Hypnotherapy (or hypnosis) uses guided relaxation to bring a person into a state of heightened awareness. During hypnosis one is relaxed to the point that there are changes in metabolism and breathing. Attention becomes so focused that one is able to temporarily block out external stimuli. In this state of deep concentration a hypnotherapist can help one explore subconscious thoughts, feelings and memories.
Under hypnosis, the therapist can guide the patient to access different ways of solving their problems and create strategies for staying sober. Hypnosis helps to bypass the critical conscious mind, which can interfere with a person’s intent to change.
Hypnosis can be used as a supplemental treatment to support recovery from alcohol addiction. It is usually done well into the treatment process, weeks or months after detox, and may be most useful with helping to prevent relapse.
Hypnosis is not a passive exercise. The person undergoing hypnosis should be receptive to it and ready to change. They are guided by the hypnotherapist but are not under their control.
Hypnosis can be used in two ways: helping to root out the cause of addiction and reinforcing existing beliefs about recovery.
1) Suggestion therapy: Being under hypnosis can make a person more receptive to suggestions and may help to change behavior or reinforce a desired behavior, such as remaining abstinent. It can help to redefine new attitudes towards alcohol and alcohol use. It may also help a person to manage pain and other thoughts or behaviors that are affecting a person negatively.
2) Analysis: Once a person is in a concentrated state of relaxation it can be possible to unearth subconscious thoughts in order to find the root cause of a person’s addiction. Understanding why one has become addicted to alcohol can better help a person deal with their addiction. Once the root cause is discovered, it can be further explored in psychotherapy.
It is important to remember that hypnotherapy can be used as a supplement to recovery treatment but is not a solution in and of itself. It may not be appropriate for a person with psychotic symptoms or for someone who is actively using drugs or alcohol. Any professional practicing hypnosis as a treatment for addiction should be certified by an organization like the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis.
Individuals who have already begun recovery and are seeking a way to strengthen their resolve and uncover root causes of their addiction.
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