Few methods of medicine exert as much fascination as hypno or hypnotherapy. To this day, there are a number of other prejudices between the fear of being at the mercy of the hypnotized person and the hope of waking up after a deep sleep without any memory but without any problems and pain. Even the (limited) recognition of hypnotherapy as a scientific method in psychotherapy has not led to its complete dissolution. Therapy in hypnosis can do valuable work for mental and physical complaints and help to shorten the duration of other therapy procedures.
Hypnotherapy as a naturopathic treatment
Although modern hypnotherapy is currently used as a healing method, particularly in a psychotherapeutic context, it can also be easily classified as a natural therapy. Because it fulfills the requirement to release the body's own defenses and to regulate functional processes of a physical and psychological nature by initiating self-organizational processes.
Because hypnosis also works without the artificial separation of body and psyche by acting at the interface of these levels, there have always been numerous practitioners from the field of naturopathy who expand their therapeutic spectrum with hypnosis techniques. Finally, therapeutic hypnosis is rooted in the shamanic ceremonies of numerous indigenous peoples, which were used to cure illnesses of a physical and mental-spiritual nature.
Hypnosis as a state of consciousness
The state of consciousness, which we call hypnosis today and which is used for healing purposes, has been known since time immemorial. This suggests that it is a natural phenomenon and that humans are innate in the ability to reach this state of consciousness. First of all, it is to be understood as a state of focused attention, in which distracting stimuli of all kinds can be hidden. These include, for example, noises, worries or pain. But what exactly is this condition and how do we recognize it?
Thought processes in hypnosis
There are a number of hypnotic phenomena that distinguish the trance-like state in hypnosis from everyday waking consciousness. This includes, for example, the relaxation of logical-analytical thought processes in favor of an image and symbolic processing of information, similar to what happens when dreaming. Also known are an increased ability to remember hypnosis (hyperamnesia), which can go back to early childhood, but also the inability to remember the hypnosis experience just ended (amnesia).
Although named after the god of sleep, hypnosis should rather be understood as a relaxed waking state in which certain areas of the brain show altered activity. The mind is awake, the state of trance can be ended independently at any time, so that we are not at will. This applies at least to the form of hypnosis used in hypnotherapy, which must be clearly differentiated from the so-called “show hypnosis” (see video). Here, too, there are no secret secrets unintentionally divulged, as many fear. But there is an increased suggestibility; this means that it is easier to accept external suggestions. Due to a distorted perception of time, the duration of the hypnosis may seem surprisingly short or long.
Body sensations and changes in hypnosis
The body experience changes during hypnosis. Typically, the eyelids begin to flutter; movements of the eyeballs can become visible. Hypnotized people feel lighter, heavier or stiff; sometimes there is involuntary movement of the extremities. There may be a feeling of coolness around the body while the face may stay warm. Pain and fear are reduced, feelings of tingling and tingling on different parts of the body appear on their own or can easily be caused by suggestions.
Measurable changes can be seen in the state of hypnosis in all areas that are subject to the control of the autonomic nervous system. That is the part of the human nervous system that we cannot control through our conscious will. For example, it affects heartbeat and digestion. In the state of hypnosis, the blood pressure drops, the heart beats slower, the breaths become calmer and deeper. The muscles continue to relax and less stress hormones are released from the adrenal cortex.
Therapy in hypnosis
A distinction must be made between the state of hypnosis and hypnosis therapy, which uses the increased ability to be influenced and other hypnotic phenomena to cure various ailments in a variety of ways.
That is less popular today classic hypnosis with “covering”, direct suggestions that changes are generally not able to bring about permanently. The sole mission: "From now on you will no longer smoke", overlooks the fact that smoking may have an important function that can only be understood, changed or resolved by more profound changes.
This form of hypnosis also works with the authority and "special" ability of the hypnotherapist. Today, many therapists prefer an equal relationship with clients, in which both work at eye level and together to bring about healing.
In contrast to classic hypnosis, one is systemically oriented Hypnotherapy according to Milton Erickson strives to circumvent resistance to healing. To do this, one uses the thinking and language patterns, beliefs and behaviors of the client very individually in "hypnotic communication" in order to initiate processes of change on deeper levels. Stories, metaphors, visualizations and targeted formulations are sometimes used so indirectly that they are not even noticed by the hypnotized person.
It is less strategic, but just as resource-oriented and individually oriented Self-organizing hypnosisin Germany, in particular by Dr. Götz Renartz is developed and disseminated. “Resource-oriented” means that a person's individual strengths and abilities are used and linked to it.
With this form of hypnotherapy, it is assumed that a person must develop according to his own nature in order to stay healthy in the long term. External influences that inhibit this development, for example through self-imposed or external bans, are exposed or symbolized and changed. In hypnosis, archetypal "helpers" are visualized, who assist the patient in dealing with more or less traumatic events and finding optimal solutions. These can be wise figures, inner healers or protectors who appear in various images in the mind's eye.
In the Hypnoanalysis, a further development of psychoanalysis, deeper problems are also uncovered and resolved, with hypnosis based on psychoanalytic principles.
Effect and use of hypnosis
Hypnosis is used by therapists from medicine, naturopathy, psychotherapy, in counseling and coaching. The results differentiate between the general effect and the specific effect.
The state of hypnosis has a beneficial effect on hypertension, sleep disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, an irritable bladder and any other nervous-related disorder solely by influencing the vegetative nervous system when used regularly. Anxiety and chronic back pain can only be positively influenced by the general effects of hypnosis. In the state of inner relaxation, this effect can be specifically strengthened by suggestions. If you tend to feel restless and feel stressed, regular use of self-hypnosis has a balancing effect.
Memories of past experiences and skills can sustainably strengthen self-esteem. New perspectives and changed thinking patterns help to give up unfavorable behaviors or symptoms. Situations filled with fear or requiring performance such as exams or sporting competitions can be tested and prepared on the “inner stage”. As with actual practice, the brain also relearns imaginations when they are “experienced” with all senses, so that new connections can arise in the neural network. In medicine and psychosomatics, organs can be visualized directly and “treated” or questions can be asked in the internal dialogue about backgrounds. The most well-known and popular uses of hypnosis can certainly be found in weight loss, smoking cessation and pain and anxiety reduction at the dentist. (Jvs, kh)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Magistra Artium (M.A.) Katja Helbig, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch
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