The Hypnotherapy Experience from a Patient Perspective

The hypnotherapy experience depicted by stacked rocks in a dry creek bed by The Healthy RD

The hypnotherapy experience is the most important thing I have ever done for my health.  I look back a couple of years out and STILL know this. If you have struggled to meditate or calm your mind, hypnotherapy may be just what you need as well.

Here is a narrative of my experience and how you can tap into the power of the subconscious mind through hypnosis as well.

My most joyous time in life is in my forties. Less pain and suffering, happier, healthier.  Forty is old to anyone younger than it. Heck, it sounds old to me. I plan on living to a ripe old age, but still.  It’s a milestone that just creeps in there.  It’s the nebulous realm between middle age and older age.  Sigh. Forget all of that. Thank goodness I’m forty (something). I’m so thankful that I am where I am now.

Being twenty years old is dreadful. Not in its entirety, but from the standpoint of where I was in my head in my twenties.  Thankfully, I have always been blessed to have physical health in most aspects, and I feel the energy today that I did when I was twenty.

What I didn’t expect as a twenty-something was that I could and would empower myself to become much healthier on the continuum, with life skills, diet, and one key turning point that helped take away daunting physical pain and stress.

If I could go back and talk to my twenty-year-old self, and tell her not to worry, not to hurt, not to be anxious, I would.  Now I know I can go back and tell my insecure younger self these things in the subconscious realm.  I can take those times in my head and heal them.

I can tell my younger self everything is going to work out as well as you want it to, even better. Does that sound a bit abstract?  It is, and it should, until you are fully able to find a place of calm in the subconscious mind.

Can You Expand Your Mind with Hypnosis?

Any point in life can be the most joyous if our brain is given the right tools.  We can realize that all of our concerns, our weight, our body image,  our pain, our stress, and our illnesses are adaptable and malleable through our thought processes.

Diet and exercise are huge pieces of the puzzle to deal with these concerns. But too often we forget the subconscious mind’s ability to respond and heal.

As a functional medicine dietitian, it is within my wheelhouse to explore all ways to become whole, physically and mentally. One part can’t heal without the other, so I wouldn’t be a very good dietitian if I didn’t address the whole self.  After all, we are all on a finite journey in life, and by my sharing, I hope to make someone else’s journey just a little easier.

With hypnotherapy, I cut away a lot of the mental garbage that was holding me back from happiness.

I decided quite literally with the word decide.  The word decide literally means, from the origin of the word de cīdere, or to cut off.  To cut off the parts of my thought processing and subconscious mind that were making me maladaptive in some ways.

I’ve had it very good in life, I have a comfortable home and a loving family, which is all true.  I eat well, I exercise, and my body is healthy (mostly, see my blog about motion sickness for more information).

And yet, there used to be these nagging, doubting thoughts inside, keeping me from feeling at peace.  On the outside, confident, on the inside a different storyline would run.  Often there was void, an emptiness that wasn’t easily placated. Sound familiar to anyone?

If you have read my blog about motion sickness, you might know where I’m going with this.  Self-hypnosis and hypnotherapy catalyzed the beginning of the most incredible time of my life.

Hypnotherapy is not what you think.  I feel I need to put a disclaimer here, that hypnotherapy may not be for someone with serious mental illness.  I got that out of the way. And there certainly are differences between hypnotherapists.

Having said that, what is mental illness?   I have worked in a hospital unit that focuses on treating mental illness going on 16 years now, and so, even though I’m not a counselor or psychiatrist, I have seen a lot.

We all are on the continuum of mood and mental states on a scale from 1-10.   Even the happiest of people have rough periods in their lives.  These periods probably inhibit them from feeling a sense of inner calm.

Calm is a great word and standard to achieve. A standard I have come to feel on a core level.

Hypnotherapy Isn’t What You Think

Putting this out here is not without risk for me.  There are a lot of preconceived notions of what hypnotherapy is or isn’t.  Many of them are wrong if I may be so bold.

