Blog Contents (Jump to Section)
What is hypnotherapy used for?
The world is slowly but surely grasping the true potential of hypnotherapy. In fact, hypnotherapy can help you solve a whole host of problems; you might be surprised quite how many! Perhaps you are already wondering, what is hypnotherapy used for?
In this blog we will go into 15 different applications of hypnotherapy; keep in mind that these are just some of the applications, and hypnotherapy can help you tackle almost any problem, often quicker, easier, more effectively, or all of these.
1. Changing behaviours and habits
Whether consciously or subconsciously, we can develop behaviours or habits that are detrimental to our goals and well-being. Primary examples would be smoking, gambling, even excessive shopping. You will be happy to know that hypnotherapy can help you make positive and beneficial changes.
You might wonder how?
According to the University of Southern California, 45% of our daily activities are due to habits. Therefore, the best way to change behaviour is to change habits. Behavioural hypnotherapy helps you with that.
When using behavioural hypnotherapy approaches the unwanted behaviours or habits to be replaced are identified, and through targeted positive suggestions and visualisation, the new behaviours or habits are generated and reinforced. In a nutshell, the detrimental habits and behaviours are replaced with positive ones.
An example would be helping James let go of his unwanted self-soothing nail-biting habit, which he has had with childhood, and self-soothing instead with a deep, calming breath.
2. Identifying and changing unhealthy beliefs and cognitive distortions
Our behaviours and actions often result from certain deep-rooted thoughts or feelings in the subconscious mind. We need to change our beliefs, thinking patterns, and feelings to control such actions. If you were to try doing that independently, you will realise how difficult it is. But with cognitive hypnotherapy, it’s possible to do so, using cognitive behavioural techniques. These utilise a connection between feelings, thoughts, and our behaviours.
A common example is helping Jessica identify and eliminate self-limiting beliefs that have been stopping her from taking her driving test, as she believed she couldn’t sit the test until she was a perfect driver.
3. Gaining insight
Are you puzzled with how you react in a particular situation? Maybe you are unable to determine why you get emotional in a particular situation? These issues might be related to past trauma or events. However, with time, we often consciously forget about such incidents, but their effect continues to influence our reactions or behaviours.
Analytical hypnotherapy can be used to explore such memories, emotions, or events, to gain insights into your behaviour or psychological issues, and also resolve them. Once the factors contributing to the issues are recognised, the hypnotherapist can aid the release of emotions and provide a resolution, ending the unwanted previous impact of those issues.
An example might be helping John let go of his fear of flying, that had resulted from a hard landing during a storm, when he was a child travelling with his parents.
4. Working with resources from the past and gaining new perspectives on past events
Is a past event still traumatising you? If yes, regression hypnotherapy can help you with that. It combines hypnotherapy with a range of psychotherapeutic and psychoanalytic techniques to safely explore past events, gaining insight and closure, so that the events no longer continue to impact you in the present. By releasing unwanted thoughts, memories and beliefs, the impact on a wide range of symptoms, such as phobias, relationship issues, guilt and shame can be resolved.
As an example, Rebecca may have had a bad breakup with an ex-partner and this has stopped her from even considering dating, as she now doubts herself. With hypnotherapy she was able to gain a balanced view of significant past events, learn from them and also recognise that she has a say in future relationships.
The difference between analytical and regression hypnotherapy is that in the latter, the concerning event is known or identified right from the start, whereas in the former, the hypnotherapist and client will delve through relevant thoughts and memories to find any relevant events.
5. Improving stress response
Imagine you have an exam in 2 days, you are running behind schedule, and, you can’t find your book. Will you panic? If you would, then rest assured, many people would panic in such a situation. However, this stress response isn’t great for your body, nor your mind (and even your ability to learn and recall information). Yet, it can be made better.
Hypnotherapy can help you by changing your response to stress. To achieve this, the hypnotherapist will discuss what triggers your stress, help you find more beneficial solutions and then consolidate this work in hypnosis. They will often utilise a deep relaxation state and, through positive suggestions, help your subconscious mind change how it responds to stressful triggers.
Since the subconscious mind is more open to suggestions and retains the information longer, the positive suggestions will have a lasting outcome. In a nutshell, you will be in control the next time you are in a situation that previously you might have responded to with stress.
For example, Dwight is a personal shopper for executives and he dreads the run up to Christmas. He likes to start shopping for clients in September and October, yet many of his executives (or their PA’s) contact him mid-December, wanting a ton of ‘perfect, thoughtful gifts’ tomorrow. The more stressed he feels, the less he can plan and be organised. Hypnotherapy helped him release past associations and create some useful strategies (including becoming more assertive!).
