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Medical Hypnosis

What is Hypnosis *

Hypnosis is a special state of mind in which you can learn things more easily. Some people describe it as ‘superlearning’. It can be used to help you change the way that you think, feel or act. It can be also used to help you interact or relate more easily with other people or to help you settle unwanted symptoms such as anxiety and depression. Medical hypnosis is used to boost self confidence. Hypnosis can be used for help with anything that involves the human mind.


Hypnosis has been used in many forms since the beginning of time, but it has usually been given other names when it has been incorporated into ceremonies and practices such as relaxation, meditation or even forms of affirmation or prayer. Medical hypnosis has been developed and refined over the past century.

Stage Hypnosis

Mention hypnosis and most people initially think of stage hypnosis where people appear to be under the control of the hypnotist. As a result they think that when they are hypnotised that they might divulge personal secrets and do silly things, later having no memory of what happened. Remember that stage hypnosis is hypnosis used for entertainment and that even though it can be very real, the people on stage are volunteers who are there to have fun and amuse the audience.

Medical Hypnosis

Medical hypnosis has a very different purpose. It usually involves achieving a state of relaxation when you will feel very calm and peaceful. You are not unconscious. It is possible to hear other sounds and to know what is happening during the session although naturally, other irrelevant sounds and thoughts become very unimportant during deep relaxation, when the mind produces a natural ‘high’. It is during this state of mind, that the deeper mind or subconscious is very receptive to ideas and you can learn positive ways of thinking, feeling and being. Most people can recall their session afterwards if they chose to, although it is generally best to avoid analysing the session later, as best results are achieved by letting the ideas sink into the subconscious mind. A supportive friend is welcome to attend with you if you wish. Parents accompany children during consultations.

What is is used for?

Thinking can be improved to enable you to sharpen your concentration, think more clearly, make decisions more easily and boost you memory. Memories you wish to recall can easily be brought into your mind, whilst other memories not presently needed or wanted are stored away.

Mood can be improved so that levels of tension, stress and depression can be removed or reduced and your level of well being is enhanced. Self confidence is strengthened. Pain can be controlled.

Behaviour can also be changed and people can use hypnosis to assist with giving up smoking or to control eating patterns, stop nail biting and to control many other habits or addictions. Uses also include stress management, or for help with worry, low self esteem, performance enhancement, relationship and family problems, insomnia, tension headaches and a wide range of conditions.

Pre Hypnosis Counselling

Some people think that hypnosis is used to probe a persons mind to find out secrets or things from the past that have been forgotten. Hypnosis can be used in this way, if a person wants to find out something that has been buried in their subconscious, but this is only done with the person’s consent. Medical Hypnosis does not usually require the person to speak at all whilst they are in the hypnotic state. Usually it is only the therapist who is talking whilst you are hypnotised. Hypnosis is a consent state. No one can force you to be hypnotised against your will.

The therapist will spend time with you prior to the actual hypnosis, taking a detailed history of your problem. With your help the therapist can usually determine the cause of the problem during this counselling time. Knowing what you want to achieve is very important in helping you to be successful. Your therapist will ask you questions and carefully think about your answers, to formulate the best suggestions to help you, once you are hypnotised.

When you have specific goals and a specific time in which you want to achieve them, your subconscious has a clear path to follow to help you to be successful. Your therapist will also talk with you in the counselling session to ensure that your goals are realistic. This is important, as once your subconscious has been programmed to achieve your goal it will want to help you to be successful.

Some people are afraid that they will lose control of their feelings or their mind when they are hypnotised. Medical hypnosis actually gives you control. In the counselling session before each time you are hypnotised, your therapist will work with you, to find out how you want to think, feel and act. The hypnosis is used to program your mind, similar to the way in which a computer is programmed. Medical hypnosis is used to help you take control of your mind and your life.

Number of Sessions

Because hypnotherapy is a form of learning, repetition is helpful, as it was when you learnt your multiplication tables as a child, until you “knew it off by heart”. Hypnotherapy speeds up this process. The number of sessions you need will depend on how mild or serious your problem is and how long you have had it. Generally speaking, the easier the problem and the shorter time you have had it, the fewer number of sessions that you will require. Many conditions require about 6 sessions.

Homework & Attendance

Some people think that hypnosis is a magic wand and that the therapist will do all of the work. Hypnosis is like other forms of learning where the teacher needs to be knowledgeable and a good communicator and the pupil needs to be attentive and do some homework. In general those who practice the relaxation exercises given by the therapist once or twice a day achieve the best results.

Some people need medication to help with their condition eg. in severe depression. Relaxation and hypnotherapy help with most medical conditions and people often need smaller quantities of medication. When being treated, continue to take any medication which you agree to take and talk to your doctor before changing any dosage.

Remember to keep all of your appointments. Some people only come for help when they are in serious trouble and stop attending when they feel some improvement. You will need to attend until both you and your therapist agree that the time is right for you to finish therapy. Continue your therapy until your improvement becomes second nature and then you are more likely to make your success a lasting success.


* Courtesy Dr Alan Fahey, Master of Psychological Medicine.

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