Hypnotherapy is an exercise that brings deep relaxation and a hypnotic trance in order to plant an idea or message, or to unearth events and thoughts from the unconscious. Contrary to popular myth, a hypnotherapist cannot control a person's free will. Hypnotherapy actually helps people to master their own states of consciousness in order to have better control over their psychological responses and bodily functions.
There is more than one way to do hypnotism, although the most popular is traditional hypnosis, where the hypnotherapists make direct suggestions to a person in a hypnotic state. This type of hypnosis only works for those who accept whatever they're told, no questions asked - which means it is ineffective against critical individuals who have analytical minds. People today are taught to be more critical and to question everything, which is why new hypnosis methods have been introduced. These methods can reach and affect the unconscious more effectively. A hypnotherapist needs years of training, study, and experience in order to apply these methods. Read on to find out the techniques and methods of hypnosis.
Ericksonian Hypnosis. This hypnotherapy method uses metaphors and little stories to slowly introduce ideas and suggestions into the unconscious mind. Ericksonian hypnosis is powerful because it eliminates the initial resistance and blockage to suggestions by the conscious mind. There are two types of metaphors used in this method: the isomorphic and the interspersal.
A hypnotherapist uses isomorphic metaphors by offering direct suggestions to a hypnotized person with a story and a moral. The unconscious is theorized to make a one-to-one connection between the elements of a problem situation and the elements of a metaphor. A simple example is a child who is a chronic liar might be told the story of the boy who cried wolf. His or her unconscious mind would then create a parallel between the protagonist of the story and the child, which would make him or her realize that chronic lying could lead to disaster.
The interspersal metaphor is used when the hypnotherapist uses a story to distract the conscious mind. This story is called process instructions. This story also contains indirect suggestions that reach the unconscious, asking it to find a memory of a similar learning experience, and then use this memory to make a change in a current problem.
Neuro-Linguistic Programming. This is another form of hypnosis that uses thought patterns to eliminate problems, instead of using suggestions. Have you ever heard a song or smelled a scent that triggered particular feelings or memories? When you first heard this song or smelled the scent, you were feeling a particular emotion, which become unconsciously attached to these stimuli. When you hear it again, it arouses the same emotions you felt. This is called anchoring, and is a very useful technique in neuro-linguistic programming. For instance, you have a memory of being congratulated for a job well done, and a certain song was playing. By returning to that memory, you can recreate the feeling of high self-esteem you had at that particular moment. The song then functions as the anchor of high self-esteem.