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The very mention of hypnotherapy conjures up images of an individual in a trance-like state, with barely any control of him/herself. Well, there are several misconceptions that surround hypnotherapy, even though its popularity as a mental health tool is growing across the world.
For the uninitiated, hypnotherapy is one of the oldest forms of psychotherapy that has been used for generations by the western world. And yet it is also the most misunderstood. What’s important to understand is that contrary to general perception, hypnosis cannot be successful if there is no equal participation from a patient. All in all, no one can be hypnotised against his/her will.
Before we speak about how hypnotherapy works as a mental health therapy, let’s start off by busting some myths. We have with us Kavyal Sedani, a practicing hypnotherapist and psychotherapist at Rise Above, who will shed light on the misconceptions surrounding hypnotherapy, as well as how this tool benefits mental health.
“The biggest myths around hypnotherapy are that the client is not in control and that they won’t know what’s happening. They also feel that the therapist may pull out secrets from them that the client may not want to reveal. Plus, people feel that hypnotherapy is only about past life regression. All these are false,” explains Kavyal.
On the other hand, hypnotherapy is a completely safe tool that helps to reveal what we are suppressing, and heals it beautifully.
“It allows us to block out all the excuses and judgments we have around our issues, so that we can go straight to the pain point and focus. Most times we don’t want to do that, we don’t want to give the therapist access to our most vulnerable parts, because it’s too painful or because we have convinced ourselves that we have forgotten about it and we don’t want to open that chapter anymore. We cannot heal what we refuse to see. Hypnotherapy allows us to see everything we are hiding and clean the wound, so the pain is not taking over our lives,” adds Kavyal.
She says that people are almost in a semi-hypnotic state, when they mindlessly scroll through their smartphones or watch television. “If we do not fear that state, then why hypnotherapy? Hypnosis just takes you in another systematic space of trance, where healing is made possible,” confirms Kavyal.
“All of us have seeds within us that can give birth to all sorts of illness. We are all born with a nine percent possibility of manifesting every illness, be it tumours, cancers, AIDS, and cholesterol, among others. When this possibility goes from nine to 23%, then we create a physical manifestation of the illness. What causes this shift is your lifestyle, food, exercise habits, and pollution; but a major cause of it is our mental thoughts and feelings, our fears, anxieties and depression. They have a huge impact on our physical health,” explains Kavyal.
Although people focus on their physical health, they conveniently neglect their mental health, just because they can’t see it. Most people do not want to see their mental health, because it’s harder to explain.
“The damage to the physical body starts with the deterioration of the mental health. With hypnotherapy, when we begin to clean up old stuck wounds and suppressed feelings, the body begins to feel comfortable again and regain its natural healthy state. The mind becomes calmer and can be more present rather than operate or react from the past. Even, the anxiety about the future goes down,” she says.
There have been several successful cases, where it has helped people get rid of their baseless fears. It can also be used to get rid of addiction of all sorts, including smoking, drinking, bad eating habits, as well as gambling. It also aids those who feel stuck in life, and are unable to move forward. For children, it almost works like magic in a session or two, helping them to concentrate and focus better. What’s more, it also helps to relieve physical discomfort and pain, which sometimes does not show up in medical reports.
All in all, hypnotherapy can be used to help people look at the beauty of life, and be grateful for what there is, instead of ‘what could have been’.
“There are absolutely no negative side effects of hypnotherapy. There has been a lot of dramatization that people may have seen in films and television that makes them fear it. Hypnosis is not a dramatic process at all. It’s almost like the therapist taking you in a state of light and comforting sleep, while you are still awake and very alert,” she adds.
Instead, hypnotherapy brings out the best in people, and makes them much happier and energetic. “The way you speak and think begins to change and evolve, becomes more positive and realistic. Everything that you felt you weren’t able to do earlier can be done now. The physical impacts that people may experience immediately after a hypnotherapy session could be a very mild heaviness in the head for say about 10 mins after therapy, which naturally goes away,” concludes Kavyal.