6. Emotional healing
Many people cling to their negative emotions. According to Columbia University, this can lead to anxiety or depression. It also diminishes their self-awareness. The best way to deal with these problems is to employ hypnotherapy, since it helps you deal with your deeper emotions.
Essentially, hypnotherapy helps you acknowledge the emotional pain, accept it, forgive/let go, learn, and move on. In a sense, it aids emotional healing, which helps you progress faster. Even better, as your mind learns, it helps you be able to regulate your emotions better in the future and boosts your mental health and resilience.
7. Aiding treatment of certain medical, physiological and psychological disorders
You might be thinking, can hypnotherapy really help with disorders?
In brief, yes, hypnotherapy really can help you in many ways, from accepting what you cannot change (such as a life-limiting diagnosis) and changing what you can (e.g., learning pain management techniques). For examples, a hypnotherapist can help a client change their response to pain-causing situations like childbirth, injections, or even surgery. Many medical conditions, such as skin issues, digestive issues, and high blood pressure also respond well to hypnotherapy.
Mimi is an example of how hypnotherapy can help with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). She used to hate going shopping in case the store didn’t have a public toilet and would always avoid country walks with her family. Hypnotherapy helped her gain control and she was able to gradually expand the distance she is prepared to be from a toilet (which includes a 2-hour beach walk now).
8. Improving relationships
Before you think about what relationships have to do with hypnotherapy, we would like to highlight that hypnotherapy can help you deal with anger issues, addictions, and anxiety. These problems can hamper a relationship, and dealing with them can improve relationships. Apart from this, hypnotherapy can eliminate subconscious blocks, which can help an individual
communicate better. Communication is the key to a relationship. Through positive suggestions given to the subconscious mind during hypnotherapy, a hypnotherapist can even help rekindle the romance in the relationship. So, essentially, a hypnotherapist can help save a relationship in more ways than one.
Justin is a great example of how hypnotherapy can help improve a relationship. He initially sought hypnotherapy for anger, as he was passed over for promotion at work and really couldn’t let go of it. This anger was carrying over into her personal life and his girlfriend started to feel that he was actually angry with her. This was partly a result of Justin not telling her what he was angry about. Justin learned to let go of his anger about the promotion and also discovered strategies that helped not just in his personal life, but also, helpfully, at work.
9. Increasing self-esteem
Suffering from low self-esteem? Hypnotherapy can help you a lot with this problem. Simply put, if you have already visualised a good outcome for a particular situation, you will be able to respond positively instead of feeling anxious or under-confident when the event occurs in real life. That’s how a hypnotherapist boosts your self-esteem. Effective and powerful visualisation techniques are the primary methods which helps you create positive results, boosting your self-esteem.
In the hypnotic state, positive suggestions can help replace negative thoughts, boosting confidence and self-esteem in real-life situations. Since the subconscious mind is more responsive in the hypnotic state, clients can benefit a lot from such a focused, positive approach. In addition, clients are taught how to use mental rehearsal and positive affirmations to use outside of the therapy sessions. These reinforce the session work and lead to stronger, longer-lasting beneficial outcomes.
10. Aiding athletic performance
Hypnosis can aid athletic performance in multiple ways:
- Hypnosis can help an athlete improve his/her cognitive ability to gain more attention, focusing power, and self-confidence. All these, in turn, can help the athlete train better, leading to better results.
- Competitive sports are very stressful. Hypnosis can help athletes deal with the associated anxiety and stress.
- Hypnosis can improve the athlete’s brain-body connection, leading to better results.
- Professional sports can be taxing on the body of any athlete. Sleep, massage, and relaxation are required for proper recovery. Hypnotherapy can promote engagement with a healthy lifestyle plan and also aid and accelerate the recovery. For example, a hypnotherapist can easily lead the athletes to the hypnotic state and after that relax his/her muscles, which accelerates the recovery process.
11. Solving sleep issues
With the amount of stress we experience daily, it’s no surprise that many of us suffer from insomnia or sleep-related issues. However, instead of relying on potentially-harmful medicines for the same, hypnotherapy is an effective solution for a wide range of sleep concerns. Using a range of sleep-hypnosis focused techniques, a hypnotherapist can help the client develop good sleep hygiene, reduce anxiety about falling or staying asleep and work towards healthier sleep patterns. A hypnotherapist can also use cognitive behavioural therapy to change the patient’s beliefs and negative notions pertaining to sleep.
