicidal ideations. This is because those that experience a sensation of loss of control will only experience that moreso during hypnosis, and as such this can be deterimental. However, if hypnosis is used to lift moods, shift mindsets and promote positive changes whilst a sense of control is established, hypnosis can still be effective.

  • Children who wish to undertake hypnosis or hypnotherapy will only be able to do so on the basis that they can demonstrate theory of mind, and that they understand both the instructions of whoever is teaching the hypnosis, as well as any ramifications or changes that may come as a result of undertaking hypnosis.

Found what you're looking for?

Think you could benefit? If, after reading this you have decided that hypnosis may be for you, either to treat an issue or in another therapeutic manner to improve your life, why not get in contact with me? By engaging in a discovery call, I can explain how Piper Therapy Services operates, how we can work with you and for you in order to offer you the most bespoke therapeutic plan possible, and how flexible we can be around your life. All of our work with clients is client centred, meaning that you have a say in how we work together, and how we can help you to help yourself. By building a bespoke plan, no two clients are treated in the same way, even for the same issue or need. This is entirely because we know that no two people are the same, and so our approach towards helping people should not be either. Individual plans for individuals all culminate in therapy that is accessible, involved and in the right circumstances even fun or enjoyable, and by providing all clients therapeutic skills training, working with myself at Piper Therapy Services can not just aid in anything you need help with now, but can equip you with a tool-kit to help you tackle whatever life may throw at you in the future. What are you waiting for? Contact us today!

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