By Hakeem Alexander
(Exercising Your Mind) Hypnosis and relaxation techniques are proven to benefit insomnia. Therapeutic Hypnosis in general employs methods that are directed toward replacing or changing unproductive thought processes, into more useful or productive thinking, by accessing the subconscious mind through hypnotic trance inducing modalities.
Generally, most people either have problems getting to sleep, known as sleep-onset insomnia; or they might repeatedly wake up during the course of their desired sleep time, and not get the sleep they need to function normally.
In the situations where there DO NOT exist underlying psychological, psychiatric or medical conditions that encourage insomnia, hypnosis may be very useful.
Hypnosis may also be very beneficial as an adjunct or compliment to medical, psychiatric or psychological conditions, while the facilitating hypnotist is under the supervision of qualified professionals.
Although physical relaxation is not definitely a quality of hypnosis, a hypnotist may usually incorporate relaxation techniques into the hypnotic trance-induction and deepening methods as a means to encourage relaxation, which is a first step towards sleep.
Therapeutic Hypnosis may be used as a one-on-one, face-to-face treatment in a clinical setting, over the phone, video, audio, internet, through writing tools, herbal or other means.
The main tool of the hypnotist is suggestion. Suggestions are verbal communications that aim to direct your imagination towards changes in thoughts, beliefs and behaviour, by altering your feelings, sensations and perception. Knowing whether you are in a trance or not might be difficult to determine.
This is because you may not respond to trance-inductions in a manner that you would expect to be characteristic of a trance. Many have the idea that a trance is a profound altered state of consciousness that may be objectively perceived, such as when a person is drugged, drunk, suffering from a head injury like a concussion, or asleep.
Instead, a trance may simply be a state of mind where you are focusing your attention away from the surroundings and absorbed by the inner experience of imagery, thoughts or feelings, suggested by the hypnotist, or yourself.
This is similar to being captivated mentally by music, meditation, a book, movie, television or daydreaming.
It is in this state that the clinical applications of hypnosis may be applied effectively as an aid to sleep. The goal is for you to respond satisfactorily to the hypnotist’s suggestions in the manner in which they are intended to take effect.
Practically, this means that it actually does not matter what is really going on within your experience, as long as it is a mostly pleasant experience, and the result desired, in this case sleep, is obtained.
Instead of expecting some preconceived notion of a trance to be experienced, I use as many different methods as possible, to optimize the effectiveness of suggestions and ideas in the preliminary, induction and deepening procedures.
To benefit the most from hypnosis as a sleep-aid, I have found two primary objectives that are most important.
- The first is to induce a trance, or guide you into an attentive, highly focused state of mind, where you are absorbed with the ideas being suggested for better sleep.
- The second is to enhance your responsiveness to suggestions and encouraging expectation and belief that positive changes will be realized.
Based on the “Theory of Mind” model promoted by the Hypnosis Motivation Institute and developed by its founder Dr. John G. Kappas, I have found it accurate that subconscious resources are more effective than cognitive, or conscious resources.
This model approximates that the conscious mind makes up 12% of our mental capacity, while the subconscious makes up the other 88% of our mental powers to effect change.
It is for this reason that therapeutic hypnosis may be used to help you get more sleep. The subconscious motivating factors must be reconditioned to favor sleep, because all of the willing and conscious efforts alone will not be useful if the subconscious is not addressed.
In fact, many people presenting insomnia as an issue lie awake in bed worrying about their daytime activities. These are all activities that they experience in their fully conscious state of mind that over time, impress themselves upon the subconscious mind and become triggered again when trying to sleep.
Many of these thoughts and ideas cause a great deal of anxiety, and provides the rationale for integrating relaxation methods into a therapeutic hypnosis program, designed to promote natural sleep.
The therapeutic hypnosis model basically operates in the same way as the problem was created. This is one of the keys to its effectiveness.
By repeating the therapeutic suggestions that encourage sleep and associating them with the times and environment that sleep is desired through imagery and other means, an effective tool-kit of post-hypnotic suggestions may be created.
However, since the strength of post-hypnotic suggestions decays quickly over time, they must be coupled with the “Laws of Self-Hypnosis“, which are repetition, association and impression, in order to reenforce them and restructure the habits which aided in producing them initially.
Approaching the idea of hypnosis that “All hypnosis is self-hypnosis”, it is best that you actively produce your own personalized methods for handling sleep-issues than purely relying on a hypnotist or other healer.
You have all of the resources already at your disposal to solve any problem that you are experiencing, including insomnia or other sleep issues.
The hypnotist then acts as a “facilitator”, using strategies you provide, in addition to planning the overall strategy, rather than an all-knowing authority that “makes” you do something.
Using relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, calming imagery, therapeutic visualization and others in combination with personal strategies and therapeutic hypnosis, has provided the best results in my clinical practice.
A good foundation that also includes a sensible nutrition plan as well as intelligently planned exercise is additionally beneficial.
Overall, I have proven results that demonstrate therapeutic hypnosis to be of enormous value in treating insomnia.
When appropriately facilitated either by itself, or as a compliment to other treatment modalities, therapeutic hypnosis may be a significantly helpful part of any treatment plan for eliminating insomnia and getting more natural, refreshing sleep.