Terms & Definitions
The induction of a specific altered state (trance) for memory retrieval, relaxation, or suggestion. Hypnotherapy is often used to alter habits (e.g., smoking, obesity), deal with the symptoms of a disease, alter an individual’s reaction to disease, and affect an illness and its course through the body.
Mosby’s Medical Dictionary, 8th edition. © 2009, Elsevier.
A hypnotherapist is a therapist who utilizes hypnosis as a primary tool for assisting clients to achieve their goals. Hypnotherapists often differs from other therapists because they focus on the role of the subconscious behaviours and the influences they have on the client’s life. The hypnotherapist also uses interactive therapies which often involve communicating directly with the subconscious mind, getting at the root cause of the client’s issues or blocks. The hypnotherapist is not a diagnostician. He/she follows the subconscious mind, leading the client to the place of healing and strength. The subconscious mind is wiser then either the client or the hypnotherapist. We simply guide the client to find answers that the subconscious mind has readily available when the client is in an altered state. The role of the hypnotherapist is to do no harm, to protect the client, and ensure their safety, confidentiality, comfort and support.
In 1973, Dr. John Kappas, Founder of the Hypnosis Motivation Institute, wrote and defined the profession of a hypnotherapist in the Federal Dictionary of Occupational Titles:
“Induces hypnotic state in client to increase motivation or alter behaviour patterns: Consults with client to determine nature of problem. Prepares client to enter hypnotic state by explaining how hypnosis works and what client will experience. Tests subject to determine degree of physical and emotional suggestibility. Induces hypnotic state in client, using individualized methods and techniques of hypnosis based on interpretation of test results and analysis of client’s problem. May train client in self-hypnosis conditioning.”
Initial Sensitizing Event (ISE)
Symptom producing Event (SPE)
For example, a client has a great fear of large crowds. In her mind, she thinks that crowds are the cause for her discomfort and she therefore refuses to be in places where large groups of people gather. She never went to parties, concerts, or big community events like Canada Day. This was the SPE. She sought help from a wonderful hypnotherapist, and together, they reached the root cause ISE. Once hypnotherapy had taken place, she realized that, when she was three-years-old, she had to be in a bomb shelter due to war situations in her country. She discovered that the event, the fear, and the chaos around her was very scary to her as a little girl. The wonderful therapist did reframing and today, that grown up women is able to enjoy a new life, celebrating events and attending almost every concert in the city. She is no longer bound by the fear that has been with her for over forty years.