Frequently Asked Questions
Does hypnosis really work? During the 20th century medical and mental health scientific institutions have clearly established the benefits of altered states of mind, guided imagery, and suggestion. The American Medical Association approved hypnosis as a valid intervention in 1958. The American Psychological Association followed their lead in 1959.
How long has hypnosis been around? The history of hypnosis goes at least back as far as the sleep temples in ancient Egypt. And, Hippocrates, the 4th century B.C. “father of medicine” used techniques that can be described as hypnotic. In the 18th century, the Austrian medical doctor, Franz Anton Mesmer, who affected hundreds of mental and medical cures through the use of his “animal magnetism” was accused by Benjamin Franklin of achieving his successes merely through the use of the power of suggestion. Although Mesmer and Mesmerism was in disrepute, his contribution lived on in the works of others such as James Esdaile, the British surgeon who completed over 300 radical surgeries using mesmerism as his only form of anesthetic. The word hypnosis was coined in the 1890’s by another British doctor by the name of James Braid, who likened the dazed state that his subjects attained as a modified sleep state. He used the Greek word “hypnosis” to describe this state. Since Braid, notables such as Hippolyte Bernheim, Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Jean-Martin Charcot contributed to the field. The three most notable contributors of the 20th century were Ormand McGill, Ph.D., Milton H. Erickson, who convinced the AMA to approve hypnosis, and David Elman. Ericksonian Hypnosis, an indirect, conversational form of hypnosis, is probably the most recognized set of techniques among psychologists in the U.S. In the 1950’s there was a considerable rivalry between Erickson, the psychiatrist, and Elman, the former stage hypnotist who taught thousands of clinical practitioners. Although Ericksonian techniques are known for their elegance and applicability to psychological issues, the effectiveness and practicality of Elman’s techniques is leading to a revived interest in the relevance of the showman’s wealth of knowledge.
Can I be hypnotized? Have you ever been asleep? Have you ever found yourself taking a suggestion? If you answered yes, then you most certainly can be hypnotized. Your brain goes through several states every day. Delta is the sleep state. Upon awakening you go through Theta, which is a very deep relaxation, Alpha, which is a mild relaxation, and then enter the Beta state, which is full wakefulness. And if you are hyper-aware, you may have gone into the Gamma state. You may be hypnotized in any of these states. However, our sessions are normally designed to quickly take you to the Alpha, mild relaxation state, or Theta state, for pain management. The key criteria that we are trying to achieve is a suspension of your critical judgment (faculty), mental and physical relaxation, and a heightened awareness and suggestibility.
Will I loose control under a hypnotic state? Absolutely not! You will quickly realize that in a hypnotic state you actually have more control of your mind and mental processes. It is impossible for you to accept a suggestion that is against your morals or ethics.
How often should I listen to a session? As a rule we suggest that you listen to a session once or twice a day for 21 days.
If I go to sleep during the session, do I get any benefit? We do not recommend that you listen to our sessions while asleep. For maximum benefit you should listen to these sessions when you can safely attain a mild relaxed state of mind (Alpha state). If you have a tendency to go to sleep while in a session you should change your posture (for example, from lying down to sitting) or the time of day. If you fall asleep during the session, do not count this as one of your sessions.
Why can’t I listen to your sessions while driving? You must NEVER listen to any of our sessions when safety dictates your full awareness. Among other things, this means if you drive, don’t listen to one of our sessions. This is an absolute requirement. The language we use in the session is designed to overload your conscious mind. Before you know it your mind may be wondering. This does not mean that you are losing control. However, you will find yourself on a journey where you are piloting the various consciousnesses of your mind and body (AND NOT YOUR CAR!).
How often should I listen to a session? The general rule is once a day. If you’re like most people, you will find a preferred time such as right after waking, during a lunch break, or before going to bed. For most of our sessions, once or twice a day may be fine. For others, such as those relating to pain management, you may listen whenever you feel the situation warrants or when you need reinforcement. Otherwise, if the focus is on behavior modification, we don’t feel that more than once or twice a day is necessary. Frankly, we find that the periods in between listening allow your brain/mind the opportunity to “re-wire” itself.
