Applications of hypnosis in psychology and medicine:
Hypnosis has been applied in a variety of settings. Below is an example of areas hypnosis has been applied and researched.
Stress/anxiety and panic disorder:
This may include learning self-hypnosis and other self-control strategies, changing your mindset and your reactions, initiating lifestyle changes, etc.
Such as agoraphobia, social phobias which includes presentation anxiety and animal-type phobia. The list goes on including but not limited to blood-injury-type phobia, natural environment type (fear of heights, storms, etc), situational type (fear of driving, flying, elevators, enclosed places) and fear of choking or vomiting.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):
Hypnosis is considered a good choice for PTSD treatment as it may offer the much-needed sense of safety and security. Moreover, it appears that PTSD experiences share similarities with hypnotic dissociative phenomena, which we can utilize therapeutically.
As opposed to the past, many professionals recommend its addition from the very first session. The slightest of emotional change (or even a hypnotic phenomenon that the client did not believe possible to achieve) may offer the depressed client the belief that change may be possible after all.
Hypnosis is mostly used in bulimia nervosa (less often in anorexia nervosa) since it is believed that a client acts as if hypnotized during a bulimic episode or in binge eating. This is an ability that we can utilize therapeutically. Hypnosis, when added to an obesity programme, enhances its effectiveness.
Psychosexual Disorders: such as erectile disorder, premature or delayed ejaculation, vaginismus, dyspareunia, orgasmic disorder, decreased or absence of sexual desire, etc
Medical and Psychosomatic Problems:
Hypnosis has a role to play in medical issues, especially when stress or emotional difficulties may trigger the onset of a disease or affect its course. It has been used for hypertension, headaches – migraines, gastrointestinal disorders (especially irritable bowel syndrome) and skin problems (neurodermatitis, psoriasis, eczema). It can also help with the management of chemotherapy nausea and its side-effects as well as with childbirth (e.g. preparation for labour, pain management, swifter recovery and hospital release), pre-surgical anxiety and psychogenic hair loss. The list obviously goes on but you get the idea.
Dental hypnosis is used for overcoming dental fear and anxiety, pain management and enhancing effects of sedation. It can also offer help with, bruxism, and, when surgery is involved, a swifter recovery and fewer post-operative difficulties. Other areas include temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) and overcoming intolerance to dentures.
Unfortunately, children share similar problems with adults such as asthma, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), headaches, anger, anxiety, chronic and painful diseases. There are, however, certain problems that are either exclusive to childhood or occur more often when in childhood. These include: nail biting, thumb sucking, trichotillomania (hair pulling), bedwetting, physical/sexual abuse, neglect, adjustment difficulties (changing schools, divorce, etc), exam anxiety and school phobia. Children provide a wonderful opportunity to apply suggestions though storytelling and to utilize their natural ability to fantasize therapeutically.
Restoring and/or enhancing athlete’s performance, identifying reasons for decline in performance and for pre-competition anxiety. Using hypnosis for anxiety during athletic performance as long as it has a negative effect on performance and pain management during an injury (reducing the need for pain medication). It can also offer help in confidence building, dealing with personal issues affecting performance and so on.
There is a history of hypnosis with witnesses, victims, and suspects. However, there are strict guidelines to follow. It is not used very often (as it is in clinical settings) and because there is a risk of false information. Information revealed during hypnosis is not always admissible in court.
As you can see, hypnosis has a role to play in a vast array of problems. This does not mean it is a cure for everything nor does it mean that it is necessarily the best option for your difficulties. A licensed psychologist who has ongoing training and experience in hypnosis will help you understand what is best for you.