We have now finalised our meetup established at Birkbeck, University of London with easy access to transport amenities.
Our group is open to anyone interested in Ericksonian Hypnotherapy. Moreover, all skill levels are welcomed. This monthly meetup was created to discuss anything Ericksonian and more complex casework examples found in clinical practice, when utilising Ericksonian hypo-therapeutic principles and techniques.
It may also count towards your annual CPD as qualified hypnotherapists registered with a professional body. This is a not for profit event but a minimal fee of approximately £20 will be charged for the day for a 3 hour seminar and only to cover the hire costs of our Central London venue which is now confirmed.
25 places on this first instance are available and Dan Jones will be the respected guest speaker presenting on the day.
David Spiegel of Stanford University’s School of Medicine explains what happens in the brain when somebody is hypnotized, and how hypnosis can reduce pain, improve cancer survival rates and help people stop smoking.
Surgeons have completed the world’s first deep brain surgery using hypnosis instead of an anaesthetic to control the patient’s pain.
Doctors carried out the deep brain stimulation procedure to cure the 73-year-old patient’s severe trembling hands.
In the procedure, the brain regions which are responsible for the tremor were electrically stimulated, causing the tremor to be effectively suppressed so the patient can for example eat and write again undisturbed. As fine electrodes are implanted directly deep into the brain, they are often referred to as “brain pacemakers”.
The 73-year-old patient from Thuringia, Germany, whose tremor did not adequately improve with medication, is reportedly very satisfied with the result of the six-hour operation by the team from the University Hospital of Jena.
Normally, such medical interventions are done with anaesthesia. But the sedative effect of anaesthesia “can lead to distorted results” said Dr Rupert Reichart, head of the neurosurgery department. He said: “Under hypnosis there are no such side-effects of anaesthesia. “This is an enormous advantage to check whether the activation of the electrodes is successful.”
During the surgery a team of anaesthetists was on standby. The clinic is one of the few centres in Germany offering deep brain stimulation, conducting about twelve such operations per year.
Dr Reichart provided the required speech hypnosis during the procedure and kept the patient in hypnosis during the entire operation, while colleague Dr Walter carried out the actual procedure.
Another doctor, Tino Prell, monitored the success of the procedure during the operation and after awakening the patient, who was not named in reports, from hypnosis. Dr Prell said: “This procedure allows a so-far unprecedented check on the effect of the deep brain stimulation and thus a clearly better and targeted electrode installation than in the usual procedures under narcosis.”
Dr Reichart emphasised that the hypnosis “has nothing to do with esotericism or tricks of pendulum-swinging TV magicians.” He said: “Of course, such a method cannot be used with all patients. “But patients who do not tolerate anaesthesia, for example, can benefit from it – if they are hypnotic.”
Dr Reichart acquired the necessary expertise in medical hypnosis at the Medical University of Vienna. He is one of the few neurosurgeons in Germany with this additional qualification.
Doctors at MD Anderson are working on a study they think will prove that one can forgo drugs in favour of guided deep relaxation.
What if your surgeon told you that you would be awake for your next operation? It wouldn’t be unreasonable to picture the whiskey-fueled bullet-biting and hot-iron cauterization of a Civil War battlefield amputation. Anesthesia, in its varying forms from 19th-century chloroform and ether to today’s propofol and Amidate, has been working just fine for nearly 200 years. But Lorenzo Cohen, director of the integrative medicine program at MD Anderson Cancer Center, thinks we’re ready to move past it, using an ancient technique: hypnosis.
He and surgical staff at MD Anderson are working on a study he thinks will prove that forgoing drugs in favor of a guided state of deep relaxation is the way ahead. “The very cutting of the body is traumatic, whether you’re awake or asleep. The same with anesthesia, especially if you’re an older patient. It’s an assault to the system,” says Rosalinda Engle, a mind-body interventionist employed by the hospital, whose methods are the replacement for general anesthesia in the study.
Engle meets with patients undergoing hypno-sedation a day or two before surgery, establishing rapport and coaching them in the techniques she’ll use on the big day. Patients are selected by surgeons, based on their perceived suggestibility and other research criteria; those whose minds are likely to resist hypnosis aren’t good candidates.
All chosen patients will have segmental mastectomies, better known as lumpectomies, which remove breast lumps and nearby glands. All are eager to try hypnosis, too, but only half, selected at random, get to; the other half go under using anesthesia. In order to allow the researchers to study their brainwave patterns accurately, neither group receives an epidural or perivertebral block, typically employed to cut off the message between spine and brain.
