The True Definition of Hypnotherapy
By Brooke Lemke, Hypnotherapist at Genesis Health System
Welcome to a weekly conversation on hypnotherapy! I will be writing on the many different uses of hypnotherapy and answering many of the common questions I often hear from clients on a regular basis.
I would first love to introduce myself and explain how I found hypnotherapy and ultimately became a hypnotherapist.
Who I Am
I never actually considered hypnotherapy as a career option until my early-thirties when I turned to it to help manage chronic abdominal pain. I initially worked in health care at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics in inpatient pharmacy as a technician while studying pre-pharmacy at the U of I.
After ten years of pharmacy tech work, I decided it was time to throw caution to the wind and pursue a passion of mine: film/television. I moved to Los Angeles where I worked for five years behind the camera on multiple film and television sets.
While working in entertainment, the abdominal chronic pain I had suffered from for 16 years grew worse. I decided to turn to hypnotherapy for pain management while going back to school to study hypnotherapy to grasp a deeper understanding of it.
Within the first three sessions I was free of the pain that had followed me for over half of my life.
I successfully graduated with honors from the first accredited college of hypnotherapy in the U.S.: the Hypnosis Motivation Institute. I opened my private practice in Los Angeles and enjoyed watching that grow until I decided to return to my roots and move back to Iowa in 2015.
So What Is Hypnotherapy?
As for hypnotherapy, I get asked on a daily basis, “How does it work?” Simply put, hypnosis is a natural state that we slip in and out of all day long. It’s a trance-like state that we naturally enter when we become overloaded with information.
Imagine the trance you go into when driving, reading a book, watching television, and right before you fall asleep at night. This overload disorganizes our inhibitory process (critical mind), triggering our fight/flight responses and ultimately creates a hyper-suggestible state, providing access to the subconscious mind where all of our associations, emotions and belief systems are held.
It is here where we hold our “life script” that has been written for us through our early years of observing and creating associations, and then strengthened through repetition. These associations can range from being afraid of dogs because you were bit as a child, to how you communicate from having watched your parents interact, to how you see yourself and your relationships with others or even with objects, such as food.
In hypnotherapy, we create the natural state of hypnosis so we can gain access to the subconscious where we rearrange the associations that are driving your behaviors on a daily basis. Maybe you desire to eat healthier, to be free of pain, to handle stress, to overcome your fear of flying or so much more. We are able to create new behaviors thanks to the natural state of hypnosis in a safe and controlled environment.
Is It Mind Control?
No, it definitely isn't. Stage hypnosis is great for growing this myth because the stage hypnotist is actually selecting people out of the crowd who are hyper-suggestible and therefore are willing to perform.
I tell clients that I cannot make you say or do anything you do not want to do. If at any point you want to get up and leave my office, you could. You wouldn’t want to because you’ll find it relaxing and you’ll find yourself making the changes you desire, but if you wanted to, you could leave. In fact, hypnotherapy is all about giving you control over your mind and your life.
I look forward to expanding on all this in future blog posts, and diving into more details about suggestibility and the relationship between conscious/subconscious to help you take control of your life!
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