Hypnotherapy

There is more to you than you know about consciously. Your conscious intelligence is like the branches and leaves of a tree, while your unconscious intelligence is large and out of sight, like the tree’s roots, providing support and nourishment for what is visible above.

 

In my private practice and as a clinician at the Integrative Medicine Department at Clifton Springs Hospital, I help people engage their natural abilities, both conscious and unconscious, on behalf of sustainable, life-improving change. In other words...
“My job is to help people learn to use who they are in ways they like better.”

 

What is hypnosis?

Hypnosis, broadly defined, is state of focused attention. These states are already part of our day, occurring in those moments when we find ourselves daydreaming, spacing out, or lost in thought—or when we watch a movie and lose track of our immediate surroundings. Such states yield an openness in which learning can occur.

“I could try and figure something out all day long, but then if I just allow myself this kind of time and space, I get this deeper understanding that changes things.” 
— client learning to use hypnosis as part of his therapy

What is hypnotherapy?

Modern hypnotherapy combines psychotherapy and hypnosis. Change doesn’t happen when a therapist attempts to remove symptoms. It happens when the client gets the support they need to use what they know, both consciously and unconsciously, in new ways on behalf of the desired outcome. 

Client and therapist collaborate to create a focus of attention that engages the client’s conscious and unconscious resources on behalf of clarifying and promoting their interests, their well-being, and their confidence to competently attend to important life issues. 

“There are, somewhere within us,
those healing forces that have been present through the ages—
hypnosis mobilizes the forces that heal and repair.”
— Milton H. Erickson, M.D.

Milton Erickson, M.D pioneered the methods of modern hypnotherapy. He affirmed that the unconscious is not an evil force trying to thwart our best intentions, but instead harbors the very resources necessary to support an individual's desire for change. The hypnotherapist helps the client harness these resources to create new options and change.

Recognize that change belongs to the person changing.

The successful therapeutic interaction engages
your natural abilities, conscious and unconscious,
in ways that support and allow enlivening change.
 

What do you mean by “unconscious”?

By “unconscious” I mean everything that is not in our conscious awareness. Our unconscious intelligence includes the responsivity of our breathing and our heartbeat. It includes the expressiveness of our hands and facial gestures. It includes the attitudes, abilities, and behaviors that we exhibit without having to consciously think about them. 

For instance, we can walk or catch a ball—both are complex actions. Yet, we don’t have to think about all the steps involved in order to accomplish these tasks. We rely on our unconscious intelligence. 

Each of us has a lot of beneficial unconscious abilities! And yet, we may have unconscious learnings—understandings we came to as children about money, relationships, who we think we are, our own value—that have outlived their usefulness and now limit us in some way. 

Fortunately, unconscious learning isn’t just a developmental phase we go through and then we’re locked in. Throughout life our unconscious retains its ability to learn something new, or use something we already know in a different way. Hypnotherapy engages these natural learning abilities on behalf of who we are becoming rather than who we’ve been.

 “It is best to learn as we go, not go as we have learned.”
— Leslie J. Sabler
 

What is hypnotherapy good for?

While hypnosis is commonly associated with habit cessation (for example, losing weight or quitting smoking), many hypnotherapists have a much broader range of treatment. 

A well-trained clinician using hypnotherapy can help clients suffering from physical symptoms and conditions (including migraine, sexual dysfunctions, high blood pressure, and sleep disorders), psychological symptoms (including anxiety, stress, insomnia, phobias, depression, and the effects of past trauma) and life issues (limiting behaviors, career change, divorce, aging, relationship crises). Other medical applications include pain control, use during dental work, comfort during birth, and enhancing comfort and healing before, during, and after surgical procedures.

 

What will I experience?

Each client may experience sessions differently depending on his or her desires, psychology, and unique resources. We will sit and talk—and have a conversation that engages your natural abilities, both conscious and unconscious. For some, the experience may involve a heightened awareness, for others, a profound relaxation. Others have the experience of being in an engaging conversation—that has the effect of promoting their desired change.

 

Will I be put into a trance?

I don’t think of it as putting a client into a trance. If formal trance seems useful, we will both learn together how you go into a trance. People use words like “relaxed,” “comfortable,” “natural,” and “peaceful” to describe their experience of formal hypnosis. It’s different for each person and, for most, it is learned gradually and easily. 

Hypnotherapy does not require what most people think of as formal hypnosis (hypnotist saying “…eyes closing, breath relaxing while you listen to the sound of my voice…”) in order to effectively engage the unconscious. There are many other ways people learn unconsciously what they are ready to learn.

