When something new happens to us, we remember it and learn a particular behaviour in response to that circumstance.
Memories stored in our brains hold the original physical and emotional reactions that occurred when the given memory was first formed.
Each time similar events occur again, the physical and emotional reactions attached to the memory are repeated. These reactions may be inappropriate or unhealthy.
In some forms of hypnotherapy, the trained therapist guides you to remember the event that led to the first reaction, separate the memory from the learned behaviour, and reconstruct the event with new, healthier associations.
During hypnosis, a person’s body relaxes while their thoughts become more focused and attentive. Like other relaxation techniques, hypnosis decreases blood pressure and heart rate, and alters certain types of brain wave activity.
In this relaxed state, a person will feel very at ease physically yet fully awake mentally.
In this state of deep concentration people are highly responsive to suggestion. If you are trying to quit smoking, for example, a therapist’s suggestion may successfully convince you that in the future you will have a strong dislike for the taste of cigarettes.
There are several stages of hypnosis. The process begins with reframing the problem; becoming relaxed, then absorbed (deeply engaged in the words or images presented by a hypnotherapist); dissociating (letting go of critical thoughts); responding (complying whole-heartedly to a hypnotherapist’s suggestions); returning to usual awareness; and reflecting on the experience.
The British Medical Association endorsed the practice of hypnosis in Medical School education in 1955 and since that date it has been valued as a very useful addition to conventional medicine.