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Does “Stage Hypnosis” Give Clinical Hypnosis a Bad Name?

For many people, their only contact with hypnosis is the stage performance, where the use of hypnotism is used to entertain and delight an audience. Stage performance can either be on tour, traveling throughout the country, or be on television shows, or both. This is obviously different from clinical hypnosis, where a hypnotherapist works one-on-one with a patient in an effort to solve a problem or seek a solution to an addiction

But the techniques are basically the same. Both attempt to induce an hypnotic trance, and bypass the conscious mind to reach the unconscious, and then plant a suggestion into the unconscious mind.

But that’s where the similarities end. The stage performer’s priority is to entertain, so his suggestions to his participants would have that as a goal, so he would suggest things such as quacking like a duck, talking with aliens, dancing like a ballerina, etc.. This would be unlike a clinical hypnotherapist whose chief aim would be more serious, for example, to root out an addiction or solve some ongoing problem for the patient.

Another difference would be the speed and depth of a trance performed by the stage hypnotist. He has a waiting audience to appease, so he can’t take too long to get his volunteers hypnotized. The stage performer would carefully look for signs with his volunteers to determine how open to suggestions they are, and who responds best to his suggestions. The need to find easily hypnotizable subjects is why the performer chooses more volunteers than he needs and that allows him to reject those he considers are not easily able to be hypnotized.

The clinical hypnotist,on the other hand, would take his time and ask his patient lots of questions, so he could determine the best and most effective way to induce an hypnotic trance.

A stage hypnotist has to be a good performer and have good stage presence. After all, he is putting on a show.

The clinical hypnotist works with his patients in trying to arrive at the best and most effective way to induce an hypnotic trance and reach a solution to the problem at hand.

A good stage hypnotist is no less skilled in trance induction and suggestion than a therapeutic hypnotist. In fact, a number of stage hypnotists have previously been clinical hypnotists; others may go on to became clinical hypnotists, and some do both at the same time.

A question that is frequently asked is about the use of free will. The generally accepted view among experts ad practitioners is that no person can be hypnotized to act against their will. They feel that there is always a part of the mind that is aware of what is happening, and the person would come out of the hypnotic trance if they would be given hypnotic suggestions to perform an action contrary to their belief.

In the late eighteenth century, stage performers would take part in elaborate stage shows in order to attract fee-paying clients. Hypnotism became a popular parlor game as the craze swept Europe and America. In the united States hypnotism stage performance really took off in the 1890’s and became a popular form of entertainment.

The dominant figure in the early part of the twentieth century was a man by the name of Ormond McGill, a great showman during his day, who first became interested in magic shows before he eventually changed to stage hypnosis. He was the author of several popular books on hypnotism and had a long and successful career both as a stage performer and in clinical hypnotism. In fact, he was an early pioneer in the use of television for his performances, and has served as an inspiration to many of today’s performers.

There are now thousands of stage performers throughout the world, performing before live audiences or on television. There are probably as many stage routines as there are performers. The basic pattern of each show may be similar; a group of volunteers are selected from the audience to come up on stage, put under an hypnotic trance, given suggestions and post-hypnotic suggestions, and then act out according to the suggestions, with the suggestions given only limited by the imagination of the performer.

Which brings me back to the original question: Does “Stage Hypnosis” give Clinical Hypnosis a bad name?

Critics say that the stage performances give clinical hypnosis a bad name because they trivialize the effectiveness of hypnosis in solving personal problems, and give the general public a warped idea of what hypnosis really is and how it can help in many aspects of life.

The counter argument is that the opposite occurs. By seeing hypnosis at work first hand, the public is more likely to believe in the therapeutic effects of it, and may even contact a clinical hypnotist for help with their particular problem.

The jury is still out on a final answer. What do you think?

Copyright 2006 by Gary Machado

Hypnosis Facts And Fiction: De-Mystifying Hypnosis

The sad truth is that hypnosis is a fairly misunderstood practice. When many people think of hypnosis, they think of either:

A) The myth of the “evil hypnotist,” taking away peoples’ free will, and hypnotizing them into doing something immoral, or humiliating, or-

B) The stage hypnotist who will get them to behave out-of-character in public for the purpose of entertainment.

But the truth is far more optimistic, complex, and useful than either of these images would suggest. For one thing, readers can rest assured that there is no way for people to be hypnotized in to evil activities (as the story goes with the villainous hypnotist). And stage hypnosis differs greatly from the clinical hypnosis that is used in treating medical conditions. Clinical hypnosis is, in fact, a valid medical tool that is potentially beneficial to numerous people for numerous things.

