Clinical hypnosis: what is it and how does it work?

Now that they’re on the lips of every TV show that features live “hypnosis”, it’s time for psychologists to speak up. Throughout this article I will try to dispel the myths and misconceptions that create such programs.. In addition, we will see in which clinical areas its use is beneficial.

The hypnosis that we practice in consulting psychologists is called clinical hypnosis. Using it as an emotional disinhibitor, it is defined as the use of suggestion to bring about changes in the cognitive, physiological, emotional and behavioral processes of the patient. Clinical hypnosis is a facilitator of therapeutic change; always, always, will be accompanied by other treatment techniques, will be included in a therapeutic package adapted to the patient and his problems in question.

Myths and Misconceptions

Let’s review some misconceptions about clinical hypnosis.

1. “With hypnosis, I will lose consciousness”

You will never lose consciousness. The hypnotized patient is actively involved in the process. Having to focus on the suggestions the therapist is telling you, imagine them and involve them emotionally. If at any time the patient loses consciousness, it is simply because he has fallen asleep.

2. “If you hypnotize me, I’ll tell you everything, I can’t lie to you”

False. As in any other psychological technique, the patient can lie, it is not useful to extract the truth. With hypnosis, cognitive flexibility is encouragedAs the patient gets carried away, things will happen, if he is not carried away, nothing noticeable will happen. The important point so that the patient does not lie to us and tell us the truth, as in any treatment, will be the relationship of trust and therapy that we have established with the patient.

3. “Hypnotists have special powers”

Absolutely not, expert hypnosis therapists were not born with special power under a full moon.. A good hypnotist, like a good therapist, applies the right techniques at the right time, adapting everything to the patient’s reality. As with any relaxation technique here, the key will be the manipulation of the voice.

4. “When you hypnotize me, I will do whatever you ask me to do, whether I like it or not, I will lose control of what I do”

Of course, this is wrong, as we mentioned before hypnosis is about letting go, if you don’t let go, there is no hypnosis. The patient will be influenced by hypnotic suggestions to the extent that he or she considers appropriate. Just like starting the process, if the patient wishes, they can end it.

Areas of application of clinical hypnosis

In which cases and areas is it possible to apply this therapeutic tool?

1. Pain management

The use of hypnosis in acute and chronic pain it is undoubtedly the clinical field par excellence of hypnosis.

Hypnotic analgesia techniques encourage the patient not to pay as much attention, as he usually does, to the area that hurts. It also helps to implant the idea that the intensity of this pain You can manage and modulate. It also promotes the reinterpretation of painful sensations, making them more tolerable and less disabling. Therefore, hypnosis promotes the idea that the patient can exercise some control and regulation over their pain.

2. Manage anxiety

In addition to all the types of relaxation available to manage anxiety, the effectiveness of clinical hypnosis in anxiety disorders such as specific phobias is remarkable (For example, fear of dogs or fear of flying), panic disorder, agoraphobia, and social phobia. The relationship between the degree of suggestibility (the more suggestible you are, the better the hypnosis will be) and anxiety is two-way, so using this technique will be very beneficial.

3. Psychophysiological disorders

We include in these disorders the physical alterations which, or in their elimination and / or maintenance, are influenced by psychological factors. We are talking about cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, respiratory, dermatological disorders… etc. Hypnosis as a complementary technique can help reduce symptoms by suggestion and reduce the patient’s overall stress level through relaxation. In addition, they favor strategies for managing this stress.

4. Trauma

Clinical hypnosis facilitates access to the sequence of traumatic memories, encouraging the exposure and progressive management of these memories.

Here are some of the uses and applications of clinical hypnosis in the field of psychology. Don’t be fooled by cheap stuff like the stuff featured on TV shows. Hypnosis will always be performed by a psychologist or an expert doctor as part of a therapeutic package..

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