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Psychology and Hypnotherapy

Psychology is the scientific study of the human mind and human behavior. Psychologists investigate their subjects in a true scientific fashion. The majority of psychologists and hypnotherapists do a combination of research, teaching and treating patients. Hypnotherapy is a safe, effective branch of psychotherapy. Through simple techniques that can be learned easily, it uses hypnosis for therapeutic change by assessing the subconscious mind during trance. 

There is a lot of misinformation about psychology. There is the stigma that a person who sees a psychiatrist is mad or has head problems or that their behavior is not normal. Some believe that they are going to have their mind read or even that they need to see a therapist because other people around them have problems. There is even the vision of a psychologist as a professional who has the client lying on a couch telling all them all their past experiences. 

In hypnotism it is commonly believed a patient goes into a deep state of sleep or unconsciousness. It is believed that a person under hypnosis surrenders his or her will and even that one can get stuck in a trance. These misconceptions cause fear of surrender. People are afraid they will look foolish or reveal a dark secret about themselves. 

People know very little about either profession and do not always have a high regard of what these professionals are capable of. The mission of the psychologist and hypnotherapist is to empower the client to take control of their lives by managing stress, eliminating bad habits and overcoming phobias.

Psychotherapy treats mental disorders and behavioral disturbances using verbal and non-verbal communication, including psychological techniques such as support, suggestion, persuasion, reeducation, reassurance and insight in order to alter maladaptive patterns of coping, relieve emotional disturbance, and encourage personality growth. 

The aim of hypnotherapist is the same as psychologist, to modify behavior. As well as alleviating a range of disadvantageous habits and many physical ailments, hypnotherapy also deals in deep-seated problems involving themes and procedures in many ways similar to those addressed by many other branches of psychotherapy.

Psychologists tend to use practical exercises to modify behavior whereas the hypnotherapist uses suggestion. However the aim of both is to find and eliminate the underlying rudimentary cause of such things as irrational fears, emotional problems, relationship difficulties, psychosexual problems, lack of confidence, personality problems, sleeping difficulties,  stuttering/stammering, anxiety, inferiority complex, unhappiness, phobias, etc. and most other problems and issues where there is a psychological factor at work.

However psychology cannot change behavior instantly and can only benefit from using the valuable tool of hypnotherapy 

While the virtues of hypnosis and psychology has been presented for a wide variety of applications, the distinctions between them and other health professionals are rarely discussed. There is also the assumption that a hypnotherapist must be a psychologist or a psychiatrist who specializes in hypnoses. However a hypnotists and psychologist are professions unique onto itself. 

The medical world is still reluctant to endorse these alternative therapies. The Universities of Medicine does not offer any training in these fields. Any suggestion that the mind might have control over the body’s functions and that this control can be used consciously, is discarded by the medical profession.  

Many people have had the experience of going to their family doctor to find out about losing weight, only to have the doctor tell them to “eat less and exercise more.” Wise advice no doubt, but most people knew that before they went to their doctor. The question they have is “How do I get myself to eat less and exercise more?” While a medical doctor is a very qualified professional, medical school has not trained them how to motivate the individual to follow through. 

There are occasions when a hypnotherapist or psychologist may be involved in helping an individual with a medical or psychological problem, but usually does so under the written referral of the appropriate professional. 

Regardless of whether the hypnotherapist is working in areas of “vocational or vocational self-improvement counseling” or as a para-professional in conjunction with a medical doctor, psychologist, chiropractor or other health professional, the hypnotherapist should be recognized as the expert in the area of hypnosis and its application to the modification of human behavior and perception. 

It is noticeable to mention that part of the medical profession admits that hypnosis works and could be a very valuable tool for assisting psychological therapists. It is even admitted that hypnotism is of value and may be the treatment of choice in some cases of so-called psychosomatic disorder and psychoneurosis. The treatment has certainly proved its ability to remove symptoms and to alter morbid habits of though and behavior. 

Some doctors are against psychotherapy and hypnotherapy, as it does not involve physical interventions such as drugs or convulsive therapies. They see this as a competition and/or replacement of their profession. However hypnosis is gaining legitimacy as both the clinical and research areas gain interest in it and the work of many dedicated medical doctors has changed the skeptical attitude of some medical professionals toward the use of hypnosis. 

Hypnosis is sometimes the subject of bad press. Charcot, who introduced it to the medical world, did hypnotherapist no service when he associated it with hysteria, a condition that most people misunderstand and therefore fear. Once rejected by the medical community, hypnosis was taken on and changed by faith “healers” who gave it a reputation of miracle cures. 

These sentiments have nothing to do with reality, but false ideas then flourished and they continue to hold sway in many minds and hides what hypnosis really is. Unfortunately the harm has been done. Charlatans have instilled, often since childhood, preconceived ideas about hypnosis, which are now engraved forever into our minds. 

It is important to review these false ideas and to re-establish the truth of the matter. In doing so we can target the good application of hypnosis and get rid of the myths surrounding hypnosis. A correct image can only be established through properly trained professionals in the field.

The inexperienced hypnotherapist sometimes underestimates the physiological reaction of a subject to a suggestion.  It is for this reason that hypnotism should not be used unless by a trained qualified therapist. It is also advisable to choose the therapy wisely and to evaluate the subject’s personality before commencing any treatment. The greatest danger of hypnotism lies with the woolly-headed, incompetent or badly trained practitioner. If they are not well trained there is a possibility of exacerbating existing problems, or a remote chance of creating new problems.

Unfortunately there are also cases of individuals who suffered from various sorts of personality and emotional disorders prior to hypnosis, and then after therapy blamed the therapy for their problems.  The lesson here is that hypnosis is safe when the therapist is properly trained to deal with the problem at hand. Even a safe procedure like hypnosis can help precipitate a serious problem in some people if used for generally psychotherapy without adequate knowledge of both psychotherapy and hypnosis. 

It is not a casual interaction, but an intimate communication that should be used with respect. Just as it would be irresponsible to do other sorts of psychotherapy without training, hypnosis used irresponsibly can have unexpected and even unfortunate results with people who already have underlying serious problems. 

The risks of using hypnosis for change are roughly the same as for those for other forms of psychotherapy. Competently performed it has virtually no risk or danger. Skillfully utilized suggestion by a malicious or unethical hypnotist, or hypnosis used with a particularly vulnerable person has some possible real psychological danger associated. 

The drama and entertainment of stage hypnotist has a lot to answer for the image of hypnosis. They are entertainers and give the impression they can make the subject commit any act while under hypnosis. . He will sometimes make the volunteer do embarrassing things, like barking like a dog or some other display to entertain the audience. Whatever action one sees people perform on stage is done because they want to. In therapy there is no reason for the client to behave in a way that is entertaining. 

by Meeka O'Brien  

Dip.Clin.Hyp.

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