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Hypnosis, Hypnotherapy and hypnotism

What is hypnosis?

Hypnosis is a state of relaxation and concentration at one with a state of heightened awareness induced by suggestion.

It is a non-addictive power for the good and is a natural manifestation of the mind at work.

Hypnosis has been in use for thousands of years. There is a great deal of evidence to support the belief that Hypnosis was being used by the Ancient Greeks and Romans - for therapeutic benefit - as far back as about the fourth Century BC.

Egyptians had very popular 'sleep temples' in which people were asked to lie down and listen to somebody chanting to help cure illness and problems as far back as 1550BC.

Hypnosis translated from Greek (Hypnos) means 'to sleep' and, while in the state of hypnosis, a person is very, very relaxed.

While a person is in this more relaxed state, they find it easier to accept beneficial suggestions (e.g. "you are now a non-smoker").

Stage hypnosis, hypnotism and misconceptions

It is unfortunate that most people's first encounter of hypnosis is through watching television and stage hypnotists at work. This can lead people to believe that they may be controlled or manipulated or made to do something silly.

NOTHING could be further from the truth.

At all times you remain in control and perfectly awake. Hypnosis for therapeutic purposes is just about relaxation. You may feel very heavy, relaxed, lethargic or quite light and tingly. It's just a wonderful, deeply pleasant and relaxing experience.

A good technical definition of hypnosis is: "A state of relaxation and concentration at one with a heightened awareness induced by suggestion". The word hypnosis is derived from the Greek word 'hypnos' meaning 'to sleep' but it is actually far from being asleep.

By the time the early users of hypnosis realised this and tried to change the name, it had already stuck.

Hypnosis - true or false?

'In hypnosis you are asleep'
FALSE - you are wide awake at all times.

'You can be made to do something against your will'
FALSE - Nobody can make you do anything that you do not want to do.

'Hypnosis is a natural state of mind'
TRUE - It is completely natural state of concentration and relaxation. It has been used for hundreds of years.

'There are some people that can't be hypnotised'
FALSE - Everybody can be, if they want to and when they follow simple instructions on how to relax; excepting persons with learning difficulties, although of course the degree varies from person to person. The only other exception would be people 'high' on the effects of alcohol or drugs.

'You can't remember what happened'
FALSE - There isn't any amnesia after hypnosis, you will remember everything that took place.

'There is no official hypnotherapy regulatory body'
TRUE - At the moment, no one hypnotherapy organisation has any precedence over any other. The IAPH however is one of the largest and oldest hypnotherapy and hypnoanalysis organisations in the UK and has stood the test of time.

History of hypnosis