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Articles    H3'ed 11/6/09

Holistic Psychotherapy and Hypnosis: The Myth and The Magic

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"It's never too late to have a happy childhood.

Milton Erickson, MD

Will I Bark Like A Dog?

Almost every new client has asked me this question or some variation of this question. The answer, simply, is no...unless you want to, of course. Hypnosis is not something a therapist does TO a client. It is something we all do naturally, everyday. So, unless you've come to session in order to bark like a dog or quack like a duck, you won't. But you can stop smoking, improve your golf game or your musical performance, resolve old traumas, and help with medical problems, particularly those which are stress-induced.

Every client I've ever had has come away from session feeling relieved, peaceful and surprised at how natural the process was for them. Not one of them barked.

Will I Be Unconscious?

Trance is highly individual. Some people are primarily visual, others are kinesthetic, and others are auditory. Some experience deep trance while others are mildly relaxed. Personal predisposition will always affect the nature of trance, as will a person's history, medical condition, and general suggestibility.

One thing that trance is definitely NOT is sleep. It is different not only from a physical standpoint (brain wave, muscular and respiratory activity), but from a mental one. Even in the deepest trance, we are aware of ourselves. In fact, physical relaxation is not even necessary for trance to occur.

Is Hypnosis For Weak People?

Hypnotic trance is not linked to any single personality type. Even the most responsive, suggestible person can refuse to follow the suggestion of a hypnotist. And even the most skeptical can enjoy the state of relaxation hypnosis provides. One study (ASCH, 1973) showed that 95% of normal adults can attain light trance comfortably and easily.

In fact, everyone has experienced trance at some time. Perhaps you were engrossed in a book and someone called you name but you didn't hear it. Or maybe you were driving along and pulled off at the wrong exit because you were thinking of other things. Or you were enjoying yourself so much at a party, you lost track of time. It is a natural state-one which we float in and out of all our lives.

You're in Control.

Know that whatever you do, you will be comfortable and productive because it will be your decision. You will be in control. Often, it will be unconscious. That is, you won't be actively aware of the information you're taking in, but you will be processing it, sifting through it, and utilizing it in the way that serves you best. All good psychotherapy, whether holistic or not, is founded on the premise that the unconscious mind is a silent but very powerful partner. Great psychotherapy is the one that recognizes and utilizes that partnership.

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Judith Acosta, LISW, CHT is a licensed psychotherapist and clinical homeopath in private practice in Placitas and Albuquerque. Her areas of specialization include the treatment of anxiety, depression, and trauma. She has appeared on both television (more...)
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