Hypnosis pertains to a mental state in which a person is in a sort of a trance. While in a hypnotic state, people are highly suggestible and said to be able to focus better. Although it seems that people who are hypnotized pay attention only to the instructions of the hypnotist and usually obey, the hypnotized person is free not to accept suggestions and does not lose individual free will. Many believe that hypnosis is useful for the treatment addictions such as smoking, eating disorders, anxiety and depression.
Successful hypnotherapy depends on trust between the patient and the therapist as well as the ethical integrity of the therapist. For this reason it is important for the prospective patient to check out the credentials of the hypnotherapist. A good hypnotherapist should have at least a master’s degree or doctorate in a field such as counseling, social work, psychology or medicine. Beyond these credentials, the therapist should have specific training in hypnotherapy.
Hypnotism has actually been used successfully as an alternative to anesthesia for dental work and surgical operations. It is a deep state of relaxation, so it can help with sleep disorders and chronic pain. Hypnosis has also been used to treat psychological issues such as low self-esteem, guilt and sexual problems.