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Clinical Hypnotherapy

On Hypnosis

The term "hypnosis" comes from the Greek word hypnos, meaning "sleep." Hypnotherapists use exercises that bring about deep relaxation to both body and mind and an altered state of consciousness, also known as a trance. Hypnosis can actually teach people how to master their own state of awareness and mindfulness. By doing so, they can affect and have control over their own bodily functions and psychological responses and reactions.

What is the history of hypnosis?

Throughout history, trance states have been used by shamans and ancient peoples in rituals and religious ceremonies. Hypnotherapy gained popularity in the mid 1900s due to Milton H. Erickson (1901 - 1980), a successful psychiatrist who used hypnosis in his practice. In 1958, both the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association recognized hypnotherapy as a valid medical procedure. Since 1995, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has recommended hypnotherapy as a treatment for chronic pain.

How does hypnosis work?

When something happens to us, we remember it and learn a particular behavior in response to what happened. Each time something similar happens, our physical and emotional reactions attached to the memory are repeated. In some cases these reactions are unhealthy.
During the session, you will be guided to remember the event that led to the first reaction, then separate the memory from the learned behavior, and replace unhealthy behaviors with new, healthier ones. Your body relaxes and your thoughts become more focused.
Like other relaxation techniques, hypnotherapy lowers blood pressure and heart rate, and changes certain types of brain wave activity. In this relaxed state, you will feel at ease physically, yet fully awake mentally and may be highly responsive to suggestion. Your conscious mind becomes less alert and your subconscious mind becomes more focused. Some people respond better to hypnotic suggestion than others.

There are several stages of hypnosis:
• Reframing the problem.
• Becoming relaxed, then absorbed (deeply engaged in the words or images presented by the Hypnotherapist).
• Dissociating (letting go of critical thoughts).
• Responding (complying with the hypnotherapist's suggestions that are individualized in reference to every client's needs).
• Returning to usual awareness.
• Reflecting on the experience.

Suggestion therapy: The hypnotic state makes the person better able to respond to suggestions; new thought and behavior patterns, and healthier emotions. Therefore, hypnotherapy can help some people change certain behaviors, such as stopping smoking or nail biting. It can also help people change perceptions and sensations, and is particularly useful in treating pain.
Analysis: This approach uses the relaxed state to explore a possible psychological root cause of a disorder or symptom, such as a traumatic past event that a person has hidden in his/her unconscious memory. Once the trauma is revealed, we address it in psychotherapy.

What Are the Benefits of Hypnosis?
The hypnotic state allows a person to be more open to discussion and suggestion. It can improve the success of other treatments for many conditions, including:
• Phobias, fears, and anxiety
• Sleep disorders
• Depression
• Stress
• Post-trauma stress and/or anxiety
• Grief and loss
• Bad habits, addictions: smoking, overeating, drug abuse

What happens during your visits?
During your first visit, you will be asked about your medical history and what brought you in what condition(s) you would like to address. The hypnotherapist may explain to you what hypnosis is and how it works. You will then be directed through relaxation techniques, using a series of mental images and suggestions intended to change behavior and relieve symptoms.
The hypnotherapist will also teach you the basics of self-hypnosis and will give you a list of individualized affirmations so you can reinforce what you learn during the session at home.

How many treatments will I need?
Each session lasts about an hour and a half, and most people start to see results within 4 to 10 sessions. You and your hypnotherapist will monitor and evaluate your progress over time.
Children (aged 9 - 12) are easily hypnotized and may respond after only 1 to 2 visits.

What illnesses or conditions respond well to hypnosis?
Hypnosis is used in a variety of settings from emergency rooms to dental offices to outpatient clinics. Clinical studies suggest that Hypnosis improves immune function, increases relaxation, decreases stress, and eases pain and feelings of anxiety.
Hypnotherapy can reduce the fear and anxiety that some people feel before medical or dental procedures. For example, studies show that dental patients who underwent hypnosis had a significantly higher threshold for pain than those who were not hypnotized.
Hypnosis may also improve recovery time and reduce anxiety and pain following surgery. Clinical trials on burn patients suggest that hypnosis decreases pain (enough to replace pain medication) and speeds healing.

Generally, clinical studies show that using hypnosis may reduce your need for medication, improve your mental and physical condition before an operation, and reduce the time it takes to recover.
A hypnotherapist can teach you self regulation skills. For instance, someone with arthritis may learn to turn down pain like the volume on a radio. Hypnotherapy can also be used to help manage chronic illness.

Self hypnosis can enhance a sense of control, which is often lacking when someone has a chronic illness or anxiety.
Clinical studies on children in emergency treatment centers show that hypnotherapy reduces fear, anxiety, and discomfort.

Other problems or conditions that may respond to hypnotherapy include:
• Irritable bowel syndrome
• Tension headaches
• Asthma
• Phobias
• Insomnia
• Addictions
• Bedwetting
• Fibromyalgia
• Labor and delivery
• Skin disorders [such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema (atopic dermatitis)
• Stress
• Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
• Cancer related pain
• Weight loss
• Eating disorders
• Indigestion (dyspepsia)

Are there any risks associated with hypnotherapy?
None; the client undergoes a mental status examination and is diagnosed by the specialist before starting hypnotherapy in order to know what to treat.

We bring you a combined treatment of Psychotherapy & Hypnotherapy.
Today, we offer you combination treatments, with the idea that one treatment does not to displace another. We integrate hypnotherapy and psychotherapy which hold the promise of making personal change more efficient and more rapid. This approach has proven to be clinically effective; in the sense that speedier discovery of conflicts takes place the shortened will be the resolution time, inspiring our patients to the possibility of further change.

The practice of Hypnotherapy has no set formula. Hypnosis may be used in the early (assessment), middle (working through), or final (termination) stages of Psychotherapy. We also might use it consistently, dividing each session into a hypnotic and non-hypnotic part.
Using hypnosis, if feasible and agreed upon between the therapist and the patient, is preferable because not only memories and their emotional connections can be brought out of the unconscious, but they can be worked with to encourage resolution and adaptive processing.
The aim of hypnotherapy, or of all psychotherapy for that matter, is for the patient to incorporate symptoms into his field of control, in ways that will benefit growth, maturation, and happiness. To this end, different techniques may be called upon.
Defenses and resistances, as parts of the symptom complex, are similarly handled, sometimes encouraging them, sometimes challenging them, always in a style that is non-rigid, fluid, and adaptive. One is reminded of the Japanese method of psychological and physical training, Aikido, where force is not met with counterforce but is allowed to spend itself or to be diverted to new directions.

A certified course in hypnotherapy is being offered throughout the year. For more info, go to Resources section or contact us! 

To transformation and enlightenment, 

Myrna Saadeh