Take a moment and think of the word hypnosis. If you are like most people, you are likely thinking of a client sitting on a couch in a dark, quiet room. Standing in front of him is a doctor wearing a white coat and swinging a pendulum back and forth. He asks the client to follow the pendulum with his eyes, and repeating the words, “you are getting very sleepy…” Or, maybe you think of your friend up on stage with the hypnotist last year at the county fair. She made a fool out of herself, doing everything this hypnotist told her to do – in front of a huge crowd, no less.
Have you ever considered hypnosis as a serious option in your addiction healing? Probably not. Especially if the above two scenarios are what is triggered with the word.
Here is a piece of advice: hypnotherapy is something to consider. In fact, it is a widely-used method for healing and addiction. Let’s explore it in more detail, shall we?
What is hypnotherapy and where did it come from?
Hypnotherapy can be therapeutic, as its name may suggest. It is a therapy in the sense that you are using hypnosis as a tool within your doctor’s chosen method of therapy. It can be combined with different therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, to help empower and heal the individual. Hypnotherapy is a technique that puts your mind in a completely relaxed state, allowing you to have increased attention and focus on the innerworkings of your mind.
Hypnosis has been around since the 1800s, though not necessarily in its current method. It has always been used in situations as a calming tool during pregnancy, reducing anxiety, and even as method of avoiding alcohol. Various therapists over the years have used hypnosis in different ways. However, in 1973, Dr. John Kappas, founder of the Hypnosis Motivation Institute, formally defined the term “hypnotherapist,” referring to someone who is trained in effective hypnotherapy. Certification can be obtained by medical professionals to be able to perform this technique within the realm of treatment.
How does it work?
First and foremost, you must want to remain sober and you absolutely must be sober during the hypnosis. If either of these do not apply – then it will not work. That means that hypnotherapy works best after successfully completing treatment for your addiction.
Can you imagine not having to worry about ever having a craving or an addictive behavior again? While under hypnosis, the goal is to re-wire the subconscious. It has been shown that the way we think and respond to stimuli can be altered if you can get deep enough inside the mind. That is what hypnotherapists are attempting to do – remove old feelings, add new and positive feelings deep within your mind.
Hypnotherapy involves bringing you into a deeply relaxed state of mind using hypnosis. While in the hypnotic state – a deep level of concentration and inner focus – the therapist will guide you through a bit of self-discovery. Each therapist’s technique is different. For example, some may start by asking you to picture yourself as a happy, successful recovered individual with no thoughts of addiction and then they may ask you to dig deeper into the mind of that new you. Others may just start where you are and ask you to imagine where you are going.
Slowly, your therapist will guide you to trade your current thoughts with new ones!
How successful is it as a treatment for addiction?
Repetitive behaviors are the basis for addiction. Hypnosis can access areas of the subconscious that will allow these repetitive behaviors to be changed.
The American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis has been doing studies on the success rate of hypnotherapy for years. While it was first targeting cigarette smokers, it eventually moved on to test its effectiveness for sober alcoholics. What they found is that, overall, hypnotherapy with intensive sessions – say, 5 per week – produced a 77% success rate. However, as with any study, those who fell out of the study in the beginning or didn’t complete it in its entirety were followed up with. Do you know what they found? Those individuals were still doing better than they were. Maybe not a 100% positive result, but, all in all, this is still a very successful tool in addiction healing.
Who are the best candidates for hypnotherapy?
The most motivated individuals will be the ones who will successfully benefit from hypnotherapy because they are ready to overcome their addiction. If you don’t want to recover, you don’t have a very good chance with hypnosis. In fact, your chance may be somewhere around the zero percent mark – zilch, nada, nothing, a waste of time.
The best candidates for hypnotherapy are:
- Those who have completed detox.
- Those individuals who have successfully completed a treatment program.
- Individuals with a great desire for permanent change.
- Individuals who are motivated to shed their old ways and replace them with healthier ways.
Let’s clear up a few myths about hypnotherapy
Because there is a lot of speculation and hearsay about hypnosis, let’s clear up some of these myths. The following are true statements about hypnotherapy:
- Many people are familiar with stage-type hypnotists that put on a show making people do things under their command. This is not at all how hypnosis works.
- Hypnotherapy is having hypnosis done by a medical professional as a tool within a course of treatment.
- You are always in control. You will be fully aware of what you are saying and what you are doing.
- Hypnosis is not sleep.
- Hypnosis cannot work in one session.
- You can be strong-minded and still have successful hypnotherapy.
- Your hypnotherapist will not dangle a pendulum in front of your eyes.
There you have it, folks. The lowdown on hypnotherapy for addiction healing. It doesn’t work for everyone, but it has been proven to be an effective method for changing addictive behavior into a more productive, positive behavior.