Understanding Clinical Hypnosis

As far as we can see, persons from the beginning of time have used trance: in formal and informal rituals and ceremony from religious ceremonies and rites of passage to saying grace with family around the Thanksgiving table. Shamans, priestesses, wise women and healers have used trance to assist healing. Ancient Egyptian sleep temples dating back to 4000BC where used to induced sleep and shamanic journeying. But hypnosis is not sleep, it is a level of deep relaxation that assists the body to move into the unconscious mind.

We’ve all experienced the feeling of day dreaming .. perhaps sitting in a childhood classroom looking out the window and imagining ourselves on the swing in the playground. Similarly, you may have experienced losing track of time while performing repetitive tasks like playing a video game or watching television. Different levels of dissociation or trance are a completely normal part of the human experience and can be accessed when needed.

Powerful, Friendly, Healing Place

The unconscious creative imagination is a powerful friendly healing place. A healing reservoir of understanding that uses intuition; is spontaneous and creative. Hypnosis is a tool to help you access this deep medicine and teaches you to be your own master healer. Self-Hypnosis can augment hypnotherapy and/or psychotherapy sessions to reinforce messages of strength, resilience, calmness and peace:  and allow you to let go of old patterns or unwanted messages or images.

During clinical hypnosis sessions, each individual goes into a trance level that is right for them - which is why some persons say that they ‘cannot be hypnotized.’  Each person experiences a different level of suggestibility or sometimes resists the induction into trance quite purposefully. While in trance, the client can bring themselves up to a more conscious level when needed, talk to the therapist during hypnosis, or respond to questions that the therapist asks to help access the client’s creative unconscious.

Classical and Clinical Hypnosis differences

Clinical hypnosis differs from Classical hypnosis used in television or at stage shows. Clinical hypnosis works with indirect and direct suggestions, is more permissive, individualized, and assists the client to use story and metaphor toward healing solutions. Hypnosis must be clinically appropriate for each client: those who have reached appropriate stages of readiness in therapy. This would apply especially to clients engaging in trauma therapy.


Most myths associated with hypnosis generally stem from witnessed stage and theatrical shows. Some of the concerns people worry about when first coming to clinical hypnosis include: being asked to bark like a dog, cluck like a chicken, be brainwashed, tell secrets, be generally manipulated, having commands implanted (mind manipulation), or not being able to undo the suggestions. In clinical hypnosis, the focus is on helping you to access healing parts of your mind that help you unlock or bring to consciousness new and better ways of interacting with yourself and the world. You cannot be asked to do anything that your unconscious mind doesn't want to do. For example, one woman in a stage show was asked to smell the person next to her. This was contrary to her own comfort level, and even though she was in a trance, she readily refused.

Typical Hypnosis Process

During trance, brain waves are slowed from beta, to alpha or alpha/theta. The client is led through a deepening relaxation in a converational way and indirect or direct suggestions are tailor-made to their problem. Hypnosis sessions often use metaphor and story to work with issues. Post-hypnotic suggestions may also be given and homework to reinforce the issue that is being addressed. A specific number of sessions may be required to fully address a particular issue, solidify progress, and maintain reinforcement toward goals. 

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