Contributor: Tom Gigliotti, MA, LISW-S, ACHT
Many of us have heard the term “being in the zone.” In sports, this is a natural state of trance in which everything on the field or court seems to slow down and the game comes easily to the player. How do athletes get there?
Mental focus, concentration and visualization are critical to success in any endeavor, and sports in particular. Adding a mental training regimen to physical and sport-specific training can greatly increase confidence, consistency and ability.
One such therapy finding success in sports is clinical hypnotherapy – or hypnosis, which can slow down the athlete so he or she can achieve being in the zone in mind, body and spirit.
A broad definition of hypnotherapy is an altered state of consciousness characterized by certain physiological attributes such as relaxation, slowed breathing and enhanced receptivity to suggestion. It also allows for increased access to unconscious thoughts, memories and emotions.
A holistic approach
The use of hypnosis coupled with your training regimen typically focuses on performance enhancement through concentration and stress reduction. While performance is the primary concern for athletes, at Cleveland Clinic, the process of hypnosis is expanded to focus on growth, healing and transformation. We use hypnotherapy as a way to focus the mind and spirit as well as the body.
At any given time, a variety of issues are influencing the mental health and functioning of an athlete. This includes identity issues, personal competence and career planning. Athletes must also consider issues related to their level of participation and achievement. For athletes whose sole focus is on their sport, identity and social connections may be entirely dependent on their athletic involvement and success.
Many athletes can benefit from hypnotherapy
All athletes open to the idea of reducing stress and honing concentration can benefit from hypnotherapy. But athletes who are going through a stressful time or recovering from an injury may be especially helped by it. This may be the first time an athlete is dealing with physical limitations and wondering how he or she will perform in the future. It can be useful for all levels of athletes – from the professional to the school athlete to the “weekend warrior” who is dealing with recovery issues.
Today, most professional sports teams employ a sports psychologist to help give athletes the mental concentration they need to succeed. In studying the best athletes and sports stars, it becomes apparent that the common edge they all have in achieving “being in the zone” does indeed begin mentally.
Tom Gigliotti’s, MA, LISW-S, ACHT education includes a Master of Arts in Social Work and Family Studies from the University of Chicago, and certifications in Cognitive Behavioral Psychotherapy from The Center for Cognitive Therapy in Beachwood, Interpersonal Psychotherapy from the University of Iowa, Executive Leadership from Case Western Reserve University and Rational Behavioral Hypnotherapy San Francisco, and Advanced Hypnotherapy from the Wellness Institute. Tom is a practicing Reiki Master having trained with William Rand from the International Center for Reiki training in Michigan. He sees patients at Cleveland Clinic main campus and Lyndhurst Campus. To schedule an appointment, please call 216.986.HEAL.