Hypnotherapy is fairly common among doctors, dentists and psychotherapists
Many people are fascinated by hypnosis, others frightened by it. This is largely due to its portrayal in movies or on television, and images of hypnotised people on stages who are made to do strange things that they subsequently can’t recall.
Serious, therapeutic hypnosis is quite different though. “Unfortunately, stage — or show — hypnosis is probably the best-known kind,” says psychologist and hypnotherapist Thilo Hartmann.
“But it conveys an image of hypnosis as an authoritarian technique of manipulation, thereby making it harder to use in medical and psychological practice.”
Hypnotherapy is fairly common among doctors, dentists and psychotherapists. It’s used, for example, in treating various phobias and fears of certain medical treatments, in controlling pain and in quitting smoking.
As Hartmann explains it, a hypnotic trance is an altered state of consciousness that’s “objectively” distinct from waking consciousness, sleep, religious trances and meditation.
“The term ‘hypnosis’ also refers to the process leading to a hypnotic trance, namely hypnotic induction,” he says.
“Hypnosis works well against fear and stress, for instance,” says Barbara Schmidt, a research fellow in the Department of Clinical Psychology at the University of Jena in Germany. For this reason it can be used to prepare for situations requiring optimal performance, such as athletic competitions, job interviews or stage appearances.
Hypnosis can also be used before or during surgical procedures to reduce anxiety and activate the body’s self-healing powers.
“It can definitely replace or supplement medications and anaesthesia, and helps in coping with a situation felt to be traumatic,” Schmidt says. Dentists sometimes use it to put patients at ease and diminish their fears.
Neither “hypnotist” nor “hypnotherapist” are legally protected professional titles in many countries, including Germany, where access to training isn’t regulated and there’s an extensive “grey market” of services offered.
“So anyone can open a practice,” warns Hartmann. “And unfortunately, dangerous promises of unverified cures are often made indiscriminately.”
If you’re looking for a hypnotherapist, Hartmann says he or she should be versed in more than just hypnosis. “It’s a good sign if they also have basic training in a field such as psychology, medicine, paedagogy or philosophy,” he says. While the power a practitioner of classic hypnosis has over a hypnotised subject can seem scary, Hartmann says its hardly possible to hypnotise someone against their will: “The vast majority of people can successfully refuse a hypnotist if they lack trust and don’t expect any benefits from cooperating.”
— Quelle: Deutsche
Angelika Mayr, dpa