So, what is hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is a form of therapy used to reprogram the subconscious mind. When under hypnosis, you put your mind and body into a heightened state of learning, making you more susceptible to suggestions for self-improvement or behavior modification, the American Psychological Association points out. Many describe hypnosis as a state of focused attention. They feel very calm and relaxed. Media portrayal of hypnosis does it a disservice because it creates an aura of power between the hypnotist and person being hypnotized, says Eric B. Spiegel, PhD, president of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis and practice director at the Attune Philadelphia Therapy Group.
You may have been hypnotized on your own without even realizing it, Dr. Spiegel says. “You may have been daydreaming at a traffic light and got so lost in your own thoughts that you didn’t realize the light has changed. That’s hypnosis.”
“As a general rule of thumb, most people are hypnotizable—about 10% are highly hypnotizable, meaning they can be hypnotized during childbirth or in surgery in place of anesthesia, while 60 to 70 percent are moderately hypnotizable meaning that it could help with anxiety, smoking cessation, weight loss,” he says.
What isn’t hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is not like what you see in stage shows, where you’ll often see people barking like a dog or clucking like a chicken, according to the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis. There are no swinging pocket watches. In a hypnotherapy session, you are in control the whole time. You will hear the suggestions made to you, and you will be able to remember them after the session. Here’s a primer on how hypnotherapy works.