 “Hypnotherapists are different.
He told me stories that seemed to get inside me
and mean something that made a difference.”
 — client

The therapist can use stories, metaphors, questions, and what looks like normal conversation to help engage unconscious abilities on behalf of what the client wants. Regardless of the methods used, hypnotherapeutic interaction assists in discovering new perceptions and making new meaning of habitual experiences. Click here for more about hypnotherapeutic interaction.

 

How many sessions does it take?

It depends—on what you want to accomplish, how what you want to accomplish is connected to the rest of your life, and how quickly you learn what’s important for you to learn in order to accomplish what you want. 

So, of course, the number of sessions varies from person to person even if they have similar interests. 

For things like gaining relief from migraine, quitting smoking, or hypnosis for expectant parents, it might be four to six sessions. Making changes in attitudes and behaviors which are limiting is more involved and may evolve over the course of months. And, although it doesn’t happen often, I’ve worked with people who were so ready to make a change, one session was all the trigger they needed.

  

Client comments

“When contractions came I just went with them. I had the sense that my body was talking to me... and I was listening.” — client and mother talking about giving birth to her daughter  using self-hypnosis 

 

“The pain is just as intense, but now I have to consciously think about it to feel it.” — client, using hypnosis to learn to manage the chronic pain of a back injury

 

“I had internalized you—so I wasn't alone going into surgery. Then, as a result of your visit after my surgery, I went from being totally agitated and miserable to totally fine!” — client, using hypnotherapy for comfort before, during, and after surgery

 

“You worked with me in a way that I felt like I did all this—it's not your will it's mine. And it's solid—I don't feel in danger of losing anything that I've gained.” — client, 5 weeks after quitting smoking

 

“I never suspected I had the power and the resources within me to have what I need and want—and that includes my ability to not have these migraines. I gained a new way of accessing what was there all along.”  — client, learning to gain relief from migraine headache

Hypnosis/Hypnotherapy
Hypnotherapy: accesses and engages the client's natural abilities - both conscious and unconscious, psychological and physiological - on behalf of therapeutic change. Areas of treatment include:

Learning to gain relief from the physical and psychological discomforts associated with:
Anxiety, fears, and phobias   Migraine headache
Chronic pain   Sexual dysfunction
Depression   Sleep problems
Effects of past trauma   Stress
Limiting behavior   Stuckness
Low self-esteem   Trauma and loss

Harnessing your natural abilities on behalf of:
Quitting smoking   Comfortable and healthy childbirth
Coping with life changing events   Rehabilitating from a stroke or other injury
Increasing focus and enhancing performance   Dental work
More comfortably speaking and presenting   Surgical procedures, both pre- and post-operative

Making life transitions:
Divorce   Career change
Relationship crisis   Dealing with the physical and psychological issues associated with life-threatening diseases
Increase satisfaction in relationship and work  

More about Hypnotherapy

What is hypnosis?
Hypnosis, broadly defined, is focused attention. The focus can be broad or narrow. Such experiences are already part of your day, occurring in those moments when you find yourself daydreaming, spacing out, or lost in thought. At other times we may find our attention highly focused or concentrated, such as when we watch a movie and lose track of the seats and people around us. Both of these states, whether of a broad or narrow focus, yield an openness in which learning occurs.

What is hypnotherapy?
Modern hypnotherapy combines psychotherapy and hypnosis. Change doesn’t happen when a therapist attempts to remove symptoms. It happens when the client gets the support they need to use what they know, both consciously and unconsciously, in new ways on behalf of the desired outcome. Client and therapist collaborate to create a focus of attention that engages the client’s conscious and unconscious resources on behalf of clarifying and promoting their interests, their well-being, and their confidence to competently attend to important life issues.

The techniques of modern hypnotherapy are rooted in the sophisticated methods pioneered by Milton Erickson, M.D. Erickson affirmed that the unconscious is not an evil force trying to thwart our best intentions, but instead harbors the very resources necessary to support each individual’s desire for change. The hypnotherapist helps the client harness these resources to create new options and change.

What is meant by "unconscious"?
Here, "unconscious" simply means everything that is not in our conscious awareness. Our unconscious intelligence includes the responsivity of our breathing and our heartbeat. It includes the expressiveness of our hands and facial gestures. It includes the attitudes, abilities, and behaviors that we exhibit without having to consciously think about them. For instance, we can walk or catch a ball - both are complex actions. Yet, we don’t have to think about all the steps involved in order to accomplish these tasks. We rely on our unconscious intelligence. Each of us has a lot of beneficial unconscious abilities! And yet, we may have unconscious learnings-understandings we came to as children about money, relationships, who we think we are, our own value-that have outlived their usefulness and now limit us in some way. Fortunately, unconscious learning isn’t just a developmental phase we go through and then that’s it, we’re locked in. Throughout life our unconscious retains its ability to learn something new, or use something we already know in a different way. Hypnotherapy engages these natural learning abilities on behalf of who we are becoming rather than who we’ve been.

