An approach that complements other therapy styles to assist in managing symptoms, learning new skills and building self-belief
What is hypnosis? There are many different definitions and descriptions of hypnosis. At its most basic, hypnosis is a state of focused attention in which we are able to process information differently and use it to enhance positive changes in our lives. When in a state of focussed attention it is easier to consider and absorb new ideas, ways of thinking and approaches to a problem. It helps you to build a frame of mind that empowers you to reach your goals. Humans engage in this kind of absorption in their daily lives. For example, when you are reading a book and become so engrossed in the story that you do not notice that many hours have passed or when you are driving along a familiar route and arrive at your destination without remembering the details of how you got there.
For what is hypnosis used? Hypnosis is used in many different contexts to assist with a wide range of problems and difficulties where it is beneficial to have a positive attitude and approach to solving problems. Such problems/difficulties include: confidence building, assertiveness, stress/anxiety, fears and phobias, depression, pain management, sleep difficulties, smoking cessation, weight management and habit change. Hypnosis can be used with children and adults. It is best to discuss with your psychologist whether hypnosis is appropriate for your specific problems.
Please understand that receptionists are usually only able to provide very general responses to questions such as “will hypnosis work for me?” or “how many sessions will I need”. It will be better to discuss these questions with your psychologist in an initial consultation.
Can everyone be hypnotised? People do vary in their ability to be hypnotised. For hypnosis to be used successfully, it is important for a number of factors to be present. Typically, if people are very anxious, suspicious, and determined that they “can’t be hypnotised” it will be more difficult to obtain a relaxed, focused state.
How does it feel? Very normal. Sometimes people think that hypnosis is like being asleep, or like being in some form of coma where they are in a state of physical paralysis. Hypnosis in not like sleep or being in a coma. Instead, people are fully conscious, can hear what is happening around them, and can stop the process at any time if they choose. For most people hypnosis is a very pleasant and relaxing experience. It can be lovely to take time out to focus upon ourselves and reflect on the direction we want our life to take. Hypnosis can allow us to do this, often in combination with sensations of physical relaxation.
Will hypnosis be the only treatment I receive? Hypnosis is often used as one component of treatment and is used with other therapies such as cognitive behaviour therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy.
Who can do hypnosis? From July 1st 2010, hypnosis is no longer regulated in South Australia. This means that there will be no restrictions on who can practise hypnosis. Therefore, people who would like to consider hypnosis need to take care to ensure that the practitioners they consult have had professional training in hypnosis. For further information regarding hypnosis and qualifications, please visit the website of the South Australian Society of Hypnosis.
Can hypnosis help me to recover repressed memories? This is a very complex issue. As mentioned above, hypnosis is a state of focused in which information is processed differently. Memory is often sensitive to distortions in detail and accuracy. A memory recalled in hypnosis may be accurate but it also may not be accurate. Memory is not made more reliable by the use of hypnosis; hypnosis cannot be used to uncover the "truth" of what really happened in a person's past. Given these difficulties, it is very important to tell your psychologist about any pending legal matters when you first consult them – in some states the law can preclude evidence given by a person known to have undertaken hypnosis. For more information look for Michael Yapko’s book “Suggestions of Abuse.”