What’s The Difference Between Stage Hypnosis and Clinical Hypnotherapy?

Stage hypnosis is showy and entertaining, and is used for entertainment purposes only. People act out characters or behaviors for the sake of humor.

Clinical hypnotherapy on the other hand is a very subdued process. The person being hypnotized keeps his or her eyes closed the whole time. He or she generally doesn’t act anything out (beyond perhaps an “anchoring” gesture, which will be explored elsewhere.) Plus, it is a tool, verified by scientific evidence, which helps people all over the world with a variety of medical conditions, including everything from pain management, to smoking cessation, to anxiety, and weight loss.

How Does It Work?

With the help of a clinical hypnotist, people are able to enter a highly relaxed and focused state, in which they are receptive to positive hypnotic suggestions. In this way, they are literally changing their minds about their approach to certain issues pertaining to their health.

Can You Be Hypnotized?

A lot of people naturally assume that they cannot be hypnotized simply because they would never, of their own volition, engage in stage hypnotism. (After all, someone who is naturally shy would never willingly be hypnotized into clucking like a chicken in front of hundreds of people; it would be far too embarrassing.)

But what people don’t realize is that, those who choose to engage in stage hypnosis want to engage in it. It is a form of entertainment that attracts participants with exhibitionist tendencies, and their willingness is key to the effectiveness of the stage hypnotist’s work.

There are also those who assume that they cannot be hypnotized as they think that hypnotism implies either a placebo effect at best, or weak-mindedness at worst. Neither of these things is true. In terms of the placebo effect, recent scientific studies have shown that hypnosis has been more effective at treating anything from warts to impotence compared to those treated with placeboes.

Lastly, to dispel the myth of weak mindedness, it’s worth clarifying that there are only 3 qualifications necessary for you to be capable of entering a hypnotic state. You must have:

· The ability to focus for an extended duration

· An IQ higher than 60

· An openness to the process of hypnotism

As you can see, even those who are strong of will, and highly intelligent, can be ideal candidates for all that hypnosis has to offer.

When you become familiar with the facts of hypnosis, it becomes clear that, while our culture often relegates it to the realm of illegitimacy, the truth is that hypnosis is a highly effective medical tool. It is available as a drug free option to numerous people, many of whom assumed previously that they would not be appropriate candidates for the practice.

How Can Clinical Hypnotherapy Help You?

One of the things that people ask me frequently is “If I come to you to reduce my stress will you make me bark like a dog?” The short answer to this question is no. As pretty much any expert will tell you, clinical hypnotherapy is a far cry from the stage hypnosis the most people are familiar with. As a matter of fact, many clinical hypnosis treatments don’t even involve the kind of induction used on stage. Although there are some people who do strictly clinical hypnotherapy, more often hypnosis is used as part of a larger treatment. You use suggestion, hypnosis, strategizing, analysis, and all the other techniques at your disposal to get the best results with the patient.

The clinical hypnotherapy part of it just happens to be the part that people focus on because it is so shrouded in mystery. It is also full of myths and misinformation. A lot of people find hypnosis to be strange or even frightening. I’ve even had people tell me “You’re doing the work of the devil” because they believe, seemingly without any control of their own, subjects of hypnotists drop into a trance where they will do anything they are told.

The reality of this is that hypnosis is much more complicated than that. In some ways it can be viewed as more of a game that people are playing together. The person hypnotizing is able to succeed because he believes what he is doing is possible. The person being hypnotized believes it is possible. Therefore as a result of this belief system, at his suggestion, the subject drops into a trance.

Just like psychology, hypnosis works because people believe in it. People who are hypnotized really believe that they won’t remember what they are told when they wake up, and learn to forget it unconsciously. By the way, this can be really useful. For example, a hypnosis patient might have a phobia that they are trying to overcome. A Phobia occurs because the subject associates something that is fairly harmless with something painful that happened earlier in life. By suggesting that they think about it in a different way, a clinical hypnotherapist can help them overcome the phobia.

For example, if you are scared of walruses because you were frightened by one at the zoo as a young child, a clinical hypnotherapy session might focus around giving you a new association. By the time you’re done, you might have some implanted memory of a walrus stuffed toy that you had as a child and loved a lot. By associating walruses with treasured childhood memories, the clinical hypnotherapy could help you overcome your fear.