What is hypnotherapy good for?
While hypnosis is commonly associated with habit cessation (for example, losing weight or quitting smoking), many hypnotherapists have a much broader range of treatment. A well - trained clinician using hypnotherapy can help clients who suffer from physical symptoms and conditions (including migraine, sexual dysfunctions, high blood pressure, and sleep disorders), psychological symptoms (including anxiety, stress, insomnia, phobias, depression, and the effects of past trauma) and life issues (limiting behaviors, career change, divorce, aging, relationship crises). Other medical applications include pain control, use during dental work, comfort during birth, and enhancing comfort and healing before, during, and after surgical procedures.

What will I experience?
Each client may experience their sessions differently depending on his or her desires, psychology, and unique resources. Client and therapist will sit and talk and have a conversation that engages your natural abilities, both conscious and unconscious. For some, the experience may involve a heightened awareness, for others, a profound relaxation. Others have the experience of being in an engaging conversation yet it is often responsible for an increased sense of well being and desired change.

Will I be "put under hypnosis"?
Many modern hypnotherapist no longer think in terms of putting the client under hypnosis. If formal hypnosis work seems useful, clinician and client would both learn together how you would use formal hypnosis. It’s different for each person. Most people learn how to go into a useful hypnotic state pretty easily. It’s a gradual learning. None of us learned the alphabet all at once and we don’t learn to do hypnosis all at once. People use words like "relaxed," "comfortable," "natural," and "peaceful" to describe their experience of formal hypnosis. But here is an important thing to know if you are considering working with a modern hypnotherapist: Although formal hypnosis ("...eyes closed, breath relaxing while you listen to the sound of my voice...") is sometimes useful, often it isn’t, nor is it necessary. There are so many other ways people learn unconsciously what they are ready to learn besides something that looks like trance work.

It is hypnotherapy, isn’t it? How can you do hypnotherapy without hypnosis?
Remember, hypnosis or trance work is nothing more or less than focused attention�and people do this all the time. There’s the movie trance: we focus on the movie and don’t notice the chairs or other people in the theater. Or the driving trance: we get safely to your destination and suddenly wonder how we got there-we don’t much remember the details of the driving. We don’t need formal hypnosis for that. During a session, most people quite naturally focus their attention in a way that allows for unconscious learning. The hypnotherapist’s job is to recognize and support these opportunities for learning in a way that promotes the client’s interests.

The therapist can use stories, metaphors, questions, and what looks like normal conversation to help engage unconscious abilities on behalf of what the client wants. Such an interaction assists in discovering new perceptions and making new meaning of habitual experiences. Modern hypnotherapy no longer relies only on formal hypnosis. With or without formal trance work, here’s what makes it hypnotherapy: In the course interacting with the hypnotherapist your natural abilities, both conscious and unconscious, are engaged on behalf of accomplishing your desires and your well-being.

How many sessions does it take?
It depends on what you want to accomplish, how what you want to accomplish is connected to the rest of your life, and how quickly you learn what’s important for you to learn in order to accomplish what you want. So, of course, the number of sessions varies from person to person even if they have similar interests. For things like gaining relief from migraine, quitting smoking, or hypnosis for expectant parents, it might be four to six sessions. Making changes in attitudes and behaviors which are limiting is more involved and may evolve over the course of months. On the other hand, with people who were so ready to make a change, one session was all the trigger they needed.

HYPNOTHERAPY

Uses of Hypnotherapy

Learning to gain relief from the physical & psychological discomforts associated with:
Anxiety, fears, and phobias

Migraine headache
Chronic pain
Sleep problems
Effects of past trauma 
Limiting behavior 
Feeling "stuck"
Low self-esteem
Trauma and loss
Sexual dysfunction
Depression 

Harness your natural abilities on behalf of:
Quitting Smoking 
Losing Weight
Comfortable and Healthy Childbirth
Public Speaking
Rehabilitating from a stroke or other injury

Increasing focus/enhancing performance
 More comfort w/ dental & surgical procedures
Increasing relationship satisfaction 

Making life transitions:
Coping with loss & change
Divorce

Career change
Retirement
Dealing with life-threatening illness

 


Notes from my practice of hypnotherapy

Articles by John Teleska

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Click here for more about John Teleska's practice.

CS Hosp - Springs of Clifton

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