Engle stays with the anesthesia group before, during and after surgery, offering supportive attention and care. She guides the others, meanwhile, through deep muscle relaxation, inducting them into a state of deep ease. There is no Freudian pocket watch. Instead, she describes the mental state she hopes her charges will achieve as “like on a Saturday or Sunday morning when you’re waking and you don’t have to bolt out of bed.”
Which is amazing, when you think about it. “This is happening in a cold operating room with lots of beeping going on and they’re being cut into and they’re smelling the burning of their flesh, and they’re having the blood pressure cuff go on and off,” says Cohen, “and they’ve got an EEG cap going on and there’s a catheter, and someone is touching them.” And yet, “Rosalinda’s there just whispering into their ear and they’re off in the south of France.”
The potential advantages are clear: Hypno-sedated patients emerge from surgery awake and ready for discharge. The ones who’ve gone under with anesthesia, meanwhile, usually wake up in fight-or-flight mode (EEGs show brain activity increases during surgery) or in a state of distress. Even anesthesiologists admit that the drugs themselves are harmful—especially for immunosuppressed cancer patients.
Cohen and Engle have had success previously with psycho-oncological studies into the efficacy of Tibetan yoga in lung and breast cancer patients and their caregivers. While the jury is still out regarding the new study, the two believe that offering local anesthesia with hypno-sedation would provide long-term benefits to patients fighting cancer. And they’re not alone.
“When our surgeons and our clinicians are as on board with this project as actively as they are, it really means the world to us,” says Engle. And why wouldn’t they be? Procedures done without anesthesia are quicker and cost either the same or less than conventional surgery. “We know it works,” says Cohen. “But it’s not the standard of care at most hospitals.”
Policies, among both hospitals and insurance companies, need to change to make that happen. With studies like this one, we’re one cut closer.
Excerpt from The Discovery of Hypnosis: The Complete Writings of James Braid
Ward’s “History of the Hindoos”, which they represent as facts and as special gifts imparted to them in token of the great superiority of their religious system, of inducing a state of self-hypnotism, or ecstatic trance. They produce this condition by certain postures or modes of sitting – the minds of the devotees being engaged in acts of fixed attention, by looking at some parts of their own bodies, or at inanimate or ideal [i.e., imaginary] objects; at the same time holding their breath, i.e., suppressing their respiration… I may premise, however, that whatever idea occupies the mind of the subject before he passes into the condition, or whatever may have occurred to it accidentally or through the suggestion of others subsequently, will ever after be realised, under similar combination of circumstances, in consequence of the power of suggestion and double-conscious [dissociated] memory, as manifested in some patients even in the sub-hypnotic or waking condition, when what have been called the vigilant or waking phenomena are producible; and still more certainly during the full, active, double-conscious condition.
All hypnosis is self hypnosis but this is one of my favourite forms of personal practice. With a regular daily routine it is possible to increase sensitivity to not just your own energy (Chi) but the energy of others and that of the world around us. This subtle awareness can then be used as the basis of Chi Kung healing (Qi Gong), as is more commonly known with many other aspects of Traditional Chinese Medicine (like acupuncture) but without the need of a physician utilising herbal remedies, Chinese cups, Tui Na massage, or needles…
Hypnotherapy is a skilled communication aimed at directing a person’s imagination in a way that helps elicit changes in some perceptions, sensations, feelings, thoughts and behaviours.
In a typical hypnotherapy session the hypnotherapist and client will discuss the intended alterations or therapeutic goals desired. The hypnotherapist will ask questions about previous medical history, general health and lifestyle to decide on the best approach for the individual.
Hypnotherapy may be found to be helpful for those seeking relief from a range of problems and is used alongside a person’s own willpower and motivation to seek a desired goal. It is often used to help relieve anxiety, aid sleeping, help to address bed-wetting, address attitudes to weight, and help clients achieve behavioural change to stop smoking. It may also help with minor skin conditions that are exacerbated by stress and confidence issues, and may also be used to enhance performance in areas such as sport and public speaking. Hypnotherapy may help people to cope with and manage the relief of perceived pain.
Hypnotherapy has also been used with both adults and children to help manage the pain associated with irritable bowel. There is evidence to support its use in this condition for both adults and children and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Guidance (NICE) recommends the NHS should consider referring patients for hypnotherapy if their irritable bowel is persistent and has failed to respond to simple prescribed medicine (Who we register | CNHC, 2017).
