Hypnotherapy is a type of complementary medicine in which hypnosis is used to create a state of focused attention and increased suggestibility and is sometimes used as a treatment for addiction. Hypnosis or being hypnotized feels a lot like daydreaming. When you daydream, you alter your state of consciousness to the alpha frequency region and engage in your fantasies. All the while you are conscious and aware, yet you remain oblivious to external distractions. Daydreaming is a perfectly normal, safe, and healthy phenomenon that we all engage in from time to time. Sometimes a daydream is so intense and goal-oriented that the person achieves the goal. This usually happens spontaneously and without deliberate intent.
Hypnosis is a technique that enables you to achieve this altered state of consciousness – the daydream state – deliberately and direct your attention to specific goals in order to achieve them. Like daydreaming, hypnosis is a perfectly normal, safe, and healthy phenomenon. In hypnosis, like daydreaming, you are conscious and aware, yet remain oblivious to external distractions. In both daydreaming and hypnosis, your mind adjusts to the alpha frequency range – the difference is that in hypnosis your mind is directed to specific beneficial goals you wish to achieve and not to fantasies. These beneficial goals include addiction recovery, quitting smoking, dieting, improving self-image, overcoming phobias and fears, and improving memory – the list of uses is limitless.
There are many serious misunderstandings about hypnosis. Many of these misunderstandings have been promoted by B-grade movies that depict people being transformed into zombie-like creatures by some super-powerful mystic who says, “Look into my eyes!” While this may make for an exciting movie, it is 100 percent fiction and has no resemblance to the truth.
Firstly, no person can be hypnotized against his or her will. The subject must be 100 percent cooperative. Second, no one under hypnosis can be made to do anything they would not freely do if not under hypnosis. During hypnosis, the subject can choose to accept or reject any suggestion given. If a suggestion is given that upsets the subject, he or she would likely come out of hypnosis immediately of their own choice. Under hypnosis, the subject is awake and aware – extremely so. The hypnotized subject has merely focused his or her attention on where the hypnotist directs it and is oblivious to anything else.
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