12. Aiding grief handling
People respond to grief in different ways. For example, some break down mentally (even physically), whereas others push through initially and then develop guilt.
Whilst hypnotherapy isn’t used to speed up the natural grieving process, it is very helpful where someone gets stuck, or is unable to let go of stress or guilt. Through a range of hypnotherapy techniques and positive suggestions, the client calms down, and the negative thoughts causing guilt are replaced with more helpful ways of thinking. In case of a breakdown, the stabilisation strategies, ego strengthening, positive suggestions, and positive memory visualisations can help the client rebuild their life and develop a positive association with the person or an event. Lastly, a hypnotherapist can also help the patient move on.
In a nutshell, whatever the patient’s reaction to grief, hypnotherapy can offer a solution to help tackle that problem.
For example, Greg’s father died three years ago. Although he left home to go to the hospital when they called, he didn’t arrive in time to say goodbye. He felt stuck and unable to move on. Hypnotherapy helped Greg imagine talking with his father and saying all that he wanted to. This helped him finally start to heal.
13. Tackling depression
Many clients say that they feel their doctors are only able to treat the symptoms of depression, rather than the root cause and they can feel they are dependent on medicines for any quality of life. Hypnotherapy, when used to work with depression, can address both the presenting symptoms and, where appropriate, also the root cause.
The World Health Organization suggest that depression can be caused by a complex connection between social, psychological and biological factors. The trigger, however, is commonly a past event. While past events can’t be changed, how you perceive their memories can be changed, and that’s what a hypnotherapist attempts to do. That way, the root cause is tackled, and therefore, depression can be treated using hypnotherapy.
Samir had experienced many changes in a three-year period. He lost three close family members, had to leave his job due to ill-health and then had to move half-way across the country to a new job, far away from friends and family. He refused to allow himself to feel sad, so instead seemed to shut down all emotion. He just about had enough mental energy to get up and work and then go home and go to bed.
Hypnotherapy helped him work through the events that had happened and recognise it is natural to experience sadness. Over time, he started to take on small tasks and challenges, such as saying, “good morning” to the local store keeper. This boosted him and he gradually “felt the fog clear”.
14. Reducing pain
Our final topic is one of the ‘super powers’ of hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy for pain management is nothing new. Indeed, this technique has been in common practice since the 15th century, if not many centuries earlier. For example, it was used during the American Civil War when Army surgeons hypnotized injured soldiers before amputations.
As a result of suggestion, hypnotherapy phenomena can help with pain management. This includes catalepsy (reducing movement), ideo-motor response (promoting movement), amnesia (forgetting past painful experiences), sensory hallucinations (experiences the sensation as something other than painful), analgesia (reduction of pain, retaining sensation) and analgesia (loss of pain and sensation).
Popular techniques include:
- Distraction: This technique involves diverting the patient’s attention to something else.
- Perception altering: This technique aims to change patients’ perception of pain through suggestions.
- Visualisation: It involves making the patient visualise healing and diminishing pain.
15. Aiding creativity and cognitive power
Hypnotherapy can enhance creativity in many ways, whether artistic, musical, literary or movement. It is also superb in aiding the removal of mental creative blocks. A range of hypnotherapy approaches are employed, including relaxation techniques, guided visualisation and positive suggestions.
The aim here is to boost self-esteem, address stress, and eliminate self-limiting beliefs so that the client can exploit his/her creative potential. This can lead to a better flow of ideas and higher cognitive power over a long time.
For example, Sheba is a competitive cake baker. She is great when she can plan her creations and is confident in competitions when able to follow a plan that she has already practiced. However, her next competition has a ‘mystery challenge’ where they will only be given 5 minutes of mental preparation time before they need to start baking. The last time she entered a competition like this, she froze. Hypnotherapy helped her gain a new perspective of the past and used mental rehearsal to prepare strategies so that she would be able to think quickly and creatively on the day.
Your self-development journey
This detailed blog has given you 15 areas where hypnotherapy can offer powerful solutions to challenges that many people experience. It can help you deal with most problems in life, one way or the other.
If you would like to make your own life better using hypnotherapy then you may consider attending our hypnotherapy training course, and using that journey for self-care.
Our hypnotherapy course
If you would like to help others make positive enhancements to their lives and become a professional hypnotherapist, we recommend you check our awesome Professional Hypnotherapy Diploma course.
Finally, if you would like to find out more about the awesome Professional Hypnotherapy Diploma that HypnoTC , do please visit our Diploma page and have a browse through the information about our world-class, award-winning training.
– written by Dr Kate Beaven-Marks and the HypnoTC team