Research in hypnosis began in the mid 1800’s when hypnotists were helping patients deal with pain during surgery. Hypnosis helped the patient into a trance state to develop an anesthesia effect. The suggestion may have been a long these lines..."And now you will feel a comfortable, cooling, feeling come upon you, and you won't feel any pain at all, any pain at all, comfort rising, relaxing cooling feeling, and you can relax now." The hypnotherapist assists a client into trance so the client can develop a relationship with the unconscious part of themselves for creating change. This assisting into trance is natural because we enter trance states quite often. For example, can you recall a time that you were driving and suddenly arrived at your location without remembering much of the way you got there? If yes, then you have experienced a trance like state before. This type of hypnosis is self hypnosis and is not imposed upon by the therapist, it is more natural.
So, what is hypnosis exactly? In an email discussion with Bill O'Hanlon, LMFT, a world renowned psychotherapist and hypnotherapist, he shared with me a clear definition of hypnosis, "A state in which one gets access to non-conscious abilities. Induced by some words and rhythms used by the hypnotherapist." I would add that in this state there is an amplification process and a reduction process. For example, if the goal for therapy is the reduction of pain, then pain would be reduced when comfort is amplified etc.. The reason that establishing a relationship with the unconscious is of vital importance is because the unconscious is an automatic storehouse for healing; and this is true mind-body healing at it's best!
So, why hypnosis? Hypnosis can be used for many life changes; increasing sports awareness-enhancement- and durability, increasing concentration, pain reduction, anxiety and stress reduction, increasing motivation, increasing confidence, spiritual purposes, healing illnesses and managing side effects, weight loss, substance reduction, and much more...
See Sports Therapy Section for Hypnosis in Sports
Bill O'Hanlon (Personal Communication, 2012)