By Julia Ferré
Every time John attempts to go to the eighth floor (or higher) in a tall building, he sweats and his heart races. He feels nervous, nauseated, and has trouble breathing. He wonders if there is a way to deal with the anxiety so he can get to those top levels.
Andrew enjoys his job and work is satisfying except when there are reviews. The feedback is usually positive; however, whenever he hears any comments, it feels like criticism, just like he felt when his father would reprimand him as a child. He thinks he may be overreacting but doesn’t know how to change his response.
Janet is expecting her first baby in a few months, but she is worried because her friends relay stories about their lengthy, painful labors. She believes it is possible to have a natural childbirth and really wants to avoid any unnecessary medical interventions.
Life doesn’t get any better than being able to do what you want, when you want, and how you want. But what do you do when something interferes with normal functioning?
When situations arise such as phobias, misinterpretations, or important upcoming events, it is appropriate to use additional resources to help you do things differently.
Hypnotherapy is a useful modality to change what you want to change. In the above examples, hypnotherapy can be used to overcome a phobia to heights, to review the past and how it has contributed to a current misperception, and to prepare for childbirth. For example, hypnosis can help desensitize a phobia through acceptance and deep relaxation. For excessive emotions that lead to misunderstandings, hypnosis can be used to regress to an earlier time and to understand the basis for that emotion with the goal to resolve the incorrect idea. And childbirth? HypnoBirthing is a unique childbirth educational program that incorporates hypnosis with relaxation, breathing techniques, visualizations, and intentions to help moms and couples prepare for the birthing day.
Hypnotherapy has many applications and they can be divided into two general areas. The first area is the use of hypnotherapy as a process method to help resolve conditions that may be holding you back, such as overcoming phobias, stopping smoking, or stopping stress. The other area of use for hypnosis is for regeneration, that is, to incorporate positive suggestions, fortify well-being, and increase confidence. Most sessions include both aspects where it is useful to stop something negative and strengthen something positive.
In every session is the potential to relax, refresh, and rejuvenate. This is due to the idea that hypnosis is a mind-body therapy that offers benefits because the mind and body integrate in a holistic way. During a hypnosis session, the physical benefits are abundant. The heartbeat and respiration rate slow to a restful state similar to sleep. This deep relaxation lowers blood pressure, allows for more production of endorphins, and decreases production of cortisol, the stress hormone. Spending 20 minutes in hypnosis provides as much rest as taking a two-hour nap.
In addition to the body’s physical comfort, the mind rests. During deep physical relaxation, brain waves slow down, and a person enters the alpha state, with the potential to reach deeper theta or delta states. In these deep states, the subconscious mind engages without the conscious mind’s interrupting. It is like turning off the mind chatter. As the conscious mind quiets, the subconscious mind focuses. The subconscious mind is the seat of feelings, beliefs, and memories, and in this heightened awareness, it is possible to review the past (even a prior lifetime), uncover misconceptions, and change deep-set ideas. When the subconscious mind is activated, it is the ideal time to reinforce emotions and beliefs that you want and thus condition yourself to activate and achieve the things you want.
My first experience with hypnosis occurred in 2002. I was camping with friends and my hypnotherapist friend guided me into a deep relaxation. As I was lying on a mat on the ground, large forest ants began crawling on my legs. Even though I knew the ants were there, I was so relaxed that it didn’t matter. This was the most amazing realization!
A year later, I had my first past-life regression, which revealed some interesting information. I consulted a certified hypnotherapist because I wanted to know if my recurring neck pain had a connection with a past life. The hypnotherapist helped me uncover a past life in Atlantis, where I had died from a neck injury. The situation had similarities to this life, plus I learned some things about my character and what is important to me. In addition, even though that past-life regression occurred in 2003, I can still recall many of the details and continue to garner additional insights.
Hypnosis is a deep way to relax the body and engage the mind. Information gained from the experience can influence you in immediate ways—such as overcoming a phobia or preparing for childbirth. Information can also remain with you for many years and provide benefits beyond the session. As a way to unify the mind and body, hypnosis can be a perfect way to get to know yourself better and is a perfect tool for personal growth and development.
Some Uses of Hypnosis
Anger/temper~Anxiety~Asthma~Bedwetting~Blood pressure~Childbirth~Concentration~Constipation~Eating disorders~Energy~Exam anxiety~Fear~Goal setting~Grinding teeth~Healing~Indigestion~Insomnia~Incontinence~Memory~Migraine headaches~Nail biting~Pain control~Past-life regression~Phobias~Problem solving~Procrastination~Public speaking~Study habits~Self-confidence~Sexual issues/disorders~Sports performance~Smoking cessation~Stress management~Weight reduction/control
Julia Ferré, CHT, is a certified clinical hypnotherapist certified through ACHE, the American Council of Hypnotist Examiners. She provides sessions via Skype or in person in Chico, California, 530.864.5053, Juliaferre101@gmail.com. See www.JuliaFerre.com for more information.