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                    Acacia Counseling
 
           Gene Douglas, M.Ed. LPC LMFT

TAPAS ACCUPRESSURE TECHNIQUE (TAT) 

To treat a problem using TAT, follow these instructions:
1.) Rate the strength of your feeling you are experiencing right now, on a scale of 1-10, when you think of the problem.
That number is the SUD (Subjective Units of Discomfort.)
2.) Put your thumb against the inside corner of one eye. Place the ring finger against the inside corner of the other eye.
3.) Place the middle two fingers against your forehead, about a quarter inch above a line between the eyebrows so the
two fingers are lined up with the upper part of the eyebrow.
4.) Cup the other hand, and place it behind your head, with the thumb against your neck, right where it meets the base of the skull.
The little finger will be pressed against your head where it rests. Don't lay your hand flat against your head.
5.) Close your eyes and think of the feeling or event or person that bothers you. Continue for one minute, or until you feel a "shift"
in your body before that. This may be a reflexive sigh.
6.) Keep your pose, and repeat a statement reminding you of the problem in your mind. It may be a person's name,
a phrase about what happened, or the name of the feeling. Continue repeating for one minute, or until you feel a shift.
7.) Keep the pose, and repeat in your mind a statement which is opposite of the problem -- even if you don't believe it.
This might be "I will feel comfortable when I do that," or "I will feel calm and relaxed," whatever is opposite to what has been the case.
Continue repeating for one minute, or until a shift occurs.
8.) Keep the pose, and concentrate your attention on the part of your body where you feel your feelings. That will be different for different people.
Continue for one minute, or until a shift occurs.
9.) Rate your SUD again.

TAT Links:
Learning and Using TAT
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YcNlj2SdzmM
How To Do TAT
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rDF_qUntDg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcxaZW57ymY















    
Recommended Reading

What is Hypnosis?


Hypnosis is a perfectly natural reflex, with which we are all born. We pass through a state of hypnosis as we fall asleep, and again as we awake. If it did not already exist, it would be impossible to access it.


Hypnosis is a very powerful and beneficial therapeutic tool. It is an enjoyable state of relaxation combined with focused concentration.  We naturally drift in and out of hypnotic states every day while watching television, daydreaming, driving long distances and just before falling asleep.  When your conscious mind is relaxed, your subconscious mind becomes more alert, aware and focused.

During hypnosis, you remain in total control while your subconscious mind learns new tools and resources for the changes you want.  Hypnosis makes achieving your goals easier.


IS IT SOMETHING WEIRD?


No, it is completely natural, and you have been hypnotized thousands of times in your life. If you are thinking as you drive a car, you may perform many functions while not noticing. You may arrive at a place, without remembering places you have passed, because you were deep in thought.


If somebody were to speak to you at that time, you might respond with a startle, "coming back" from your thoughts. If you are reading a book and somebody has to speak to you twice to get your attention, you are hypnotized at that moment.


HOW DOES IT WORK?


The simple answer is, "nobody knows." However, a general answer is that we have preconceived notions of reality, and we tend to filter out anything that contradicts that view of reality.

Hypnosis makes use of our natural tendency to increase and decrease activity in various brain areas, to get past that barrier, and to enter the belief system directly. When suggestions can alter the belief system, then changed attitudes and behaviors follow.


DOES THE HYPNOTIST CONTROL ME?


No, the hypnotist can only guide the way for you. If the hypnotist tries to give you an instruction you would not be willing to follow, you will not follow it. If the hypnotist tried to change beliefs which are related to your chosen values, you would not change them.  (See the article, Stories of Hypnotism.)


WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE?


Many people believe they were not hypnotized, because there is generally no strange feeling at all. Some people expect that it would be like a drug experience, such being knocked out with a pill or gas anesthetic.


Most people feel as if they were "just sitting there." You can hear what is going on around you, which may include doors closing, traffic, the ventilation system, or a telephone ringing in another office.


A small number of people may feel odd, such as feeling light or heavy. Another small fraction of the public may think they fell asleep, so "did not hear the suggestions." My answer to that, is that they heard me when I said it is time to come up, so they must have heard the suggestions.


THEN HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT I AM HYPNOTIZED?


There are tests for hypnosis, but I don't use them. For example, a hypnotized person might have an arm float up into the air, and leave it there indefinitely, without getting tired. His body temperature drops slightly, as do his heart rate and blood pressure. He can eat an onion and think it is an apple.


However, the answer is that it is rare not to become hypnotized under the right circumstances. I often see a person drop his head to the side, drop his mouth open, or hear him snore. Sometimes if a person hears a distracting noise, he might feel a "zoom" effect as his attention shifts to the noise. However, I use suggestions to the effect that outside noises don't matter.  Sometimes a person who has dropped his head or his jaw, may insist he was not hypnotized.


HOW DO I KNOW IF AN EFFECT IS DUE TO HYPNOSIS?


You don't. There is no feeling as if a hypnotic suggestion is involved, or that something  is making you do it. But if you are able to do something that was harder to do before, the hypnosis must have helped. Your general feeling will be of "I just decided to do it." But why were you unable to decide to do it before?


It may be that food seems as appetizing as before, but it is easier to make a choice to eat the healthy foods, or to eat a limited amount. Likewise, a cigarette may seem as good as before, but you find it easier to delay having one.

Occasionally people who are successful with hypnotism are certain that had nothing to do with it, and they just decided to.  One person with a weight problem went to a buffet and just took small amounts of healthy foods, but was certain he just decided to do that.  Another who started exercising was certain he had just been planning to do that anyway.


WHAT IF IT WORKS JUST BECAUSE I EXPECT IT TO?


That's hypnosis. It's called the placebo effect, and is very powerful. Medications are tested by comparing them to a placebo, and the placebo sometimes has an effect 30% greater than no treatment at all, including symptoms that can be measured by medical tests. Sometimes people taking placebo (a pill of sugar, flour, starch or chalk) have to leave the study, because they are complaining of intolerable side effects.


In other words, don't worry if it works for one reason or another. The fact is, it worked.


I DON'T HAVE FAITH IN STUFF LIKE THAT.


It works the same whether you believe in it or not. Sometimes, simply believing in it creates a hypnotic effect all by itself. But clinical hypnosis involves other techniques as well, including relaxation or concentration. And don't worry if you think you can't concentrate. You're doing that right now.


DOES HYPNOSIS REMOVE MY FREE WILL?


No, hypnosis increases your conscious free will, by giving you conscious control over unconscious impulses. If you wish to stop smoking or to eat less, and have problems sticking with that choice, hypnosis makes it easier to choose, and make your choice happen.  If you prefer to quit smoking but can not do that, you do not have free will in that regard.


If you did not want to quit smoking, and you were hypnotized to quit smoking, you would not quit smoking.


WHAT CAN HYPNOTISM DO?


There is an unlimited number of things hypnosis can do, and there are things it can't do.

Firstly, it's not a magic trick. People sometimes fail with hypnosis because they are expecting too much.  They may not return for a second visit, and thereby undercut their program.


The hypnotist does not just snap his fingers, and suddenly your life is changed. There are some people who achieve their goals in a single session, but they are in the minority. (However, with the aid of acupressure, that number is greatly increased. See links under More on acupressure.) In any event, it is fair to say that hypnosis generally works 10 times to 100 times faster than counseling, but it generally isn't instant.  Smokers will generally report they have cut their smoking in half with each visit.


Hypnosis can improve your memory, but it can't give you a photographic memory. Forgetting has a useful purpose, and you don't want to recall every unimportant detail in your environment in every moment of your life.


People have asked me to give them more than 24 hours in a day, to give them ESP, or to improve their luck in gambling. Hypnosis can't make the impossible happen.


I have used hypnosis to make persons more interested in reading (studying) and other persons more sexually responsive.  I have hypnotized a person to win at karate, and others to maintain mental stamina running on a race track. I have hypnotized several gymnasts to lose their fear of a back handspring.  I have hypnotized persons to substitute water for alcohol, fresh air for marijuana or crack cocaine.


It is used to create an anesthetic for dentistry or medical procedures, or to remove phobias, including fear of public speaking. The number of uses is limited only by the imagination.


ENTERTAINMENT HYPNOTISTS DEMONSTRATE SOME AMAZING THINGS. SHOULDN'T YOU BE ABLE TO PRODUCE THE SAME EFFECTS?


Entertainment hypnotists begin by selecting the most hypnotizable people, with a test of the whole audience.  Then they may do another test of a few people, to decide if they are going to work out for that purpose. They also select volunteers, who already know they will be asked to get in front of an audience and do something silly. So the volunteers are willing to do those things beforehand. Therefore, the task is mostly completed before they get up on stage, and the effects look more powerful than they really are.


Consider a game of "post office" or "spin the bottle" or "Twister." The game gives a person permission to do something that he wouldn't ordinarily do. That's part of what's happening with the entertainment hypnotist.


As for the majority of people who aren't selected, clinical hypnosis would just take a little longer for them, and the results would not be so spectacular, though still effective.


In clinical hypnosis, the problem tends to be nudged over, bit by bit. The therapist doesn't just make all of your problems go away in an instant. How many sessions it takes varies greatly with the individual, and the magnitude of the problem(s).  


WHAT ABOUT ADVERTISING THAT GUARANTEES MY PROBLEM WILL BE SOLVED IN A SINGLE SESSION?


There are people who pass through town, and run a big ad in the paper. Their guarantee is that, if it doesn't work, you can attend free when they are in town again, which might be six months later, if ever. Of course, you have to be able to prove you were there before. Possibly they will sell you some tapes, which broadly and generically address your problem. If you listen to the tapes a number of times, that may improve your chance of benefiting.


Others may set up a local office, but are not necessarily trained or licensed therapists. They may give very strong assurances, which are not guarantees.


As a licensed professional, I am bound to work by ethical standards, so I do not oversell my product. Dissatisfied clients are more than just an occupational hazard, it is a matter of ethics not to knowingly create them.


HOW DOES IT WORK?


Nobody actually knows exactly why it works. But generally speaking, you have barriers around your belief system. In a state of deep relaxation, or of concentration, those barriers come down, and ideas can then pass into your belief system.

During hypnosis, all outside distractions are eliminated and your attention is focused on the present in a subconscious state. This state of profound concentration permits the guidance of suggestions directly into your subconscious mind. Under hypnosis you become not only more aware of unhelpful behavioral patterns but more responsive to new, desired and beneficial ones.


Ideas passing into your belief system are only partial, and ideas that would be completely rejected by you, such as matters of right and wrong, would be rejected anyway. Even simpler ideas might be rejected, if they go too much across the grain of your present beliefs or preferences or knowledge.


(See the article, "Stories of Hypnosis").


That is why the hypnotist must determine what are the barriers to change. For example, where eating is concerned, you may eat to be polite, because you are curious, because you are afraid you will miss out on something, because you fear you are wasteful if you do not, because you fear sexual assault if you are thin, because as a child you were rewarded with food, because you believe food calms your nerves, and so on.


When the barriers are discovered, they can be addressed hypnotically also. The suggestion will be rejected by your inner mind, unless it makes sense. So reasonable arguments are presented which lower those obstacles. This is one reason why clinical hypnosis is often a gradual process.


Once a new idea is a part of your belief system, then attitudes like "I can't" can be replaced with "I can." Once your attitude is changed, your behavior changes also.


COULD ANY PROBLEM BE HELPED BY HYPNOSIS?


No. The therapist should determine what method of treatment is best. For example, a person called me, and asked me to hypnotize her to be a better housekeeper.


After asking some questions, I determined that her problem was with a domineering relationship with her husband. I could never hypnotize her to the effect that "I like to be pushed around," and make it work. What she needed was marriage counseling.


Quite often, the existing situation is a continued stressor, and that stressor, the situation, is what must be dealt with, not just the person's internal condition.


Sometimes, education is necessary, for the person to cope differently with his/her environment. I often recommend books to read, to speed up that process. A list of such books can be found at:

Recommended Reading.  (Shown on the "More" list above.)


Further, I have some methods (mentioned on the home page) which are related to acupressure, and which are 100% faster and more effective than hypnosis, for some problems.  (See EFT, TAT, EMDR)


I'M AFRAID I CAN'T BE HYPNOTIZED.


As mentioned above, everybody is hypnotized very frequently. The only people who can't be deliberately hypnotized are the mentally retarded or the mentally ill.


You are hypnotized any time someone has to speak to you twice when you are concentrating, to get your attention.  You are hypnotized any time you drive somewhere on "autopilot," and miss a turn because you aren't paying attention.  You are hypnotized just before you fall asleep at night, or when you first awake in the morning.  You are hypnotized if you awaken at night and your hands are numb. (If that happens, give yourself some useful suggestions, like "every day in every way, I am getting better and better and better.)


You may have heard rumors about hypntotizability being related to "strength of will" or intelligence. However, this has nothing to do with it.


You may also have had an experience in which you were expecting a "feeling," such as when you had taken a pill, a drink, or an anesthetic. There is generally no feeling, though most people say that they felt very relaxed.


I'M SECRETLY AFRAID I MAY BE MENTALLY ILL.


Upon reading the above, some people may fear that "mentally ill" applies to themselves, and therefore they can't be hypnotized.  Let me assure you that none of us is perfect, and we are all "a bit odd" in our own ways.


Unless mental illness is very obvious to you or to others, you aren't mentally ill. It usually doesn't take a professional to notice the mentally ill (psychotic) and it can often be detected by any observer within one minute. 


An exception might be hearing voices, but keeping it a secret from others, seeing things that aren't there, or having bizarre beliefs, and keeping them secret because one knows that other people think they are strange. By "bizarre," I mean something like "cameras suck the strength from my body," or "I'm the king of Iceland, and I'm a thousand years old," or "I'm receiving messages from military commanders in satellites."

A different definition of "mentally ill" involves depression and anxiety in their various forms.  Those don't prevent you from being hypnotized.  Other mental disorders might be like distinguishing pneumonia from a common cold.  One might have mild depression, mild anxiety, ADHD or something else that is not totally debilitating, and does not disconnect one's awareness from reality.


WHAT ABOUT SUBLIMINAL PERCEPTION?


It is true that messages can be understood by your inner mind, which are flashed too quickly for your conscious mind to notice, or which are too quiet, or are hidden by other sounds, such as music. However, it is not true that these messages can motivate your behavior, as if you were "hypnotized."


Anecdotal stories are offered by companies that sell it, but the effects they claim are not supported by research. Such effects on sales at a particular business may well have been related to weather, time of day, or other factors not accounted for.  Likewise, those same subliminal message sellers may not report the cases in which there was no improvement, or even random change in an undesired direction.


WILL I DROOL?


In 33 years of doing this, a number of people have asked or commented about drooling, but I have never seen even one person do that.


WHY DO YOU DO ALL THIS TALKING, BEFORE YOU JUST GO AHEAD AND HYPNOTIZE ME?


I have been persuaded several times to skip the "pre-talk" and have always regretted it. The pre-talk includes the same sort of thing you're reading here, and ensures that you understand what is happening. Otherwise, misconceptions can get in the way of successful treatment.  


I remember a client who said, "I have a college degree.  Give me credit for at least knowing something."  She was offended at the pre-talk, so I dropped it.  Later, she had problems,  because there were things she didn't know, after all.


Please tell the hypnotist of any reservations you may have, or any ideas you have about what hypnotism really is.


HOW MUCH DO YOU CHARGE?


For non-clinical (non mental health) issues, the rate for hypnotism is $50 per session.  That includes smoking, weight reduction, and the types of issues I have mentioned on this page.  


If you are being hypnotized for smoking, it usually takes about six sessions to be completely successful. Dropping out is the most common reason for failure.  If you attend six sessions, the seventh session will be free.  After that, each time you attend another three sessions, the fourth session is free.  (In reality, you probably won't actually need to go that far.)  Consider that your cigarettes probably cost you $150 a month, or $1,800 a year.)


Hypnotism for weight reduction generally takes about ten sessions.  After the tenth session, the next session is free.  After that, each time you attend another three sessions, the fourth session is free.


If you have a group, the fee will be reduced by $5 for each additional person, up to five persons (who actually show up.)


How Stuff Works (including hypnotism) Click on:   

http://science.howstuffworks.com/science-vs-myth/extrasensory-perceptions/hypnosis1.htm   

(or paste it into your browser.)


Hypnosis Info & Myths: http://hypnosishealthinfo.com/hypnosismyths/

The research and science behind hypnosis and hypnotherapy

The word ‘hypnosis’ has always had a bit of mystique about it. Swinging watches, loss of control, catalepsy, hallucinations – all that kind of thing.

It’s a shame that hypnosis has become more widely understood as ‘entertainment’ than as the powerful tool it is to change mood, overcome psychological problems and ease – and sometimes even cure – many physical problems. Hypnosis is also a wonderful way to maximize performance in any field.


There’s more to it than hypnosis

Having said that, no hypnosis session – whether live or via download – is just about the hypnosis.

Improving human performance or addressing emotional and psychological difficulties always involves taking account of other psychological factors, such as how thoughts are framed and the habits people already have.


At the hypnotherapy site <-- here, you will find some interesting data.


Hypnosis has been used as a tool for positive change and healing for thousands of years. In modern times, the use of hypnosis as a therapeutic tool has become widespread and has also been subjected to intense scientific research. Hundreds of studies show just how powerful hypnosis can be. This short eBook will highlight some of the research into the power of hypnosis, to reveal the science and research supporting this little-understood therapeutic tool.


Scientific recognition of hypnosis

Clinical hypnosis has a good scientific pedigree and is an essential tool in helping overcome all kinds of emotional difficulties. It has proved difficult to define ‘hypnosis’ precisely, so much so that some have asserted that it is nothing more than ‘role playing’. However, PET scans of hypnotized subjects have shown clearly observable changes in brain functions. In this eBook I want to draw attention to some of the research findings that support why hypnosis is such a valuable tool.


Hypnosis for healing, pain control and immune response

People often talk about the ‘mind-body connection’, knowing the mind can soothe the body (and trouble it too!). There is scientific evidence that backs this belief up, showing that hypnosis can powerfully use the mind to influence the body.


For example, a 2007 study found that women who were hypnotized before undergoing a breast biopsy or lumpectomy required less sedation during the procedure, and experienced less pain, nausea, and emotional distress afterward.


Hypnosis has been found to be effective when treating acute pain after accidents and for chronic long term pain or disease, as well as for skin conditions. There is also evidence that hypnotic imagery can enhance the workings of your immune system.


In a study at Washington State University, a group of volunteers were given hypnotic suggestions specifically to boost their immune systems. Another group received only relaxing suggestions, or no suggestions. Their levels of T- and B-cells (special defense cells) were measured. Those who had received hypnotic suggestions showed significant increases in their levels of protective cells. This shows that hypnosis can have a profound beneficial effect on the workings of your body.


Hypnosis for anxiety, fears and phobias

Hypnosis has long been used to overcome fear and anxiety and also to quickly and comfortably cure phobias. Many hypnotherapists use disassociation, a powerful hypnotic technique, which has been shown to reduce fear by making troubling memories feel comfortable and much ‘safer’. A good hypnotherapist can make overcoming fears and anxiety an entirely comfortable process.


Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine carried out a study on children who were (not surprisingly) anxious about painful medical examinations. Forty-four children participated. All had been through at least one distressing examination in which a catheter was inserted into the bladder.  Chemical anesthesia isn’t used with this procedure and children report great fear when they have to undergo it.


About half the children received self-hypnosis training while the other half received routine care, which included a preparation session with a recreational therapist who taught some breathing techniques. The group who were taught self-hypnosis reported much less anxiety and the examinations in their group even took less time.  This research shows how stress can be greatly diminished using hypnosis.


Hypnosis for motivation

Procrastination, fear of success and even plain laziness or lack of motivation for whatever reason, can all be helped immensely by hypnosis when it is used well. One highly successful technique is the principle of third person motivational visualization. Research has shown that people are more likely to actually do something they’ve hypnotically rehearsed. It is important that they don’t just imagine doing it, but actually ‘observe’ themselves ‘from the outside’ performing the activity while under hypnosis.


Hypnosis can be used for all kinds of motivational issues, ranging from getting out of bed, starting a business, practicing a musical instrument and getting slimmer and fitter, all the way to feeling motivated to learn and change.


Hypnosis for sexual performance

Hypnosis can be used to improve an already good sex life into a great one or to overcome many of the common sexual problems such as impotence, lack of libido (in both men and women), premature ejaculation and sexual inhibition. Of course, there can be many influences for these problems, but at the heart of many sexual problems is anxiety, and, as we know, hypnosis is an excellent way to diminish stress and fear.  But it’s also been found that hypnosis can help increase enjoyment and enable people to gain control of their bodies.


Hypnosis for sporting performance

While most research into hypnosis focuses on hypnotherapy, there’s also proof that hypnosis can help you master or perfect a skill, giving you an extra edge.


Hypnosis has long been used to improve focus, reaction time, sporting confidence and even physical strength. Hypnotic practice of new skills can also increase skill as much, if not more, than actual practice. You’ve probably heard about the famous basketball study in which players taught to visualize a free throw radically improved their skills without physically touching a basketball.


A study published in 2007 found that hypnotic visualization can increase muscle strength almost as much as actual exercise. Thirty male athletes, from different sports, were randomly assigned to perform mental training of their hip flexor muscles, to use weight machines to physically exercise their hip flexors, or to form a control group which did neither. The hip strength of each group was measured before and after training. Mental practice improved strength by 24%, as compared with 28% for physical practice.


Of course, hypnotic sporting rehearsal should not replace actual practice, but as an added training tool it can massively improve your game or workout.


Hypnosis for self esteem and self confidence

Emotional problems stem not just from what people think but from how they use – or, more accurately, misuse – their imagination. People imagine all kinds of damaging things about themselves. Therapeutic hypnosis uses the imagination constructively to embed self confidence and encourage a healthy sense of who you are and what you can be. 


Research shows that socially anxious people, for example, focus less on other people and more on their own feelings. So one of the approaches we use in our social confidence related sessions is to encourage outward focus during social situations. This increases confidence as a byproduct of focusing in the same way that naturally self confident people do.


Hypnosis for addictions and bad habits

The National Council for Hypnotherapy recently circulated information about research into the effectiveness of hypnotherapy as a way of stopping smoking.


To investigate the most effective method of stopping smoking, a meta-analysis at the University of Iowa looked at more than 600 studies, covering a total of nearly 72,000 people. The results included 48 studies of hypnosis covering 6000 smokers. They clearly showed that hypnosis was three times more effective than nicotine replacement therapy.


Overcoming addictions involves hope and optimism (moving beyond the old ‘disease model’) of addiction. A good hypnotherapist can successfully treat all sorts of addictions – not just smoking, but drink and drugs addictions, and more modern problems such as addiction to shopping and addiction to exercise.


Hypnosis for instilling new healthier habits

Bad habits can be replaced with good habits. For example, the bad habit of sitting down in front of the TV eating and boozing can be replaced with the good habit of eating well, doing more exercise and limiting alcohol.


Of course, some new habits (such as eating slightly more fruit every day) will be easier to instill than others (such as doing a daily three mile run). It’s been said that it takes 21 days to instill a new habit. We know something is a ‘habit’ when we no longer have to really think much about it. It’s now become automatic to practice your instrument or work those muscles.  Hypnosis can amplify motivation and, in our experience, greatly speed up the adoption of a new healthy habit.


Hypnosis for childbirth

Hypnosis has long been used to ease anxiety and pain in labor and childbirth. Recent research showed that women who had used hypnosis for childbirth even seemed to have healthier babies!

The findings of a systematic review and a randomized controlled trial demonstrated significantly improved outcomes among women who used hypnosis for childbirth. These include enhanced pain relief, diminished need for labor interventions, and improved newborn outcomes. 


A meta-analysis carried out in 2004 found that significantly less pain medication was needed by women who used hypnosis. In other studies the hypnosis prepared group had significantly lower use of any analgesia or epidural anesthesia. The researchers concluded that “outcomes are consistently in favor of hypnosis”.


They suggested hypnosis could be considered an effective alternative to epidural anesthesia because it is less invasive, not associated with serious complications, and many women seem to find it a more satisfying way of giving birth, handing control back to the mother.

Hypnosis for fertility

Hypnosis can be used to encourage conception and increase fertility (in men and women). People who find that it is sometimes not as easy to conceive as they had expected experience a range of difficult feelings and high levels of stress. Such feelings further militate against conception. Hypnosis can help both partners to relax and thus enhance the body’s own ability to give conception the best possible chance. In 2004 an Israeli study involving 185 women showed that the success rate of IVF treatments doubled in a test group (from 14% to 28%) when the subjects underwent hypnosis during implantation.


Hypnosis for insomnia and sleep disorders

Insomnia and other sleep disorders can be caused and, in turn, worsened, by anxiety and stress. So a vicious cycle of stress, exhaustion and insomnia can build up, with one feeding off the other. People turn to hypnosis because it offers a natural approach to calmness and rest, without the side effects some pharmaceutical drugs have. As far back as August 1973, 37 college students with insomnia were assigned one of three treatments for a study:


  • No treatment
  • Progressive relaxation (with no other suggestions)
  • Hypnotic relaxation (with suggestions to sleep better).

After three therapy sessions, the progressive and hypnotic relaxation groups showed significantly greater improvement than the no-treatment controls. And hypnosis proved significantly more effective than just the relaxation training.


Hypnosis for feeling younger

Stress, worry and anxiety are all very aging; which is one reason why relaxation hypnosis and regular deep rest makes you look and feel younger. And, of course, other bad habits such as smoking, insufficient exercise and poor sleep patterns can all be improved using hypnosis, with the knockon benefits of looking and feeling younger. But some amazing research also found that ‘living in the past’ can actually make us feel younger.


Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer conducted a study in 1979 with a group of elderly men to discover if they could feel young again. She had them live in an isolated New England Hotel, refitted to how it would have been twenty years before. The men, in their late 70s and early 80s, were told not to reminisce about the past, but to actually act as if they had traveled back in time. Would ‘acting’ being younger actually make them feel younger?


After just one week, the men in the experimental group (compared with controls) had more joint flexibility, increased dexterity and less arthritis in their hands. Their mental acuity had risen measurably, and they had improved gait and posture. Outsiders who were shown the men’s photographs judged them to be significantly younger than the controls. In other words, the aging process had in some measure been reversed.  Hypnotherapists can use hypnosis to encourage people to feel younger than their calendar age, to help them regain a ‘spring in their step’.


Hypnosis in the treatment of depression

It used to be thought that hypnosis was not suitable for people with depression. Now we know that hypnosis, used expertly, is a wonderful tool in helping treat depression. It helps to still the mind, which is just what depressed people who chronically ruminate need. It calms down the mind and body – extremely helpful, as depressed people always have higher than normal levels of the stress hormone cortisol.


Hypnosis helps people sleep better, recoup lost energy and rehearse new positive behaviors, as well as building motivation to meet their emotional needs in satisfying ways.  That’s why hypnotherapy sessions focusing on topics such as better sleep, calming anxiety, boosting self esteem and self confidence can all help depressed clients.

Hypnosis and the treatment of anger issues

Anger can be very damaging, and not just to relationships or peace of mind. Chronic anger is the biggest predictor of early death through heart disease; bigger even than chronic smoking. Anger can be thought of as a type of ‘negative trance state’. We all have an imagination, but misusing imagination can create problems for us (think: jealousy, hypochondria, pessimism… and anger). Anger can be generated – and aggravated – through misuse of the imagination.


In a study conducted at Stanford Medical School, heart patients were asked to recall times when they had been angry. Although the patients said that the anger they felt on recalling the events was only half as strong as it had been originally, their hearts started pumping, on average, 5% less efficiently. Cardiologists view a 7% drop in pumping efficiency as serious enough to cause a heart attack28.

Imagination and recall are processed through the same parts of the brain. 


You can generate angry feelings by remembering past anger, or imagining that you are angry. And anger creates very real physical changes. It makes sense to use the imagination constructively via relaxed hypnosis to stop anger being triggered too easily or too often.


In conclusion:

Hypnosis has a convincing weight of research study behind it, although it would be interesting to see more done, with the hypnosis being performed by trained hypnotherapists. The more the medical community, and the population at large, understands about the positive effects of hypnosis the more this natural and effective tool will be used.


Hypnosis is not just an ‘alternative therapy’, in many instances it is an essential part of treatment.