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Hypnotherapy as part of Psychotherapy

Sandra Manessis

Psychologist, Counsellor & Psychotherapist
Perth, WA

"Hypnosis is the art of securing a person's attention and then effectively communicating ideas that enhance motivation and change perceptions."
D. Corydon Hammond

Hypnotherapy is the process by which the therapist induces an altered state of conscious awareness, or "hypnotic trance" in another person, by finding the best way for the person to relax and then deepening this state of relaxation. This process may result in a number of phenomena occurring, such as an increased susceptibility to positive or helpful suggestions or the production of responses and ideas unfamiliar to the person in their normal state of mind.

Various techniques, either direct, indirect, metaphoric or insight-oriented may then be used to alter behaviour, affect, psychological processes, perception, cognitions or internal dialogue. Hypnosis is used to explore preconscious and unconscious functions, resolve historical dilemmas and better utilize personal resources. Hypnosis has in this way been described as a "system of skilled and influential communication that teaches how words can heal." (Yapko, M.1995)

It is important for most people to know that hypnotherapy is a completely safe and harmless form of therapy, and that it is absolutely impossible to get "stuck" in hypnosis. Whilst in hypnotic trance, a person retains absolute control of their body and mind. Hypnosis is neither a state of sleep or unconsciousness but a state of altered awareness, a little like being held in the space that occurs just before you fall asleep. Most people experience hypnosis as a pleasant state of deep inner calm and physical relaxation. Anyone who can suspend judgment, allow them-selves to relax and follow simple instructions may be hypnotized. Measurable psychological and physiological changes occur during hypnosis. It is a scientifically acknowledged psychological and therapeutic discipline.

Stage hypnosis is different from hypnotherapy, in that in hypnotherapy no-one is ever asked to do anything embarrassing or against their will. Stage hypnotists do "real" hypnosis and the effects produced are possible for everyone to experience, but some generate misconceptions about the nature of hypnotic trance, unfortunately leading to unfounded fears about hypnosis.

Hypnosis has many applications and is particularly useful for helping people change their behaviour, symptoms and attitudes. It is one of the most powerful psychological methods for mental and physical relaxation and as such is useful for stress, anxiety and pain control. It is also useful in dealing with assertiveness and confidence building, ego-strengthening and enhancing psychotherapy and counselling

To summarize, Hypnosis is useful for:

  • Management of Anxiety and Stress including stress related conditions such as insomnia, feeling low, irritability or anger.
  • Psychological and Emotional Well-being such as managing Depression or grief, and building self-worth, confidence and self-esteem.
  • Improving Physical Conditions by learning to suppress or control unnecessary physical pain or discomfort.
  • Personal Development by regressing the mind back to childhood.

A Psychotherapist may employ hypnosis alongside other forms of psychotherapy. An integrative approach is used that combines hypnosis using verbal suggestion or visualization and age regression together with other psychological techniques such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Gestalt therapy

If you are interested to experience hypnosis, for the treatment of any of the conditions discussed above, please contact Sandra Manessis by phone on 0407 859 413 or email if you would like to make an appointment.

Sandra Manessis
Psychologist, Counsellor & Psychotherapist
Perth WA

(1). D. Corydon Hammond (Ed).
Handbook of Hypnotic Suggestions and Metaphors
NY.:WW Norton and CO (1990).

(2). Michael Yapko
Essentials of Hypnosis
N Y.: Brunner/Mazel (1995).

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