When you hear the term 'hypnotherapy' used in the media, they are (most often) referring to this type of therapy. Basically, you will be relaxed into a lovely, calm light hypnotic state where you will be wide awake and fully in control - but nice and relaxed and you will be given positive suggestions that will effect your behaviour/feelings once you are out of the hypnotic state - hence the term 'post-hypnotic suggestion'
Simply speaking hypnosis is an altered state of consciousness. Clinical Hypnosis or Hypnotherapy, therefore, is the use of an altered state of consciousness, for therapeutic purposes. This means that people are not treated with hypnosis but are treated in hypnosis.
All hypnotic states are characterised by a tremendously pleasant state of relaxation, which individuals allow themselves to enter so that desired, beneficial suggestions may be given directly to the part of the mind known as the subconscious. Under hypnosis, the conscious, rational part of the brain is temporarily bypassed, making the subconscious part, which influences mental and physical functions, receptive to therapy. During the trance state there is heightened concentration for the specific purpose of maximising potential, changing limiting beliefs and behaviors and gaining insight and wisdom.
Although hypnosis may be light, medium or deep, a medium trance is usually used during which metabolism, breathing and heartbeat slow and the brain produces alpha waves. Normal states of consciousness i.e. sleeping, dreaming, being awake, can be detected in the wave patterns produced by the brain. The state of hypnosis differs from all three. The brain waves associated with quiet, receptive states are called alpha waves. In alpha states, the body gradually relaxes. Hypnosis, meditation, day dreaming, being absorbed in a book or music or television, driving and arriving at your destination without recalling all the usual landmarks etc. are good examples of alpha states.
The trance state is therefore a natural phenomenon. Clinical Hypnosis practiced by a trustworthy and professionally qualified therapist is completely safe.
The subconscious mind is the source of many of our problems and self images. Our beliefs, habits and behaviors are stored as information. The subconscious is a tremendous reservoir of our unrecognised strengths and knowledge.
Hypnosis is a natural and effective technique for accessing the subconscious mind - the key to unleashing our potential, changing our unwanted habits and behaviors and finding solutions to our problems and concerns.
Some uses such as exam nerves, nail biting, smoking and minor anxieties require minimal change on the part of the individual, more complex behaviour patterns such as overeating or treatment of panic disorders require a more complex therapeutic intervention and would respond better to a short course of analysis.