Hypnosis is a state described as sleeplike. It is usually induced by anotherindividual for the purpose of tapping into the unconscious mind. As a resultof the hypnosis, the subject may experience forgotten or suppressed memories.Hypnosis has also been described as a way to use a person's inherent healingcapabilities that usually remain inaccessible to him and outside of his control.

Hypnosis can be helpful in relaxation and pain reduction by decreasingmuscle tension. Hypnosis can also reduce pain by helping the subject visualize and create an alternate reality perceived as being safe and comfortable. Many doctors now use hypnosis to overcome the pain of headaches, backaches, childbirth, cancer, and pain and fear resulting from dental procedures. In some cases, surgeons use hypnosis in the operating room, not only to reduce the amount of anesthesia needed by the patient, but also to lessen anxiety and postoperative bleeding and swelling.

Psychologists use hypnosis in treating patients to overcome negative habits,anxiety, fear and depression. Also, it is commonly used to help patients recall past events, which is useful in psychotherapy. Family physicians have recently begun to use hypnosis to treat psychosomatic illness (physical illnessesor complaints that are largely caused by psychological factors). Professionals in the field of psychotherapy have also found positive results in helpingpatients control appetite and reduce the levels of drugs necessary in the treatment chronic illness.

Because hypnosis can sometimes completely remove or distract people from feeling pain, it is important that a doctor or other appropriate medical specialist assess the underlying medical or psychological condition prior to hypnosis. Another important precaution when dealing with hypnosis is that, despite potential medical benefits of hypnosis, misinterpretation is possible because of the questionable reliability of the memories recalled during hypnosis. Because there is no medical degree required for the practice of hypnotherapy, persons wishing to undergo hypnosis should be sure that the therapist is well trained. It may be helpful to find a therapist who is a licensed professional in a field where hypnotherapy is part of normal practice, such as social workers and psychologists. It is important to check credentials and background when choosing a hypnotherapist.

Hypnosis is not to be considered a form of psychotherapy, nor a treatment capable of solving problems immediately or on its own. Problems and habits taketime to get implanted in one's life, and it takes considerable amount of timeto remove them.

A hypnotic state results from gradually entering a state of consciousness unlike that of awareness or sleep. During this time, the attention of subjects is withdrawn from his or her surroundings. Most individuals can easily be hypnotized, but the depth and extent of the hypnotic state varies.

Hypnotherapy requires that the patient desire to change a certain type of behavior. Success is greater the more committed the subject is to change. If thepatient is reluctant, hypnotherapy may be unsuccessful.

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