Published The Practical Woman, Eaton Rapids, MI. Feb. 1995

What is hypnosis? Is it safe? Can I be hypnotized? I'm afraid. These are a few of the many questions and concerns an individual considering the use of Hypnotherapy may express. Hypnosis has long been associated with the unknown and mysterious. Its exhibition in side shows by "magic men" causes us to think it borders on the supernatural. We've seen that a hypnotized subject looses control over their actions and are at the mercy of another. Showmanship and the distorted portrayal of hypnosis by the movie industry have caused us to be weary of a time-honored and beneficial treatment alternative used by healers, dentists, doctors, and mental health therapists. All cultures since the beginning of our existence have used hypnosis to adjunct healing.

Hypnosis is a natural state of mind that occurs everyday. Experiences such as day dreaming, gazing into a fire, and losing thought while driving are examples of how the mind naturally experiences trance. In these daily occurrences, as in hypnosis, the mind quiets to the outside world allowing internal focus.

Physiologically, the mind relaxes into an alpha state and body processes are slowed. Heart rate, respirations, and blood pressure lower. The body and mind are relaxed, allowing tensions to release. This is not a sleep state but a state of heightened internal awareness. At this time we can access long forgotten experiences, focus healing in our bodies, zero in on issues, examine causes, find solutions, and eliminate problems. Hypnosis works due to this focused concentration that eliminates outside interference. When the critical faculties of our minds are at rest, the subconscious is free to recall and process issues without judgment.

Hypnotherapy is the use of hypnosis and psychotherapy in a controlled therapeutic environment by a trained mental health professional. An individual enters a calmed state in a serene and safe place guided by the therapist who is teacher and guide. It is important to understand that hypnosis occurs only as deep as an individual feels comfortable and all hypnosis is self hypnosis. Even deeply hypnotized individuals are aware and in control.

Life experiences are processed at both the conscious (aware) level and the subconscious (beneath) level. The subconscious level stores everything we experience, and though this information may be away from our conscious recall, it is not forgotten. Memories in our subconscious mind have an impact on our daily lives and influence our actions and reactions in ways we are not aware of consciously.

Hypnosis is a method of quieting the conscious mind, accessing subconscious recall for healing many issues including: enhancement of body healing, trauma, abuse, low self esteem, anxiety, fears/phobia, and more. Suggestive hypnotherapy can be useful in: stress control, body healing, sleeplessness, improved health, memory recall, pain control, creativity enhancement, increased energy, concentration, exam anxiety, inner child healing, inner guidance, athletic performance, and more.

Certified hypnotherapists have completed training certifying them as professionals in the field of hypnosis. There is no certification or license criteria for hypnotherapists in the state of Michigan currently. Some hypnotherapists also have degrees in mental health in addition to hypnosis training. If you are considering hypnosis to assist in processing traumas or emotionally charged concerns, a hypnotherapist who has mental health expertise is recommended. These special degrees and skills may be valuable in your healing process.