Although it’s been recognized as a valid therapy since 1958 in the United States, hypnotherapy is still considered controversial, with many people believing it is not effective and amounts to nothing more than hocus pocus. The evidence, however, says otherwise. Hypnotherapy has been proven effective at treating certain conditions, such as chronic pain, phobias, eating disorders, smoking cessation, weight loss, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), drug addiction and stress, among others.
Hypnotherapy is a treatment that practitioners use to bring about a relaxed or altered state of consciousness in people hoping to heal from trauma, stop a bad habit or recover from a physical ailment. It's had varying success though it's been used to treat a multitude of ailments. Let's look a little deeper.
Hypnotherapy: An Overview
Hypnotherapy, a therapy that involves inducing a state of hypnosis or focused concentration, has been around since the 18th century. However, it did not gain recognition as a valid therapy from the medical community until the middle of the 20th century. Before that time, it was considered to be fraudulent, a belief that has persisted to this day. This long-held belief may be why it's still considered controversial.
Hypnosis involves several stages. With the help of a hypnotherapist, patients reframe the problem they're focusing on before entering a relaxed state. During this state, the therapist helps them to disassociate from the issue and may even give suggestions for the future handling of the issue. After treatment, patients return to usual awareness and reflect on the issue once again.
Conditions Treated with Hypnotherapy
There are numerous conditions that can be treated via hypnotherapy including anxiety, depression and chronic pain. Hypnotherapy can also be used to establish good habits or expel bad ones related to sleep patterns, overeating, smoking, drug usage and physical activity.
Does Hypnotherapy Really Work?
Many studies have supported that hypnotherapy can be helpful in treating these conditions or bringing about desired behaviors. What’s more, studies have shown that hypnosis can lessen the need for anesthesia before surgery and/or reduce the rate of pain and complications in the post-surgery period. It can also reduce fatigue and hasten the recovery process.
Susceptibility is Key
Hypnosis really seems to work for many people. However, there is a small percentage of the populations for whom it simply will not work. Why? Susceptibility. Approximately 60% to 79% of people are moderately susceptible, with 5% to 10% being extremely susceptible to hypnosis. But about 25% to 30% of us are only minimally susceptible. The people who get little or only marginal relief from hypnotherapy are in this group.
Many therapists believe that susceptibility is reliant on how much the person believes in the treatment and how much they want/need help. It may be that if you believe in the treatment process, you’re more likely to have successful results.
Hypnotherapy seems to be a well-proven, effective therapy for many issues. However, it has varying success, which is dependent primarily on the susceptibility of the individual. Speaking to a qualified hypnotherapist can help determine your susceptibility. But given that it's not invasive, it may be worth the time and investment for those struggling with these issues.