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Cheat Sheet

Hypnotherapy For Dummies

Hypnotherapy can help you identify and overcome unhealthy modes of thinking, deal with emotional issues, improve performance and banish bad habits. Hypnotherapy can help you make the changes you want.

Defining Hypnotherapy Terms

Hypnotherapy can include some confusing jargon. Here we offer you some definitions to demystify hypnotherapy words and phrases and help you get to grips with understanding what it’s all about.

  • Conscious and Unconscious. These terms describe aspects of your mind. Think of the range of states your mind experiences as a spectrum. At the right extreme of the spectrum is the super-alert states you’re in when you’re frightened or excited. At the left end of the spectrum of mind states is deep sleep.

  • Direct and indirect suggestions. A direct (or authoritarian) suggestion gives an explicit instruction to do something such as ‘Stop smoking now’. It acts as a form of reprogramming. An indirect (or permissive) suggestion allows your unconscious mind to explore a variety of possibilities before coming up with a response. For example, ‘I wonder how soon it will be before you stop smoking and start to enjoy a healthy lifestyle?’ Indirect suggestions allow your unconscious mind to make change in a way that fully suits you.

  • Hypnosis. Hypnosis is a technique. The word hypnosis comes from hypnos, the Greek word for sleep. People used to think that hypnosis was the same as sleep, but it isn’t. Hypnosis is a deeply relaxed state where your mind can help you to focus extremely well on any task that either you or your hypnotherapist suggests to help you.

  • Hypnotherapy. Hypnosis used for therapeutic purposes becomes hypnotherapy. Many different hypnotherapy techniques and applications exist. Hypnotherapy is a way of solving personal problems through reaching a deeply relaxed state of mind called trance.

  • Trance. Trance is a state of mind that involves a selective focus of attention. You are in trance-like states naturally several times throughout the day, such as when you are fully involved in reading a book. Trance-like states are often associated with states of relaxation. Hypnotherapy uses the trance state to access the powerful forces of your own subconscious to make the changes you want.

  • Post-hypnotic suggestion. This is a suggestion given in trance, for you to make something happen when you are not in trance. Your mind is reprogrammed to respond in a healthier way to something.

Explaining What Happens in a Hypnotherapy Session

Briefly, here are the steps involved in a typical hypnotherapy session. However, bear in mind that a ‘typical’ session varies widely depending on both the hypnotherapist and the patient.

  1. You get acquainted with your hypnotherapist.

  2. Your hypnotherapist gathers information about you (mainly completed in the initial session).

  3. Trance is induced.

  4. Trance is deepened.

  5. The actual therapy takes place.

  6. You’re given post-hypnotic suggestions.

  7. You’re given feel-good suggestions.

  8. You emerge from hypnosis.

  9. You’re given homework to help reinforce the therapy in between sessions.

Simple Steps to Self-Hypnosis

Self-hypnosis is useful for boosting your confidence, encouraging yourself towards a healthier lifestyle and improving your performance. Follow these basic steps of self-hypnosis to help you move towards your desired goals:

  1. Think about what you want to achieve or change, and state your goal in a single sentence.

  2. Choose a place where you can be completely comfortable, whether sitting in a chair or lying down.

  3. Set a time limit by mentally giving yourself the following suggestion: ‘Exactly ten minutes from now, my eyelids open automatically and I feel calm, rested and refreshed.’

  4. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Progressively relax all your muscles, from head to toe, or toe to head, whichever you prefer.

  5. Count down from ten to one and tell yourself that with each number you’ll become more relaxed, both physically and mentally, and go deeper into trance.

  6. When you’re in a deepened trance state, start using the goal statement you devised for your self-hypnosis session. Remember your single sentence goal statement, and make it as vivid as possible in your imagination. Then simply let go. Trust that you have handed it over to your unconscious mind, and that this wise part of you will now solve the problem.

  7. Count yourself awake, up from one to ten, and tell yourself that you’re no longer in trance.

  8. A few minutes after awakening from self-hypnosis, you are still in a highly suggestible state. Use that time to reinforce how relaxed and calm you feel, and how pleased you are that your unconscious mind is helping you reach your goal.

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