By Ernst Lamothe Jr.
There are many battles we face on a daily basis, whether it’s related to work, school or family. However, our own health is one of the most important aspects of our lives, especially mental health.
Mental health refers to our cognitive, behavioral and social well-being, and affects the way we interact and socialize with others in our daily life. Our mental state can severely alter the way we act and think.
People who are looking for non-medical ways to heal have turned to hypnotherapy, which practitioners say is effective for those who suffer from mental illnesses, addictions and who are looking for overall guidance.
“Hypnotherapy offers a variety of therapeutic techniques that can alter and heal the mental state and mind,” said Corrin Matthews, a certified master hypnotherapist who practices in Buffalo.
Matthews, who has more than 19 years of experience with hypnotherapy, talks about five facts that people should know about the practice.
1. Hypnotherapy vs. Stage Hypnosis
When thinking of hypnosis, many people have in mind stage hypnosis, which involves the Las Vegas-style shows of watching people get hypnotized. Little do they know there is more to the field. When dealing with a certified hypnotherapist, these professionals focus on your mental state and the healing process.
“Clinical hypnotherapy is completely different from stage hypnosis, because it offers helpful therapeutic techniques that are scientifically proven to work,” said Matthews.
There are several neurological disorders that remain unexplained, and many medications that temporarily ease the symptoms. Yet it still continues to impact more and more people every day. By understanding neuroscience and how the brain works, it gives us a better understanding of how our mental state is impacted, according to Matthews.
“I explain hypnotherapy as neuroscience because it mainly focuses on the brain and contributing factors that alter our behavior and judgment,” Matthews said.
3. Reprogramming the Brain
The brain is a complex organ and serves as the center of the nervous system. Hypnotherapy is a way to reprogram how the brain works and positively impact our mental state.
“Rewiring the brain is like installing a new program in a computer,” Matthews said. “A new software program improves and fixes older issues into better and improved features.”
The same goes for hypnotherapy. In order for people to feel a difference in their mental state and behavior, the brain needs to reprogram itself, according to Matthews.
Like regular therapy, many of our bad habits, experiences or phobias will come up in the sessions. While fear is natural and a healthy response to danger, especially in a survival instinct mode, phobias are different. They are more intense than fears and can lead to anxiety and panic attacks. The main goal of hypnotherapy is to push those bad habits away and to place positive reinforcement as our main focus. This then builds a clearer foundation of how we want to continue to live our lives, Matthews said.
4. Psychological and spiritual guidance
Between hypnotherapy and counseling, people come in for healing mental, spiritual and emotional healing. Therapists must have a degree and background in psychology, health and have worked as counselors in different settings.
“It is not only crucial but it is required to understand how the brain works and the psychology behind it,” said Matthews, who is also a reverend and biblical counselor. “Many of my clients come in for traumatic healing and many are looking for mental and spiritual guidance in their life.”
She said clients tend to feel more closure and guidance with a religious or spiritual view.
5. Healing Process
Many people want an easy fix in life, but not everything is immediate. Although patients want immediate relief of their symptoms or illnesses, they mentally have to put it in their heads that they want to heal and that they will get better. Many people do not consider hypnotherapy as a medical treatment, but it is an effective tool for pain management, addictions, injuries and depression, said Matthews. Hypnosis is also a great tool for removing emotional pain in which many people suffer from on a daily basis. Depending on the severity of the condition or mental state, the results can vary. For example, Matthews said that if someone wanted to utilize hypnosis for an addiction, then the results can be long term.
“When it comes to results, it can be temporary or permanent,” she said. “Everyone and every brain is different.”
And if someone suffers from anxiety or obsessive compulsive disorder, then hypnosis can help reduce the severity of the symptoms but not take it away permanently, she said.