Of course, a lot of clinical hypnotherapy is more complicated than that. Sometimes, a clinical therapist works to install completely new patterns of behavior in you. He will help you go through old, dysfunctional habits and pick out new, better ways of living your life. Step-by-step, day by day, he will work with you to come up with a more effective, happier way to run your life.

Clinical Hypnosis – How it Works

Clinical hypnosis is a means of communicating with a person’s mind in such a way that behavioural patterns and changes are established. The primary reason for having these patterns identified is to aid in improving one’s lifestyle, appearance or health and the method is mostly practiced by qualified medical experts who have a full understanding of our body’s functions. These experts are also adept at identifying the best ways to approach or address significant changes in our behavioural patterns because each individual will require a different approach to a certain type of problem in order for treatment to be successful.

While there are a lot of surgical procedures and pills available in the market today, clinical hypnosis has become a popular alternative to these options because it has been proven to have no negative side effects whatsoever and has been identified as a very effective way to quit smoking and get rid of alcoholism. It has also proven effective in addressing depression and weight problems, as well as in developing a person’s self-confidence.

Contrary to what other people believe, clinical hypnosis is not brainwashing. Rather, it is a method of engaging an individual’s mind and body to take control of a certain situation in your life so that you can turn it into something positive. The method is safe enough that it can even be self-administered with the help of some books that explain how you can get a better understanding of your own mind and body. You may also employ CDs and DVDs that walk you through each step in the entire process in order to make sure that you are doing everything right and that you will get the results that you expect.

The period of time in which you will see significant results from clinical hypnosis differs for each individual, but it is safe to say that no one can expect to see results after just one session. You will need to have enough patience to perform the procedure as many times as needed in the exact manner indicated. If you break the pattern in any way, you will jeopardize the success of the treatment and you may have to start all over again. Remember as well that your body and your mind will go through a lot of changes as you are undergoing clinical hypnosis, especially if you are trying to quit a bad habit or if you are trying to rise out of depression. These types of cases need extra work and commitment on your part because it takes a lot longer to resolve than other issues.

The upshot is that all of your hard work and perseverance will not be in vain. Clinical hypnosis can improve your life in more ways than one. For example, if your problem is with depression then getting out of depression and gaining a more positive outlook in life may be the best thing that will happen to you. This will allow you to enjoy a happier and healthier life and may even improve the relationships you have with other people. Just remember to talk about the method with a noted professional first before you try it out at home. This is to make sure that you have all the knowledge and information you need and that you can take full advantage of the method.

Hypnosis and Mind Control – Are They Really Immoral?

Hypnosis and mind control are both confused with each other and misunderstood. There are similarities between the two for sure, but there are some important differences also. One of the terms generally has a positive connotation, albeit couched in some skepticism, while the other has a negative connotation. In this article I will give a bit of insight into how you can use principles of these two disciplines in a positive way to improve your life.

How is hypnotizing someone different from controlling their mind (also known as brainwashing)? Clinical hypnosis, which is the type we are most familiar with (as opposed to the more secret covert, or underground variety), is a voluntary process that involves being put in trance putting one into a state of hyper sensitivity to suggestion in order to influence the subconscious mind. Mind control, on the other hand, is involuntary and often involves psychological and physical torture and manipulation in order to brainwash someone into doing what you want them to do.

The subconscious can be altered in order to change your behavior using hypnosis and mind control. Brainwashing is imposed on one, while hypnosis is something you choose for yourself. Ultimately, both can achieve similar results, but obviously, one method is much more pleasant than the other.

In order to benefit the most from the voluntary process of hypnosis, you must want to change. The desire to make changes and to practice mind control has to come from deep within you. The level of determination which you exercise to make changes in your life will often determine how successful you will be at the hypnotizing techniques you employ. The subconscious is powerful but the conscious mind can override it if you let it. You can only make changes in your life by have unity between your conscious and subconscious, this comes from true desire for change.

You can also visit a hypnotist, a professional with whom you can build trust and confidence, and in whose presence you feel comfortable and relaxed. Trust has to come first before all else for hypnotism to work effectively. If you have any fears or doubts they will work as a barrier and the process will not be effective. Your subconscious is only as receptive as you are to the whole experience.

