Hypnosis, even the word itself, will elicit from the average reader a conditioned response. That response is usually a negative one when it is offered as an option for holistic healing. As a result, to assuage the fear of giving up control to a hypnotist, the approach by therapists has been an effort to call the technique a variety of different names. Deep meditation, guided relaxation, visualization; the list of euphemisms is a long one. The individual looking for short term therapy seems to be less threatened if you turn the tiger into a pussycat by calling it a different name.
Hypnosis is the Greek root word for sleep. The word hypnosis refers to a form of sleep induced by a therapist. Self hypnosis gives an individual the ability to achieve this state of relaxed meditation without the need for a therapist. The responsible hypnotherapist will give the client the training in self hypnosis as a tool that can be used for a lifetime to reduce stress, pain or to reinforce therapy given to break a self destructive habit such as smoking. When using hypnotherapy with phobic clients for fear of flying, fear of elevators, bridges or simply leaving the house, self hypnosis is a vital tool for long term success.
Hypnosis as a form of holistic healing has a long and illustrious history dating back to early man. The ancient Greeks had healing temples where the troubled man or woman went for calming and meditation by priests using hypnotic chants very similar to the Buddhist tradition to this day. A startling example is a document known as the Ebers Papyrus in the British Museum. The papyrus has been carbon dated to the 2nd Egyptian Dynasty some three thousand years ago. The induction technique, written in hieroglyphics, to induce what we call hypnosis could be used word for word by a therapist today.
Medical schools today have slowly (and I might add, reluctantly) come to the conclusion that hypnosis can be a legitimate therapeutic modality to address habitual behavior such as smoking, the most prevalent cause of cancer, heart disease and stroke. In my many years of therapeutic practice in hypnosis the stigma some attached to this therapy is the feeling that it would be looked upon as a sign of weakness. There is no stigma in the use of hypnosis as a method to save your health. The real stigma is to pick up a pack of cigarettes with a label that says smoking can cause your death and despite this warning, you light up. The proper focus of shame should be directed towards the active smoker, not a person seeking hypnosis, the quick and harmless way to stop the habit.
Not every individual can use the hypnotic process. The competent therapist will test your ability to be hypnotized. Perhaps 85% of prospective clients are able to use hypnotherapy effectively. Because of the well known dangers of smoking, the rate of success is high but the most important factor in that success is a simple question: Are you really ready to stop? The next step is to pick an experienced and competent hypnotherapist. You should ask for educational credentials and length of experience. Im afraid that the word certified with a few letters after it is not enough. Hypnotherapy is not a licensed or certified practice in the State of New York. Such ease of setting up a practice lends itself to abuses. I have seen the advertisements of schools that will give a diploma of certification in hypnotherapy after one or two daily seminars for a layman without any post high school credentials. A recommendation from your Doctor is always a good idea. Hypnotherapists that have worked within the medical profession can be used with confidence.
Daniel J. Weingrad has a BA from Syracuse University and an MA from New York University. He has earned post-graduate credits in medical and psychiatric hypnosis from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He was a staff hypnotherapist with Cabrini Medical Center Hospice, working in pain control with cancer patients and has over thirty years of private practice in hypnotherapy. For more information, please contact him at: 631-398-2969 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org