I just had this conversation with a coworker this week about  the topic, and they said that you really have to watch out for them (hypnotherapists), some of them can be “sketchy.”   A counselor I know told me, “You got to make sure you know their credentials.” Fair enough. I would argue that there are plenty of professionals with medical licenses that are “sketchy.”

We are all humans who have connections, and if the connection is a positive one, whether it is your friend, your neighbor, or otherwise, the connection can help create new pathways by building accessible coping skills.

One concern that people have about hypnotherapy, I believe, goes back to the dogma that when you are hypnotized, you are under someone else’s mind control.

I sought out the facts to see if this was really true.  What are the hypnotherapy risks?  According to the Mayo Clinic, “Hypnosis that’s conducted by a trained therapist or health care professional is considered a safe, complementary and alternative medical treatment.” So even Mayo Clinic is on board.

I think that any time you embark on anything, learn the facts.  But I highly encourage you to learn about the facts about hypnotherapy.

If you have struggles with issues including persistent or chronic pain, it can and likely will change your life in unexpected ways.  I have never been more at peace than I am now.

Hypnosis Facts for Pain Relief

As abstract as my writing has been today so far, I have always been a big fan of facts and research.

A recent research publication reviewing hypnotherapy in chronic pain demonstrated a clear advantage for pain relief in patients receiving hypnotherapy over other modalities.

The pain relief was demonstrated in people with chronic back pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia, gynecologic (case report for this type of pain), neurological pain, and mixed-type pain conditions.

Hypnotherapy often surpasses any pain-relieving effects of physical therapy.

We all know that we don’t need to pop another opiate for chronic pain, that leads to nothing but trouble. The research studies of hypnotherapy for pain are all small, but 13 of them that I am aware of all demonstrate efficacy for pain relief, often by improving pain scores by at least 30% in the hypnotherapy groups over control.

All 13 studies showed positive effects for pain relief.

There are countless case reports of the effectiveness of hypnotherapy for various pains, including childbirth. This brings me back to me, being 40-something, and my hypnotherapy experience.

After my third appointment with my hypnotherapist, a completely unexpected benefit came about for me.  I was having my usual (translation: awful) female cycle as I had for 30 years; yay me.

I was astounded.  Simply by using self-hypnosis techniques, my pain was essentially gone, or very minor at the worst.  This is coming from a person who doubled over in pain and/or managed with copious amounts of ibuprofen each month.

I certainly have found great nutraceuticals like indoles and herbal remedies to help me along the way with the pain in my life, and they truly are useful.  The pain never went away though, with any form of pill, diet change or otherwise.  I really don’t think the pain was “all in my head” for all those years.

I have come to research and understand that self-hypnosis and hypnotherapy can improve hormone balance, and probably a lot of other things we may have yet to discover.  By reducing emotional stress, you can dampen down the hormonal “mess”.

Or as functional medicine professionals like me like to say, you begin to treat the root cause.

My hypnotherapist is probably one of the most insightful, kindest people I’ve ever met.  Seriously, if the world could clone about 1000 people just like him, the world would be an easier and happier place to live in. Maybe it’s his own inner wisdom that shines through.

Maybe it is that hypnotherapy is a lot like meditation with a PhD.  A lot of the language I use above is now part of my daily vocabulary, thanks to him.  If you find someone in life that can assist you in changing your life for the better so dramatically like I did, go for it. I feel like I need to pay it forward.  I am going to seek out training in hypnotherapy for myself as I feel like I would not be true to myself if I didn’t.

So maybe I’m in the hypnotherapy honeymoon period.  If so, it keeps lasting a very long time. Who knows and who cares.  I feel great.  I can and will stay here in this zen place, and feel empowered to do so.

That’s because I decided to; cut away some of the mental prisons.   If one person reading this is inspired to take the leap to self-improvement, I feel like my writing was worth it.

The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body and is shared for educational purposes only. Consult your doctor or healthcare provider before making changes to your supplement regimen or lifestyle.

Clark Patton:

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