Does Hypnotherpay Really Work?
Many people mistakenly believe that hypnosis is today only practiced by fraudulent psychics. However, the truth is that hypnosis can actually be an effective tool in the very real form of psychotherapy known as hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy is practiced by trained and licensed hypnotherapists in order to help people with a variety of different problems. The effectiveness and safety of this therapeutic method has been studied extensively over the years, with the conclusion being that it is a valid form of therapy with many possible applications.
What Exactly Is Hypnotherapy?
The main goal of hypnotherapy is much the same as the main goal of any other therapy - to create changes in any of a patient's thoughts and behavioral patterns which may be causing them some level of distress.
Hypnotherapy accomplishes this by first placing the patient in a hypnotic state. This state has been caricatured and often exaggerated in movies and on TV. Despite this, what pop culture usually gets right is that a hypnotized person is much more open to suggestions. A hypnotic state is often compared to a sleep-like state, though this comparison is somewhat misleading. A hypnotized person is fully aware of what is going on, and often even shows increased concentration.
The hypnotherapist uses this state to make beneficial suggestions to the patient, which they are then more likely to respond to and agree with.
What Is Hypnotherapy Used For?
Hypnotherapy can be a viable treatment option for many different psychological conditions. It is generally accepted to be effective for depression, anxiety disorders, addiction, insomnia, and for helping people overcome phobias. Bulimia in particular has been shown to respond positively to a newer form of hypnotherapy known as cognitive hypnotherapy.
Hypnotherapy can be beneficial for physical as well as psychological pain. There is some evidence that it can be used to ease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, lessen the severity of skin conditions, and decrease the recovery period after surgery.
Furthermore, hypnotherapy appears to be very effective for reducing the difficulty of childbirth. Mothers who respond positively to hypnotic suggestion benefit from lower levels of both pain and anxiety.
Studies & Reviews about Hypnotherapy
The first real review of hypnotherapy was carried out by the British Medical Association (BMA) in 1892. The authors confirmed that the hypnotic state was genuine and that it could be used therapeutically. This was followed up by the BMA over 60 years later in 1955, in a report which confirmed the original findings and listed even more potential uses for hynotheraphy. The American Medical Association released a similar report 3 years later.
The study of hypnotherapy continued strong into the 90s, when reviews from the US National Institute for Health and the British Medical Journal asserted that hypnotherapy is useful for conditions such as cancer pain, headaches, jaw pain, nausea, asthma, and many others.
If there was still any doubt to be had about the usefulness and effectiveness of hypnotherapy, then a 2003 meta-analysis out of the University of Konstanz in Germany put it to rest. After looking at 444 different studies, the authors of the meta-analysis concluded that, versus untreated groups, hypnotherapy led to much better outcomes for patients.
It seems that many people can in fact benefit from this often misunderstood and overlooked form of therapy.