As I mentioned earlier, hypnosis and mind control can achieve much of the same effect. However, the ethical foundation behind mind control is questionable at best. An alternative to the above method is used by those who capture prisoners of war brainwash them into believing their country is evil, or that their political outlook is immoral. This is the essence of mind control. It is very effective, but the psychological and physical torture methods used in it are very unpleasant and can leave a lasting negative impact on one’s psyche. So basically, you should stick to hypnotizing others and don’t concern yourself with mind control unless you want to be an evil scientist screwing with people’s minds against their will (hopefully you don’t).

Using Hypnosis to Treat Some Health Syndromes

Many people find themselves completely absorbed into a book they are reading or a movie they are watching to the point that they become unaware of what is going on around them. Some feel a strange, warm sensation come over us them just before falling asleep. While running long distances or finishing a hard workout, our bodies begin to feel lighter and it is almost as if our minds and bodies are separate entities.

On our drive home from work, our brain shifts into auto-pilot to get us home. We often encounter trance-like states similar to hypnosis throughout the day, without even intentionally trying. Today, hypnosis techniques are being used to treat a number of ailments from insomnia and anxiety to chronic headaches and irritable bowel syndrome.

In 2000, Harvard researchers sought an answer to the question: Does being hypnotized change the brain? In their study, they asked a group of men to hold a brick out in front of them as long as they could, which was five minutes for most fully conscious subjects. However, under hypnotic suggestion, they held the brick out for fifteen to twenty minutes. Next, subjects were hypnotized and placed in an MRI scanner. A computer screen showed them patterns of yellow, red, blue and green rectangles and recorded their brain activity.

Then they were shown the same rectangles in shades of gray and were asked to imagine the colors. When they were not hypnotized, both activities showed brain activity on the right side only, but when they were hypnotized both the left and the right hemispheres responded. “What we have shown for the first time,” lead researcher Stephen Kosslyn concluded, “is that hypnosis changes conscious experience in a way not possible when we are not under hypnosis.”

“I used to be a skeptic, then years ago I took part in a TV program where pregnant women were taught self-hypnosis to help them sleep. Determined to prove it didn’t work, I tried it out myself at home, and promptly dropped off. Now I use it every night,” confessed UK journalist Miriam Stoppard. She adds that a 2006 study on 84 American schoolchildren conducted by State University of New York Upstate Medical University at Syracuse reported positive findings that hypnotism could improve sleep habits. Of those who took more than thirty minutes to fall asleep each night, 90% reported improvement with their insomnia following hypnosis sessions.

Another use for clinical hypnosis is smoking cessation. In 2007, North Shore Medical Center and Massachusetts General Hospital ran a study regarding the effectiveness of stop smoking hypnotherapy, versus those who quit cold turkey, those who received nicotine replacement therapy or those who received nicotine replacement therapy and hypnotherapy combined. Just over six months later, researchers found that 50% of those treated with hypnotherapy alone were nonsmokers and 50% of those treated with NRT/hypnotherapy had quit fully, compared to 25% in the “cold turkey” control group and 15.78% in the nicotine replacement therapy only group.

Being Collaborative With Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy

I think many people perceiving the field of hypnosis and hypnotherapy from outside of the field, that is, people without a great deal of knowledge about these subjects, often think that hypnosis is something which is done by one person to another.

Poorly informed hypnotherapy clients or members of the public think that clients/patients take on a passive role and wait for changes to happen to them as a result of what they hypnotist says and does.

Hypnosis and hypnotherapy are at their best when they are collaborative. Therapy in general tends to get better results when there is active collaboration and any visit to a therapeutic journal archive or Google scholar will show research and evidence to support this. However, I can recommend seeking out and reading Hypnotic Susceptibility (1965) by Ernest Hilgard to advance the notion that hypnosis depends as much on the subject as the hypnotherapist or clinical hypnosis professional, and also a paper by Lynn, Rhue and Weekes (1990) entitled Hypnotic involuntariness: A social-cognitive analysis featured in Psychological Review, 97, 169-184. Both support what I am writing here today.

Good quality, well-trained hypnotherapists and clinical hypnosis professionals do explain this to their clients when they educate them about hypnosis and the therapeutic relationship and start to create the correct expectations.

Therefore, clinical hypnosis professionals should really be considering collaboration and involving the client in many more aspects of the hypnotherapy process than they might initially think. Collaboration is not just about stating and understanding the roles and responsibilities of client and hypnotherapist, it means involving the client in much of what you do. I mean, most hypnotherapists agree their treatment plan with their clients and check they understand the rationale for doing so, don’t they? But how many take collaboration into the details of the hypnosis session itself?

