What is Hypnosis?

Hypnosis is a highly focused state of attention in which one is able to access a wealth of unconscious resources for self-growth and change. The trance state is actually a natural phenomenon, sometimes occurring spontaneously. An example of that is when you have the experience of finding yourself immersed in a compelling daydream, drifting off and possibly discovering a new solution to an old problem. Trance states also occur when you become absorbed in a book, music, artistic creation, or in conversation with another person.

Trance states occur when you are bored at a lecture and your mind wanders off, or even when you drive the same route again and again and don’t remember taking the correct turns and exits.

A two hour period can seem like half an hour.

Milton Erickson defined hypnosis simply as “communication,” and as “concentrating exclusively on your own thoughts, values, memories and beliefs about life.” He said that the “trance state is active unconscious learning”. During the trance state there is a shift of attention from external to internal reality, the highly focused attention being directed on one experience at a time. It is considered that all hypnosis is self-hypnosis.The hypnotherapist’s role is to assist in this process. What is Hypnotherapy? Although there are many different hypnotic inductions, most include suggestions for relaxation, calm, and well-being. Most people describe the experience of hypnosis as very pleasant. Hypnosis is not a type of therapy, but a procedure that can be used to facilitate therapy. It has been used in the treatment of pain, depression, anxiety, stress, habit control, posttraumatic stress isorder and many other psychological and medical problems. Hypnosis should be used as an adjunct to treatment with a qualified health-care professional who is trained in the use and limitations of clinical hypnosis.

Who Was Milton H. Erickson?

Until his death in 1980, psychiatrist Milton H. Erickson was widely acknowledged as the world’s foremost practitioner, theorist and teacher of hypnosis. Ahead of his time in an era that saw little serious investigation of hypnosis, Erickson’s extensive experience, research and experimentation with hypnosis, brought trance out of the largely mysterious place it held in the early part of the 20th Century. His work helped to make hypnosis an important focus of inquiry and a highly regarded clinical tool, ultimately embraced by medical and therapeutic communities worldwide.

Known as “the father of hypnosis,” and forging what has become known universally as “Ericksonian hypnosis,” Erickson founded the American Society for Clinical Hypnosis in 1933. It is estimated that he treated over 30,000 patients, eventually settling his practice in Phoenix, Arizona, where from 1950 onward he held his now famous teaching seminars, educating practitioners from around the world on his unique approach to hypnosis and psychotherapy. He co-authored more than five books and published over 150 journal articles on hypnosis. To this day his writings remain the definitive word on hypnotic methodology, including induction techniques, trance experience and Erickson’s unique understanding of the relationship between the clinician and the hypnotic subject. Many therapists have studied the techniques of Ericksonian hypnotherapy and have successfully incorporated them into their practice.