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What Can Hypnotherapy Help With?

When you think of the word "hypnosis," you might picture a person in a trance-like state unwittingly embarrassing himself in front of a large audience. While this use of hypnosis is intended for entertainment purposes only, clinical hypnosis aims to help people suffering from a wide variety of ailments from fears and phobias to skin conditions. Here is an introduction to hypnotherapy and what science says it may be able to help with.

What are Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy?

Hypnosis is a trance-like state of deep relaxation during which the hypnotized person is fully conscious but tuned out to the stimuli around them. A hypnotic state can occur naturally when you're daydreaming, losing track of time while having fun, or becoming sleepy while feeling bored. Contrary to many people's beliefs, a hypnotized person is always in control and cannot do things against their will.

Hypnotherapy is guided hypnosis which deliberately induces a relaxed state of awareness to allow people to create positive changes. It alters subconscious beliefs and replaces them with more helpful thoughts. The relaxed state can help some people view their real-life situations and feelings with a different perspective and open themselves to suggestions that can change their behaviors, attitudes, and perceptions. Once a person’s mind is relaxed and they’re in a trance-like state, a hypnotherapist's suggestions can be used as an effective healing tool to treat certain psychological or emotional disorders.

What Does Science Say About Its Effectiveness?

Research suggests that hypnotherapy may be beneficial for a wide range of behavioral, psychological, and physical issues. Hypnosis was shown to help alleviate anxiety during stressful situations. A Yale University study demonstrated that hypnosis significantly reduces anxiety in patients before and after an operation compared to those who were not hypnotized.

Additional research has shown that hypnotherapy shows promise as a complementary therapy in treating childhood trauma-related conditions and for helping with chronic pain management. It also has applications for relieving discomfort from skin conditions. Hypnotherapy was shown to help children and adults suffering from itching and loss of sleep due to atopic dermatitis.

If you are interested in trying hypnotherapy, it’s important to find a licensed professional with experience treating your condition. Visit the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis website to find a listing of certified practitioners in your state.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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