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Too often, ideas about hypnosis are founded on myths and misconceptions.Clinical hypnosis is not mind control. It has nothing to do with the bizarre concepts shown in movies, nor is it anything like entertainment or “stage hypnosis.”
Hypnosis is a state of inner absorption, concentration and focused attention. It is like using a magnifying glass to focus the rays of the sun and make them more powerful. Similarly, when our minds are concentrated and focused, we are able to use our minds more powerfully. Because hypnosis allows people to use more of their potential, learning self-hypnosis is the ultimate act of self-control.
Clinical hypnosis is a therapeutic tool that you can use to enhance your own health and well-being.
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One of the most important things to know about hypnosis is that the person being hypnotized is in control of the entire situation. You cannot be forced or obliged to do anything you do not wish to do. You cannot be made to cluck like a chicken! (unless you want to!!) Once in a hypnotic state, called trance, the hypno-therapist may make suggestions and comments, but you cannot be made to do anything against your will. And no reputable or ethical practitioner will ever try to force you do do anything you do not wish to do.
Another misconception about hypnosis is that one loses consciousness or “goes to sleep”. That is not true.
Under hypnosis, a person is completely aware of his or her surroundings and knows exactly what is occurring at any time. It is an altered state of awareness or focus.
It is much like driving on a highway. You are on “auto-pilot” while you think about the day you have just had, or what’s for dinner, or perhaps the hot date you have planned for the evening. But, should an emergency arise, you immediately become aware of the need, your focus shifts, and you deal with the situation at hand.
So it is with hypnosis. Your mental focus is different, but should you need to, you can easily return to a normal state of awareness and focus without difficulty.
Earlier, I stated that hypnosis is a change in mental focus, turning it inward. This inward focus is achieved through a series of relaxations and suggestions, which will enable the therapist to quickly and safely place you in a state of hypnosis, or what we call trance. Once a person is in the hypnotic state, most of the work of hypnosis can begin.
When one is in a hypnotic state , the subconscious or unconscious mind is much easier to access than it is otherwise. The unconscious mind can be communicated with in verbal or non-verbal ways, in order to facilitate the changes in behavior or attitude that is desired. And, since the unconscious mind does not always know what the conscious mind does, it is a way to enable the unconscious mind to reinforce the knowledge that the conscious mind has learned. The patient can be given suggestions that will follow beyond hypnosis (post-hypnotic suggestions) and that can very well help a person deal with their particular issues.
So, how do we use clinical hypnosis in my practice?
There are many uses for hypnosis within the dental setting. (To learn about those, click here to visit our Relaxation Dentistry) But there are also uses that people may not strictly associate with the dentist. These will be addressed on the following pages.
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Hypnosis is a powerful tool to help individuals improve their quality of life.