What are some common myths and misconceptions about hypnosis? Thanks to Hollywood, many people think of blood-sucking vampires, quaking like a duck, and otherwise losing control when they think about hypnosis. The truth is that you will absolutely not lose control of your body or actions when you are hypnotized. Quite to the contrary, you will find a heightened sense of control and awareness. You cannot be hypnotized to do something against your will, ethics or morals. Also, while your memory may be enhanced while in a hypnotic trance, you will find that your forgetfulness will probably be no more or no less than it is normally. Most people find our sessions to be very enjoyable and relaxing.
Certified hypnotherapist: A hypnotist or hypnotherapist who has received specialized training and is recognized by a hypnotherapy organization. Certification standards range from a low of 20 hours to a high of 300 hours or more. Some of the major organizations which certify hypnotherapists include the American Board of Hypnotherapy, the International Medical and Dental Hypnotherapy Association, the International Hypnosis Federation, the National Guild of Hypnotists, and the Council of Hypnosis Examiners. Many organizations certify hypnotherapy schools, some of which (but not all) comply with state trade school licensing requirements. Certified hypnotherapist designations signify that the individual has met a particular organizations recognition standards and does not represent any academic accomplishment by any state post-secondary education agency.
Board Certified Hypnotist (BCH): A highly respected designation conferred by the National Guild of Hypnotists. The awarding of the BCH signifies training training through an NGH certified school or their correspondence program, a written requirement, an exam, and an interview. BCH designation signifies that the individual has met the NGH’s rigorous standards and does not represent any academic accomplishment by any state post-secondary education agency.
Hypnosis: Normally, references state that hypnosis is defined in numerous ways. Most agree that it involves a state of mind that is altered and a period of heightened suggestibility. This definition comes up short. First of all, the general belief is that the hypnotized mind is any state other than full awareness and wakefulness. This would imply that mild relaxation, deep relaxation, and the sleep state are all hypnotic states. We disagree with this. Nevertheless, the heightened state of suggestion appears to be a common feature of hypnosis. Regardless, a hypnotized individual may be able to achieve much more in a hypnotic state than hyper-suggestibility. You can also achieve heightened access to memories and “programs” stored in the various consciousnesses of your mind and body. Therefore, we prefer a definition that states that hypnosis is a state of mind where the critical faculty is at least partially suspended and that there is increased access to all of the intelligences of your mind and body thus facilitating mind-body interaction involving suggestion and memory. Please note that mental and physical relaxation are generally considered conditions of hypnosis. This is not necessarily a requirement.
Hypnotherapist: A person who uses some form of hypnosis as a therapeutic tool for the purpose of mental or physical transformation of another. Please note that although the title “hypnotherapist” is recognized by the U.S. Government, some states and municipalities restrict the use of the term and/or the scope of practice. Some states prohibit the use of the term as an occupation. Rather they have mandated that hypnotherapists call themselves consulting hypnotists or hypnosis counselors.
Hypnotherapy: The process whereby hypnosis is employed by in individual on one’s self or one another with another person for the purpose of mental or physical transformation.
Hypnotist: A person who is generally skilled in producing a hypnotic state in others.
Hypnotism: The study of hypnosis.
Hypnotic: Generally referred to as a state of mental and physical relaxation where the critical faculty of the mind is suspended and heightened access to all of the intelligences and consciousnesses of the mind and body is achieved as evidenced by suggestibility and enhanced memory.
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD): A doctoral clinical degree in hypnotherapy awarded by a school or university which has the authority under their state’s post-secondary licensure agency to confer doctoral level degrees. The PhD in Hypnotherapy degree, along with the more clinically-oriented Doctor of Clinical Hypnotherapy, is the highest available degree or accomplishment in hypnotherapy recognized by governmental authorities within the United States.
Doctor of Clinical Hypnotherapy (DCH): A doctoral clinical degree in hypnotherapy awarded by a school or university which has the authority under their state’s post-secondary licensure agency to confer doctoral level degrees. The DCH degree, along with the more research-oriented Doctor of Philosophy with concentration in hypnotherapy, is the highest available degree or accomplishment in hypnotherapy recognized by governmental authorities within the United States.
Self-Hypnosis: The act of using hypnosis skills to create a hypnotic state.