Hypnosis is an altered state of consciousness that has been used in varying forms for thousands of years. During clinical hypnotherapy, the trance state, a naturally occurring altered state of consciousness, is induced by a hypnotherapist to create the opportunity for the client to be able to break free from limiting beliefs and habits and be open to experiencing other, more positive patterns of functioning. According to clinical hypnotherapist Katina Gleeson, we’ve all experienced a trance-like state many times – when we’re daydreaming or engrossed in a book or intricate project and don’t notice someone saying something, or when we’re driving and don’t remember seeing the usual landmarks or remember driving at all – we just haven’t called it hypnosis.
“It is common for people to be curious or apprehensive about hypnotherapy,” Katina says. “Often, the apprehension is about whether they might lose control over themselves or in some way be under my control, and I think stage hypnosis might give people this impression. In the trance state a person cannot be made to do anything they do not want to do and, in fact, I consider it to be the ultimate state of control – we are working with the person’s unconscious mind, which I believe is the most powerful part. People also worry that they may not be able to be hypnotised, but the truth is that, except for very young children, someone who has a severe brain injury or is experiencing a psychotic episode, or someone who does not want to be hypnotised, anyone can be hypnotised.”
Hypnotherapy can address a range of issues for adults and children, including anxiety, self-esteem, fears and phobias, habit control, weight loss, alcohol and substance dependency, pain management, depression, sleep difficulties, bed wetting, soiling and relief of physical symptoms like skin rashes or irritable bowel syndrome, where these is no physiological basis for the symptoms.