Hypnosis and Strategic Psychotherapy: Questions Answered

Updated: Mar 27, 2019

Discover the answers to your burning questions, and to the questions you hadn't yet thought to ask!

1. What is the evidence that supports the therapeutic applications of hypnosis?


The therapeutic applications of hypnosis can be found in the studies and research from the American Psychological Association, the Harvard School of Medicine, and Stanford School of Medicine. There is also evidence in the Neuroscience of Consciousness paper, connecting the neuro-physiological correlation of hypnotic responding in medical conditions. It is often used in pain management and reduction, to promote relaxation and diffuse stress, and in the treatment of anxiety. Modern hypnosis is being recognised for its efficacy in treating patients in a non-invasive manner, for a range of mental, physical, health, and undesirable behaviours like addictions.


2. What are the 3 client types who you would not hypnotise and why?


Three client types that are contraindicated to hypnosis:

1. A client who does not have a ‘point of conflict’, which is a term used to describe their perspective about their presenting condition. If they do not feel they have a problem, or conflict, in their eyes, there is no need to change, which would render hypnotherapy redundant.

2. A person who has a diagnosed mental health condition such as clinical depression, a personality or mood disorder, or a condition such as schizophrenia, or epilepsy. People with these health conditions may go into an abreaction or triggered state.

3. A client who is drug or alcohol affected should not be worked with hypnotically, as they may not be able to follow hypnotic instructions. This may also cause an abreaction and increase professional risk for the hypnotherapist.


3. What is age regression?


Age regression is when the hypnotherapist takes the client ‘back’ to or around a specific age, where an incident or experience occurred. This is done either through ‘Hypermnesia’, reviewing the past from the present or, ‘Revivification’, reliving the past as if it is the present. It can also be used to access the client’s positive internal resources.


4. What is false memory?


False memory is when a client experiences fabricated, created or distorted memories during hypnosis, usually under the influence of the therapist’s assumptions, or beliefs that the client’s cognitive distortions or life dysfunction is due to some past uncovered abuse.


5. What are three pros and three cons of using age regression?


Three pros of age regression:

1. Access unrealised internal resources that the client can utilise in the here and now.

2. To give the client a different perspective on a current issue they face.

3. Access memories that are not in the client’s conscious awareness, but yet may still be influencing their behaviour, in the aim to increase insight, and amplify foresight.


Three cons of age regression:

1. Creating false memories.

2. A therapist linking memory retrieval with recovery.

3. Potential of the client identifying as a sexual abuse survivor, based on so-called recovered memories.


(NB: Age regression to recover 'lost' memories is not used within the framework of clinical hypnotherapy offered through 'Access Hypnotherapy' and is seen as ethically irresponsible, is professionally restricted, and potentially dangerous.)


6. What is the purpose of the pre-hypnotic interview in hypnosis?


The interview in a hypnosis session has a number of functions. It sets the parameters, or establishes the purpose of the session, without which the client may have unrealistic expectations, or unexpressed fears about what the therapist may ‘do to them’ during a trance state. The client may present with the idea that hypnotherapy is the same as they have seen in stage shows, or on television, and the pre-talk seeks to educate and inform them of the reality of these differences.


Building rapport with the client is also the underpinning of a productive and successful session, especially if the client doesn't feel safe or connected with the therapist, successful induction and therapeutic outcomes will be unlikely. This also gives the therapist an opportunity to understand the client’s presenting issues, challenges and areas of focus, as well as recognising any contraindications to hypnosis.


7. What is Behavioural Therapy?


Behavioural therapy is a term used to describe the types of therapy that treat mental health disorders. This form of therapy seeks to identify and help change potentially self-destructive or unhealthy behaviours. It functions on the idea that all behaviours are learned and that unhealthy behaviours can be changed.


8. What is Cognitive Therapy?


Short term form of psychotherapy, based on the concept of what we think about ourselves, others and the world around us, effect our emotional states. It focuses on problem solving and issues in the present, rather than looking to the past for the source of the issue. It also focuses on present thinking, behaviour and communication as a key component of the exhibiting condition.


9. What are the key underpinning principles of psychoanalysis?


Based on Dr. Sigmund Freud’s beliefs that by bringing the unconscious motivations into the conscious awareness, people had access to insight and healing. Emotionally releasing repressed emotions and experiences is a key aspect of this therapy and it focuses on past experiences being the cause of the present conditions or issues.


10. What are the basic premises of humanistic therapies?


Humanistic therapy looks at the whole person and is a positive approach to psychotherapy. The focus is on the strengths and positive traits of the person and how they can utilise their own wisdom, growth, healing and inner fulfilment. The therapist will talk to the client to explore how they feel in the here and now, and the therapist and client are seen as equal in the therapeutic relationship.

References:

American Psychological Society (APA). (2005). Policy statement on evidence-based practice in

psychology. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/practice/guidelines/evidence-basedstatement.aspx

https://academic.oup.com/nc/article/2017/1/nix004/3605468

https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2016/07/study-identifies-brain-areas-altered-during-hypnotic-trances.html

https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/does-hypnosis-work

https://www.healthline.com/health/behavioral-therapy

https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=31748

https://www.simplypsychology.org/psychoanalysis.html

https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/therapy-types/humanistic-therapy

Workbook: Australian Institute of Clinical Hypnotherapy Subject: Clinical Hypnosis, Gordon Young

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