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Hypnotherapy is the application of hypnotic techniques in such a way as to bring about therapeutic changes.
On it's own hypnosis is not a therapy, it's all the other interventions such as Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) that are used in conjunction with it that add to the experience and bring about therapeutic changes.
The terms Clinical Hypnosis & Clinical Hypnotherapy refer to both the diagnosis of problems and the application of hypnotherapeutic approaches to treatment within a clinical and structured framework.
In 2004 a fresh theory of hypnosis emerged which suggested that hypnosis is the result of accessing the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) state. In REM we access the imagination that is responsible for our dreams. One of the functions of dreaming is that it allows us to complete our unresolved emotions of the day through the metaphoric imagery and connections of our dream. Its other key function is to update our instinctive templates or behavioural and emotional responses. In other words the REM state is also a learning state. Whenever we act without conscious effort, we are reliant on pattern matching by going back to an earlier learned response or behaviour that was set in the REM state. So when we act instinctively, we are in effect acting on a post hypnotic suggestion. This means that when someone is hypnotised, they are simply activating the same processes that the brain activates during dream sleep, and this is what makes hypnosis so effective.
During Hypnosis the busy conscious mind is encouraged to take a back seat for a while. This allows the unconscious mind (the part of us that knows exactly what we can achieve without any limitations) to come to the fore and take on board everything that is needed to make the changes that are desired.
With hypnotherapy, problems are treated by accessing and reprogramming the subconscious mind, enabling unwanted habits, irrational fears, phobias or negative thoughts to be overcome. It allows individuals to make rapid enhancements to their lives through a process of learning appropriate new beliefs, breaking unwanted habits, changing negative behaviour patterns and overcoming learned limitations.
Support for the teaching of the therapeutic use of hypnosis in medicine finally came in 1955 from the British Medical Association, who was closely followed in 1958 by the American Medical Association.
Hypnosis is one of the most commonly used therapies, with an estimated 353,000 patients visiting a hypnotherapist, resulting in nearly one-and-a-half million private and NHS appointments every year in England. To meet this demand, more and more sole practitioners and health professionals are being trained in its use. Hypnosis is currently used in dentistry, medicine and psychology and has proved helpful if used in conjunction with more conventional treatments and therapies.