Professionals define hypnotherapy in different ways; most agree that hypnosis involves creating a state of mind which normal thinking is suspended temporarily.
The British Society of Clinical and Academic Hypnosis (BSCAH) in the UK shows a detailed history of hypnosis, but also outlines the types of physical health and mental conditions, which can be helped. Hypnosis is generally considered to be a useful form of treatment especially during childbirth, stress, anxiety, weight loss, panic attacks, as a restful sleep hypnosis treatment, and irrational fears. The BSCAH would consider that hypnosis essentially involves creating a state of mind in which normal thinking is suspended temporarily. In 1966 John Hartland wrote a book titled Medical and Dental Hypnosis and was directed specifically for the medical profession.
The History of Hypnosis
The Hypnotherapist Register of UK and Ireland talk about the use of trance states being traced back to before Christ in the temples of Babylonia (now Iraq), part of the ancient empire of Mesopotamia. Mesopotamia (known as the land between the rivers) was a cultural and scientific area with a highly developed civilization, where the people would instigate dreaming to find answers to problems.
The Science of Trance Hypnotic States
The modern day science of hypnosis established itself when the Austrian Anton Mesmer (1734-1815) discovered a technique, which often induced convulsions, but also a loss of mental and physical control in his patients, However according to David Simmons who writes for the BSCAH modern hypnosis was discovered and practiced in1600 and by the mid-19th century a number of doctors were experimenting with what was being termed as autosuggestion. One such psychiatrist, Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) found hypnosis very useful with anxious, neurotic patients.
From Trance to Magic with Hypnosis
There is the more magical and natural style of hypnosis with a Milton H. Erickson (1902-80), a psychiatrist who later became a hypnotherapist. This brilliant man transformed how human reaction to stress and deep-rooted problems were addressed, by using a creative type of hypnosis others had never used. Milton H. Erickson is generally considered to be the most important hypnotherapist of modern time. His sensory perception on all levels of non-verbal communication became extremely acute; some would say magical! His heightened level of awareness helped him later when he invented non-conventional Ericksonian Hypnosis.
Indirect Verses Direct Hypnosis
The indirect approach known as Erickson hypnotherapy uses stories and metaphors, which tend to relax people into a sense of curiosity. The client slowly closes their eyes, mainly because he or she wants to absorb and listen to the story. According to The Hypnotherapy Association (UK) “Hypnosis is a natural state of heightened awareness, where you are able to open your mind to beneficial suggestions and where you can make use of your imagination to help make positive changes in your life.”
Professionalism as a Hypnotherapist
There are many ways in which to find a therapist. According to the BSCAH hypnosis is a procedure that can be used to facilitate therapy. However, hypnosis is not a type of therapy, like psychotherapy or cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT). According to many associations, one’s like BSCAH and others such as The Hypnotherapy Association conducts training in hypnotherapy. Associations differ the BSCAH states “Clinical hypnosis can only be used only by properly trained, registered and accredited health care professionals who have been trained in the clinical use of hypnosis and are working within the areas of their professional expertise.”