Clinical hypnosis teaches patients to use a deep relaxation state to address issues such as smoking cessation, weight loss, pain relief, or self-improvement. The decision to use hypnosis in clinical settings in addition to treatment can only be made in consultation with a qualified healthcare provider who has been trained in the use and limitations of clinical hypnosis.
There are multiple definitions of hypnosis from a variety of perspectives ranging from physiological to psychoanalytical. The American Psychological Association (APA) defines the practice as "a procedure during which a health professional or researcher suggests that a client, patient, or subject experience changes in sensations, perceptions, thoughts, or behavior."
The hypnotic context is generally established by an induction procedure. Although there are many different hypnotic inductions, most include suggestions for relaxation, calmness, and wellbeing. Instructions to imagine or think about pleasant experiences are also commonly included in hypnotic inductions.
How can I benefit?
Hypnosis has offered adherents relief from pain, depression, anxiety, stress, habit disorders, and many other psychological and medical problems. It has been shown particularly effective during childbirth and in pediatric settings, and even provided anesthesia during surgery and painful medical procedures.
Are there any cautions?
Hypnosis generally poses few risks for mentally healthy people. Just be careful not to stand up too quickly after your session or you might get dizzy. Also if you are taking medications, such as insulin, sedatives, or cardiovascular medicine, you may need to adjust your dosages.
Hypnosis may not be recommended for persons with depression or personality disorders, such as schizophrenic, borderline, or narcissistic disorders. It is essential for anyone interested in hypnosis to carefully choose a provider. This provider should be a licensed healthcare professional with specific hypnosis training and certification.
Where can I get more information?
Click here for detailed information on clinical hypnosis created by experts at the University of Minnesota. (Half-way down the page, click on the Clinical Hypnosis module.)