Contributor: Mershona Parshall, LISW, ATR-BC, Holistic Psychotherapy
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Holistic psychotherapy blends various traditional and non-traditional psychotherapy methods to heal the whole person: body, mind, spirit and heart. It is an integrative approach to healing. One non-traditional method — hypnotherapy — continues to gain recognition for its effectiveness.
Many people have misconceptions about hypnosis, which has been sensationalized in the media. In hypnotherapy, an individual does not lose consciousness, control, or the ability to make choices. The client is an active participant in his or her healing work and may stop the process at any time.
How hypnotherapy works
Our brains are constantly shifting into different states. For example, we may be:
- Focusing attention on solving a problem
- “In the zone” when playing a sport
- Listening to music
- Going to sleep
Hypnosis is a different, deeply relaxed state. It allows us to temporarily disengage from an alert, waking state and shift into a deeper state of relaxation and self-awareness.
By quieting our conscious mind, what emerges naturally are unfiltered information, feelings and even wisdom stored in our subconscious. In this deeply relaxed state, we may access important insights that often lead to profound healing.
In hypnotherapy, we explore the source of life patterns that have become unhelpful or unhealthy personal beliefs. Such self-limiting beliefs interfere with our well-being. They may contribute to physical disease processes and to unhealthy choices.
A real-life example of its benefits
One client described feeling “invisible” in her life. This was highly distressing to her, and she developed physical symptoms related to chronic stress.
During hypnotherapy, she was able to return to a time when a bully in grammar school repeatedly traumatized her. Her conclusion at the time was she needed to be small and invisible in order to be safe. She adopted this way of being, which persisted throughout adolescence and into adulthood.
In hypnotherapy, she was able to release and heal that unhelpful conclusion. This allowed her to embrace a new, life-affirming conclusion about herself.
Hypnotherapy is a highly effective process for healing. It works well in concert with other treatment methods, especially when individuals are facing multiple challenges.
Mershona Parshall is a clinical social worker and clinical hypnotherapist in the Center for Integrative Medicine. To make an appointment, please call 216.986.HEAL (4325).