Because our most fundamental learning is stored in the sub-limbic, right-hemispheric, and emotion-processing areas of the brain, which other talking psychotherapy and rational countermeasures cannot reach…
A Scientist at the University of Liverpool has found hypnosis can slow down the effects of dementia and improve quality of life for people living with the condition. Forensic psychologist Dr Simon Duff looked at how hypnosis compared to a type of group therapy in which participants were encouraged to discuss news and current affairs. They found that people living with dementia who had received hypnosis therapy showed an improvement in concentration, memory and socialisation compared to two other groups. Relaxation, motivation and daily activities also improved with hypnosis. Dr Duff said: “Over a nine-month period of weekly sessions, it became clear that the participants attending the discussion group remained the same throughout. The group who received treatment ‘as usual’ showed a small decline over the assessment period, yet those having regular hypnosis sessions showed real improvement across all the areas we looked at. “Participants who are aware of the onset of dementia may become depressed and anxious at their gradual loss of cognitive ability and so hypnosis, which is a tool for relaxation, can really help.” Further research will establish whether hypnosis maintains its effects.
After studying briefly with Bernheim, Freud pioneered the use of hypnosis as a vehicle for regression and catharsis between about 1885 and 1905. However, he abandoned it in order to develop his own technique of psychoanalysis. Nevertheless in an article published late in his career Freud returned to the subject of hypnotherapy once again, suggesting that it might be necessary to somehow combine the findings of psychoanalysis with the methods of hypnotherapy in order to produce a briefer and more powerful form of treatment. This notion was subsequently developed by other psychotherapists and led to the school of hypnosis which we now call “hypnoanalysis.” Freud’s comments here are more in the manner of a brief description, rather than a definition per se, nevertheless they reveal something of his views on the nature of hypnosis.
It has long been known, though it has only been established beyond all doubt during the last few decades, that it is possible, by certain gentle means, to put people into a quite peculiar mental state very similar to sleep and on that account described as ‘hypnosis.’ […] The hypnotic state exhibits a great variety of gradations. In its lightest degree the hypnotic subject is aware only of something like a slight insensibility, while the most extreme degree, which is marked by special peculiarities, is known as ‘somnambulism’, on account of its resemblance to the natural phenomena of sleep-walking. But hypnosis is in no sense a sleep like our nocturnal sleep or like the sleep produced by drugs. Changes occur in it and mental functions are retained during it which are absent in normal sleep. [Freud, On Psychical Treatment, 1905]
Experience of mindfulness training and practice has demonstrated through the body scan technique, otherwise known as progressive muscle relaxation in hypnotherapy, that the mind is brought into a ‘fixed state of attention’, as the body subsequently relaxes through its compassionate psychic awareness i.e. paying attention, on purpose, in a particular way, moment-by-moment, non-judgementally, to the observable events and sensations within the body, which may also include feelings and emotions. Thereafter, the body subsequently relaxes, a prerequisite for meditation, and the mind is then directed to focus upon the breath, and in the same non-judgemental way. This phenomenon of ‘fixation’ or ‘fixed attention’, in conjunction with the body scan, facilitates a quietened mind, in order for the participant of mindfulness to subsequently recognise any disturbances in conscious awareness or thinking, typically attributed to our deeper subconscious processing that unwittingly ‘affects’ the subjective body-mind organism as a whole. The whole process facilitates communicating with yourself, through attentive listening, without the continued barrage of thoughts and sensations, that as an appendage, typically pollutes our everyday, ordinary consciousness.
Hypnotherapy, on the other hand, utilises the same mental ‘fixation’ or ‘fixed state’ of attention (called trance) but primarily utilises an external object, namely that of the therapist’s voice, who then skilfully chooses a method of approach from a repertoire of techniques to empower their client. Furthermore, creative visualisation is encouraged by the therapist, through guided visualisation (visual meditation), enhancing the power of client’s imagination to reprogramme their own subconscious thinking via visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, olfactory or gustatory description or metaphors (sense representations), consequently encouraging the client to see, feel, hear, smell, and taste their preferred outcome or result, through a desired future orientation, which ‘ethically’ is in-keeping with the client’s values and goals. However, mindfulness doesn’t use future orientation, and it doesn’t use imagination, as it only deals in the here-and-now, despite being a very effective psychological intervention, although it does use relaxation and meditation (trance) to stabilise the client before observing, with acceptance, what is actually disturbing the individual’s mind and body in the present time. Similarly, hypnosis stabilises the client using the same relaxation process and trance like mental state, before embarking upon a journey of therapy when utilising the imagination to positively affect stubborn and difficult memories from the past, deal with present day obstacles and barriers, and or visualise a better, brighter, intended future, by helping the client facilitate change to their mental-emotional perspective.