This includes running by some of the means and ways you use suggestions and how you communicate them, so of course we respond to the feedback and information we elicit from our clients, we all knew that anyway, right? But how many actually ask about whether the pace is right for the client? How many hypnosis professionals ever enquire “am I speaking too slow or too fast for you?” Then alter how they speak instead of just assuming that some affected, slow drawl is what is needed for the perfect hypnosis session.

What about the volume and tone of how you are speaking too? “can you hear me ok, or would prefer me to speak louder, softer or is it ok? it takes a few seconds to really tailor how you are communicating and delivering suggestions. Any client is going to prefer and appreciate clearly stated, easy to understand suggestions that are delivered in the way they prefer rather than you giving them no choice and doing things purely how you think are best as a trained hypnosis professional, aren’t they?

I have previously disputed facets of NLP (neuro linguistic programming) which suggest we need to match and mirror and match the way people talk in order to build rapport – there is no real evidence to suggest this is efficacious for therapeutic results at all. However, why not collaborate with the client and ask them for their preferences about visual imagery or auditory imagery used within the session? Even though there is no evidence to suggest indirect language patterns are any more beneficial when it comes to therapeutic results than direct language patterns, why not ask if they prefer to be spoken to in a direct manner or a permissive one and give examples explaining the difference?

When we collaborate with the client, we are enhancing and developing the working alliance and therapeutic relationship we (the hypnotherapist) have with them. We are also demonstrating a depth of respect and trust for the client and when we collaborate well, the client stops being a client in a manner and becomes a partner in the process that you are working with. Collaboration also ensures that the client learns to take ownership of the process and be responsible for it – and that gives greater therapeutic results for sure.

How Clinical Hypnosis Works in Action

Clinical hypnotists spend a long period of time to accumulate experience and knowledge before he or she performs hypnotherapy. At the beginning, one must follow standard procedures to carry out hypnotic induction. It ensures the safety and effectiveness of the trance induction. As time goes when a hypnotist becomes a master, he or she can then modify the hypnosis process as seen fit. Hypnosis is flexible and changeable as a hypnotist wishes to be.

Hypnosis is usually broken down into 5 major steps.

1. Diagnosis: The hypnotist will ask questions and clarify some potential confusion by the subject. If there is any misunderstanding, it will interfere with the process. The hypnotist will try to answer queries, and explain the hypnosis procedure to the subject.

2. Induction: The hypnotist puts the subject into trance state using an induction method. Generally, a few commonly used methods include progressive relaxation, eye fixation, deep breathing, visualization and other imaginary manners.

3. Deepening: The subject is brought to a deeper level in the subconscious mind. Methodology includes tunnel and stairs visualization methods.

4. Healing: During the stage, the hypnotist will perform the actual healing based on the needs of the subject. And this is also challenging, as you may have never met the same case before. The situation can be beyond your weirdest imagination. This stage also differentiates the masters among the hypnotists.

5. Ending: The subject recovers his or her external focus and awareness. He or she feels fine and experiences subtle change. The stage is usually done by counting from one to five.

Usually the whole process lasts for a few hours. Depending on situation, the subject may need additional hypnotic session in order to be fully healed.

How to Choose a Clinical Hypnosis Professional

The major dilemma in deciding to pursue hypnotherapy is selecting a qualified Hypnotist.

You need to decide whether you want to work with a psychiatrist or other licensed mental health practitioner who includes hypnosis as a part of their practice, or if you want a hypnotist who uses hypnosis exclusively as a healing modality.

Psychiatrists and other licensed mental health practitioners at times use hypnosis in treating people; however certified hypnotists have more in-depth training. The psychiatrist or licensed mental health practitioner may have attended a weekend workshop and learned how to induce hypnosis but may have little or no experience in communicating with the mind in its subconscious mode.

The first question to ask anyone with whom you consider working is “Are you a certified hypnotist and by whom?” The National Guild of Hypnotherapists is the oldest and largest worldwide non-profit certifying organization cited by Congress in the Congressional Record of May 11th, 1993 as the foremost hypnosis organization in the country.

Although, one assumes all licensed professionals are highly qualified, that does not hold true with hypnosis, a licensed professional needs to be certified in hypnosis in addition to their license. Therefore, whomever you choose, be sure they are certified by a certifying institution or recognized organization and have had a minimum of 100 hours of training–not just a weekend seminar.

