What is it?
Hypnosis is a highly focused state of attention during which we can perceive and experience things differently, like day dreaming or focussing on something deeply absorbing, for example, when watching a film or reading a book. But when used in the clinical setting, hypnosis can help us to make changes by building or strengthening inner resources to overcome difficulties and problems.
How does it work?
Neuro-scientists now inform us that when we are in this highly focussed state of attention, our brains process information differently and we are more receptive to suggestions.
How does it help?
When used skillfully, hypnosis can help in a range of problems including anxiety, depression and sleep problems. It can also be used for pain management and for habit disorders, like smoking. Children can be very responsive to hypnosis as well when it is used in conjunction with behavioural interventions and strategies, and counseling with parents.
Are there any dangers?
No, not when used by an experienced practitioner. You do not go to sleep or become unconscious, although you will probably become very relaxed. Some times people also worry that the practitioner has control over the person. This idea probably comes from people seeing stage hypnosis, where subjects are often chosen because of their extreme willingness to go along with the show. In a clinical setting, the purpose of using hypnosis is to help the client achieve their goals and the relationship between the client and practitioner is one of collaboration and care, not control by the practitioner.