What is the difference between hypnosis and hypnotherapy? Let’s start by looking at the definitions of each.
Therapy is the process of the therapist asking questions to help you reflect on what is going on in your life, or to assist you in seeing a bigger picture.
Hypnosis is simply a relaxed state, similar to when you might be day dreaming. In hypnosis, your brain waves slow down from the Beta state (15-40 Hz) that we typically are in during the active day when we are thinking, planning, or doing activities, to the Alpha state (9-14 Hz), which is what you experience when you are relaxing. The slower brain wave state helps you to be more open to your own subconscious (as when you are daydreaming).
Hypnotherapy combines the relaxed state of hypnosis, and its ability to access the power of your subconscious, with the science of psychotherapy – and this study shows how effective that synergy is:
Psychoanalysis 38% after 600 sessions
Behavior therapy 72% after 22 sessions
Hypnotherapy 93% after 6 sessions
- Alfred A. Barrios, Ph.D., as reported in the psychotherapy journal
(Volume 7, Number 1) of the American Psychiatric Association
In a study done by Harvard psychology professor Stephen M. Kosslyn, PhD, and published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, participants watched images while hooked up to a PET scanner, which monitors brain activity. They watched the same images once while hypnotized and once while in a normal state.
The study concluded that when not hypnotized, participants used only the right hemisphere of their brains. But under hypnosis, they used both the left and right hemispheres of their brains.
So it appears that hypnosis actually allows us more access to our brains.
According to the American Psychological Foundation, when in hypnosis, people remain aware of who and where they are, and they also remember what happened during the trance.
Sometimes people think that when they come in, I will put them to sleep, and while they are sleeping, I will solve their problems. Wouldn’t that be nice! Others are afraid that they will be unconscious and will not have control.
The truth is that when in hypnosis, you are simply relaxed, with better access to your own memories and emotions. You will be completely aware and fully in control of your own reactions. I will ask you questions and you will respond with what feels right to you. You will have more access to your own subconscious, which has the information and answers that you are looking for. You may be amazed by the richness, beauty, creativity and effectiveness of the solutions that come from your own inner resources!
Why I Prefer Hypnotherapy Over Standard Hypnosis
Standard hypnosis works from the outside in. The hypnotist chooses the symbols, images and phrases to use (‘You are walking on a beach’) and gives ideas or suggestions (such as, ‘You no longer have an urge to eat chocolate’). But what if you don’t like beaches for some reason? Moreover, although this approach can be effective, it is not as empowering as discovering and enhancing your own inner resources.
Thus, hypnotherapy accesses your own subconscious to solve a problem. In hypnotherapy, you are not given suggestions, but rather empowered and guided to find the solutions that best resonate with you. Examples might be, ‘You are in a safe place…it might be a mountain, beach, meadow, or any other place where you feel safe and comfortable.’
Hypnotherapy can also be thought of as ‘Trance therapy’ or ‘Altered State therapy.’ Some call it ‘Closed Eye processes’ because it typically is experienced with the eyes closed. Closing the eyes allows you that easier access to your inner visionary. Some other types of therapy that you can do which fit into this category are: