Depiction of a 19th Century school of hypnosis.
Hypnosis ranks alongside the placebo as among the most potentially effective mind/body medicines. The hypnotic trance, however, empowers the mind to control the body and can modify the messages the body sends to the mind.
“It has been used to counter the nausea of pregnancy and chemotherapy; dental and test-taking anxiety; pain associated with surgery, root canal treatment and childbirth; fear of flying and public speaking; compulsive hair-pulling; and intractable hiccups, among many other troublesome health problems,” according to an article this week in the New York Times.
Among the doctors the Times interviewed was Roberta Temes, a clinical hypnotist in Scotch Plains, N.J., who explains that hypnosis cannot make people do anything they don’t want to do. It can succeed only in helping people make changes they desire.
She’s the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Hypnosis, and points out that you may not even have to be face to face with a hypnotist to benefit medically. She said hypnosis can be helpful even if done with a cassette tape or CD, or by telephone. Some good CDs and tapes are available online at The Hypnosis Network.
While not everyone is easily hypnotized, nearly everyone can slip into a therapeutic trance, Dr. Temes told the Times. One of her patients, Dr. Susan Clarvit, a New York psychiatrist, thought she could not be hypnotized — she believed she was too scientific, too rational a person.
“But I was desperate,” Dr. Clarvit said in an interview. “I was pregnant with my second child and too nauseated to be alive. Dr. Temes asked me what I held most often, and I said a pen. She hypnotized me so that when I held a pen I had an overall feeling of wellness. I held a pen all the time, even while driving, and didn’t feel nauseated.”
Under hypnosis, Dr. Clarvit was given a posthypnotic suggestion that linked holding a pen to feeling well. Such suggestions enable people to practice a new, desired behavior after being brought out of the trance.
As with any other profession, some hypnotherapists are more talented than others. Dr. Temes said word-of-mouth may be the best way to find someone practiced in hypnosis for the kind of problem you’re trying to solve. Also helpful is the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, at www.asch.net, which maintains a referral list of therapists, both certified and not, by location and specialty.
Click here for the New York Times article.