It used to be that hypnosis was you going into trance, and me giving you suggestions. That was long ago. In recent decades hypnotherapy has evolved to encompass a wide range of applications, each of which is founded in what I call “deep work.”

Deep work is multi-layered. It shifts the body and nervous system into a more relaxed state, and frees the mind from compulsive thoughts and feelings, sets it free to do the kind of exploration that allows the person to release old patterns, reintegrate parts of oneself and to feel whole.

Much of this happens without the client’s conscious awareness. The client has many experiences that feel like a revelation and leave a sense of hope and light-heartedness. It is up to the hypnotherapist to be tracking the larger arch and to carefully move forward.

The first step is always the transition into the rest-and-restore nervous system, so that the body and brain can begin to feel much better.

In this state, different levels of trance are possible, reflecting actual changes in brain wave frequency. Even a light trance state is useful for deep work.

I will write here only about what happens to the body, as it the basis of the work for medical hypnosis, trauma hypnosis, habit change, anxiety relief and really any kind of enduring change. It begins like this:

During hypnosis, a client’s muscles and nervous system become so relaxed that blood and oxygen can penetrate deep into the body’s tissues – even into areas that were tight and painful. The muscles relax. The breathing naturally deepens.

Now the nervous system switches from the sympathetic nervous system to the parasympathetic system, that means from the “fight, flight or freeze” response into the “rest and restore” response. Only in “rest and restore” can the body and mind begin to heal. (People under chronic stress are stuck in the “fight, flight or freeze” response, and this contributes to the development of illness.)

In the relaxed trance state, clients are very often surprised at the insights and understanding that just seem to flow to them, leading to more understanding, to resolution of questions, and finally to emotional closure.

The hypnosis trance state is tailored to each individual and their unique situation.

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For more on Why I Love Giving Hypnosis, read here.