In addition, it is important to consider a Hypnotist, who is also a certified Regression practitioner. The reason it is important to choose a Hypnotist, who is also a certified Regression practitioner is because the root cause of your issue is more often than not rooted in your past experiences–therefore, regression to those experiences to heal the emotional issues is necessary. A certified Hypnotist has little or no training in regression work. Therefore, to have the most qualified Hypnotist make sure they are a certified Hypnotist and certified Regression practitioner.

The International Board for Regression Therapy (IBRT) Inc. as an independent examining and certifying board www.ibrt.org is the foremost regression certifying organization. Its mission is to set professional standards for practice, evaluate the preparation and qualifications of practitioners and the quality of training programs, and to issue certificates to those who pass the rigorous evaluation process. It is a not-for-profit corporation registered in New York State.

Another area to explore is how much experience the prospective therapist has had in your area of need. How long have they been in full-time practice? What are their specialties? Do they have experience in addressing the problem you want to address or in attaining the goal you want to achieve? How many clients have they treated? How many successfully?

Another question particularly helpful is “What is the law regarding the practice of hypnotherapy in your state?” In Illinois, it is PA473. The reason it is important that any prospective hypnotist know the law is because hypnotherapy must be practiced in strict conformity with it. Be suspicious of anyone who doesn’t know the limits of their practice.

Finally, if you are satisfied with the responses to all other questions, ask yourself one final question. “Am I comfortable with this person?” Attempting to work with someone who maybe highly qualified but with whom you have no rapport or with someone you don’t feel you can trust will only serve to interfere with your progress.

Seven Things That Hypnosis Can Help

1) Anger management

Hypnosis can be used to directly treat anger issues, for example if a person is prone to throwing fits of rage, they can be pacified; using hypnotism the person can be trained into automatically calming themselves before signs of fury start to show. Hypnosis can also be used to treat anger problems by resolving any underlying problems such as high stress levels or lack of sleep.

2) Depression

It is estimated that one in four people will end up being treated for depression in their lifetime. Hypnosis can be used to communicate with the sufferer’s unconscious mind and encourage a more upbeat demeanour and attitude while discouraging thoughts which may lead to a progression in their condition.

3) Pain

Pain is just in the mind, though it is a useful tool as it helps to detect issues in the body. However as everybody knows pain is not just a boon. For example when a person has cancer they will still feel pain as their mind expects then to be able to cure the condition (which is basically not possible). In this case the best option is to manage the pain; there are many options available for this. Hypnosis is very effective for dealing with, and is sometimes favourable than other options as it is completely un-invasive.

4) Fears

Fears and phobias are a construct of the mind. They are one of two things; innate (we are born with them; or learned from the surrounding and environment. Regardless of where they come from hypnosis is a very effective treatment, and in fact can be better than other methods in some cases. For example complex fears such as a fear of failure should be treated with hypnosis as it can’t be treated with the most conventional method: flooding, which involves exposing the sufferer to an extreme amount of the thing they’re afraid of in the hope that they will become desensitised. However this is neigh impossible to do with a fear of failure as the person can’t be flooded with failing… Fortunately there is hypnosis.

5) Nerves

One of the stages in clinical hypnosis is called deepening. This involves completely relaxing the patients entire body. During this stage patients are so relaxed that any nerves or worries that they have will seem oblivious and insignificant. In some cases if the patient has gone to see a hypnotherapist to treat an illness and they happen to have nerves as well, they often find that after the treatment is finished the symptoms of nerves have also been alleviated.

6) Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)

The symptoms of OCD normally involve the patient repeating an action multiple times, for example a common action is to wash ones hands repeatedly. OCD can consume both a patient and their lives. It is considered a ‘learned’ condition that originates from the sufferer’s childhood; in particular times of great stress the sufferer will perform the action to relieve stress. As it is a fairly severe condition many treatments have been developed, among them hypnosis. In the case of OCD hypnosis works by delving into the patient’s unconscious and removing any links they have between the action (e.g. washing hands) and the relief of stress thus encouraging them to find better ways of removing stress.

7) Alcoholism, smoking and other drug addictions

Similar to OCD addictions such as alcoholism are simply a psychological link between a stimulant (e.g. alcohol) and a positive feeling. However addictions aren’t as deeply embedded into the mind. This means that they are far easier to treat and often can be done with self- hypnosis tapes as opposed to a trained hypnotherapist.