Chapter 3: Relaxation
Self-hypnosis is used extensively in modern hypnotherapy. It can take the form of hypnosis carried out by means of a learned routine. Hypnosis may help pain management, anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, obesity, asthma, and skin conditions. When this practice is mastered, it can improve concentration, recall, enhance problem solving, alleviate headaches and even improve one’s control of emotions.
Steps commonly used for self-hypnosis
Self-hypnosis requires four distinct steps.
- Motivation. Without proper motivation, an individual will find it very difficult to practice self-hypnosis
- Relaxation: The individual must be thoroughly relaxed and must set aside time to perform this act. Additionally, distractions should be eliminated as full attention is needed.
- Concentration: the individual needs to concentrate completely as progress is made each time the mind focuses on a single image.
- Directing: This is an option used only when the individual wants to work on a specific goal. The individual must direct their concentration on visualizing the desired result.
Patients who are stressed and/or lack self-esteem can be taught self-hypnotic techniques which can induce relaxation and/or strengthen their self-esteem. Specifically, once the patient is in a self-hypnotic state the therapist can communicate messages to the patient, allowing the relaxation and strengthening process to occur.
When teaching self-hypnosis, a word or phrase should be stated to the patient for them to repeat. This will not work unless the patient deliberately uses the word or phrase to hypnotize themselves.
In addition, since stress prevents well-functioning of the immune system, researchers from the Ohio State University came to a conclusion that self hypnosis to prevent stress can also help in protecting the immune system against the negative effects of it. They proved this by showing that students who performed self-hypnosis during stressful exam weeks showed a stronger immune system when compared to those who did not learn the technique of this phenomenon.