I’m sometimes asked what’s the difference between hypnosis and
hypnotherapy. Some people feel that these are just two different words
for the same thing, but really there are differences.
hypnosis and hypnotherapy you’re led into a light or deeply relaxed
state, often referred to as a trance. Each of these is used effectively
in dealing with a variety of problems, emotions and behaviors.
hypnosis, the goal of the hypnotist is to offer suggestions to modify
behaviors. This often works very well for behavioral problems such as
smoking or over-eating.
The hypnosis method is to usually follow
a formal “induction”. This is just a way to help you get into a deep
state of relaxation. Once in this state you’re then ready to receive
the suggestions made by the hypnotist.
The hypnotist will then
give a series of guided imageries and/or suggestions so that you can
experience the behavior change in your imagination. The idea being that
once the subconscious accepts the suggestions the behavior will change
In traditional hypnosis it’s normal for a client
to simply lie on a couch or sit comfortably in a recliner while a
hypnotist makes the suggestions from a memorized script or phrases of
suggestions to be made.
Personally, I prefer not to use
traditional hypnosis because I find that it doesn’t weed out the root
cause of problems. Although many people find relief of symptoms from
using hypnosis, my belief is that if the underlying emotions are not
released then they will surface in some other way at a later time.
for people only looking for relief of symptoms, or even for behavior
changes, I'll often recommend hypnosis CD's. These are a very
affordable option for many people and they don't require the
introspection used during in-person hypnosis and hypnotherapy.
hypnotherapy, the goal of the hypnotherapist is to help you find the
underlying causes for the behaviors and release the emotions associated
with the behavior. This leaves you with the option of either doing the
behavior, or not, but without the automatic triggers. Successful
hypnotherapy aims at removing the "compulsion" behind behavior.
many excellent hypnotherapist will still use an induction, others will
ask you to feel the problem or pain and allow the subconscious mind to
deliver the reasons for the problems or pains.
I like to have my
clients relax and begin to experience the emotion. Once the images,
memories or “knowing” starts to come up, I then start asking questions
that will help to take you deeper into the experience.
the more noticeable differences between hypnosis and hypnotherapy is
the dialogue that takes place between the client and the
hypnotherapist. As mentioned above, in hypnosis there often is no
dialogue throughout the session. But in hypnotherapy asking questions
and getting responses is a very normal part of the process.
difference between hypnotherapy and just remembering an event is that
as you go deeper into the experience you’re given suggestions on how to
subtly change the experience.
In the Subconscious Mind
section, we talked about unlocking past traumas and memories. By using
hypnotherapy we can get access to those memories and release the
emotion associated with the event.
Another powerful use of
hypnotherapy is changing the “meaning” of an event or experience. While
the past events of our life will not change, we are able to assign new
definitions as to what each event means to our life.
unfortunate but common experience for someone to go through a physical
attack. To some people the meaning that they’ve assigned is, “I am damaged goods. Who would want me now?” The event becomes a definition of who they are as an Identity.
using a combination of hypnosis and hypnotherapy, we can release the
emotions of the event and the associated meaning that was given. The
result is that the event becomes just an event without any definition
to the identity.
I prefer using hypnotherapy because it allows a
dialogue with the person. As the emotions are released we’re then able
to explore for things like meaning or other similar events from the
past that “add-on” emotionally.
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