Does Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy work?
Psychologists at the US Stanford and Penn Universities have undertaken considerable research which shows that a hypnotic state does have an effect on the brain.
David Spiegel from Stanford discussed the brain scans of volunteers under hypnosis with the American Association for the Advancement of Science where even though the pictures or objects displayed were black and white, the volunteers had suggested under hypnosis that they were coloured. The brain scans showed that the brain area used to register colour had higher blood flow indicating, from previous experiments, that the volunteers were actually seeing the suggested colours.
Spiegel confirmed that the brain scans were scientific evidence that under hypnosis something does affect the brain which does not happen normally. This suggested that with self-hypnosis, or with a hypnotist, there was access to unconscious and conscious processes so that, for example, pain management could be done effectively and that the many other existing uses of hypnosis and hypnotherapy at last point out that there was a scientific basis to the effectiveness of hypnosis and that there was more to it than the so called “placebo effect”.
Psychology professor, William Ray at Penn State University, said that it has taken medical hypnosis hundreds of years to be finally recognized as a medically proven science that can assist healing without drugs. Hypnosis has shown credible relief and healing in case of phobias, chronic pain and drug addictions.
His teams of scientists and professors have done their own study of EEG and he said that it did suggest that under hypnosis, the individual has sensory sensations but the emotional experience of pain is completely removed. This is a big step forward in giving scientifically based credibility to medical hypnosis.
When hypnosis works as therapeutic techniques, you can now be more sure that it is effective. It is now a proven scientific method that allows you to tap into your subconscious or unconscious processes. Work in the UK by Professor L G Walker, at Hull University Hospital, with Cancer and AIDS sufferers, has also suggested that the group of volunteers that had guided visualisation (ie Hypnosis) survived longer and had a better chance of recovery than the control group who had no visualisation.
If you have a look at the BBC documentary on Hypnotherapy with Professor Kathy Sykes and the MRI scan performed during Hypnosis at Hull University – the brain lights up in a particular spot with Hypnosis that it doesn’t with meditation and suggestion alone. Therefore hypnosis is a real phenomenon: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/8359170.stm
What is trance?
Hypnotic trance is not a state of unconsciousness or sleep but a trance-like state but where your conscious and sub-conscious minds are equally awakened actually more alert and aware. Your morality and free will is completely active and the hypnotist cannot make you do anything that goes against your core beliefs, morals or free will. It is a voluntary state of enhanced awareness. You will have already experienced trance without being aware of it when you enjoyed a good book or film, or you are a sportsman, singer or actor “getting into the Zone” or even just texting or writing or doing important work – this is trance – an enhanced focus and awareness. If you can be trained to utilise this innate power – then the dentist has no fears – you imagine yourself on a beach and turn the sensations of pain down. If you have a fear phobia or unwanted habit – or just want to lose weight – you simply learn to reprogram your unconscious processes with a skilled hypnotherapist so that you learn to find the “best way every time” instead of “the worst way”. Hypnosis facilitates change.
Russell Potts, a Deep Trance specialist, who I have trained with, was fed up with clients saying that they always “fell asleep” in session or listening to his reinforcement cds. He sat in volunteers bedrooms until they fell asleep and when they were asleep he said: “Russell here – if you are aware of me raise a finger” – which they did.. he then told them some important message that they were to repeat back to him the next day. He asked them to confirm they had the message by raising a finger then left. The next day without exception they were able to tell him the message.
He and I both believe that you are in trance not asleep but that even if you were to fall asleep – you are still hearing and learning new beneficial strategies.
I tell any Doctors or Nurses that come to see me that tale because there was a case in the US not so long ago where a man had an operation and the surgeon cracked jokes about his appearance throughout. When the Man came out of anaesthetic he summoned his lawyer and then summoned all those in the operating theatre and under oath they had to testify that the surgeon had made these jokes and the surgeon was successfully sued!
If you work with a skilled hypnotherapist properly trained and properly accredited and supervised you can make significant changes in your life – I have lost count of people who came to me as “the last resort” and then wished that they had explored hypnotherapy and NLP as a first resort.
Graham Howes ASHPH GHR registered GHSC regulated CNHC approved Deep Trance PTSD and Timeline trained Advanced Hypnotherapist