To hypnotise or induce a trance like state for therapeutic purposes is the function of a hypnotherapist and Hypnotherapy is the therapeutic use of the Hypnotic state.

The purpose of using hypnosis as a therapeutic tool is to actively engage the unconscious to access the inherent information and resources needed for dealing with or overcoming the challenges at hand.

For instance:
• To address and find the reason behind debilitating behavioural traits,
• To reframe memories,
• Update beliefs
• Access repressed memories

Under hypnosis the work can be executed without the interference of the conscious mind. It is an inner journey that allows your body to relax deeply and activate it’s super learning ability.

Definition from Encyclopaedia Britannica:

Hypnosis, special psychological state with certain physiological attributes, resembling sleep only superficially and marked by a functioning of the individual at a level of awareness other than the ordinary conscious state. This state is characterized by a degree of increased receptiveness and responsiveness in which inner experiential perceptions are given as much significance as is generally given only to external reality.

Hypnosis is a state we are all more or less familiar with, it could also be described as the feeling of deep relaxation. What it is not, is a completely foreign experience of consciousness. Hypnosis is another name for trance or the experience of entering into slower neural oscillations. We all experience changes in brainwave state through the various stages of the day, ranging from deep sleep to alert and focused.

Lets go into brain states a bit here..

The brain emits a variety of wave frequencies which are described as the different ‘states’ of the brain: Delta (0.5 – 4.0 Hz), Theta (4.0 – 8.0 Hz), Alpha (8.0 – 13.0 Hz), Beta (13.0 Hz – 30.0 Hz), Gamma (30.0 - 60 Hz), and High Gamma (60 -200 Hz). All frequencies are always present, yet that which is dominant at any given time describes which ‘state’ the brain is in.

The most suggestible, pliant state for the purposes of hypnotherapy is the theta state, occurring when we drop from the active, focused beta state through the more relaxed alpha state, (a light trance), and then into theta. Research shows us that it is the theta state and theta-gamma phase-locking that appears to be the dominant state one is experiencing under hypnosis.

“…slow wave oscillations, and in particular theta oscillations, facilitate hypnotic responding”-Brain Oscillations, Hypnosis, and Hypnotizability, Mark P.Jensen, Tomonori Adachi and Shahin Hakimian, American Journal of Clinical Hypnotherapy-

The hypnotic state may also be referred to as the trance state..

Trance has ancient and varied roots and applications, though how it came to be popularised and used in western medical science was predominantly through the work of the German physician, Franz Mesmer with his Animal magnetism therapy, later to be called mesmerism.

The Mesmerism process was adapted and evolved by James Braid, an 18th century Scottish surgeon, amongst others, into what came to be called hypnotism. Braid is considered the first real hypnotherapist, using hypnotic states in conjunction with his regular surgical procedures. It was Braid whom popularised the term hypnotism, rooting from the greek word for sleep and the Greek god for sleep Hypnos.

Another fundamental pillar to the evolution of Hypnotherapy, is Milton H. Erikson..

His approach moved away from formal induction techniques, towards a symbiotic relating between client and therapist, encouraging the client to access their own inherent solutions through the artful use of language and suggestion, metaphor and rapport.

Intent, agreement & trust..

The effectiveness and success of hypnosis as a therapy is directed by your intention and willingness. The agreement first comes from you wanting to achieve something. If you believe hypnotherapy is how you  want to approach your issue and this is the modality that will work, then this choice empowers the process and its success.

The next element is the therapist, you must trust in and feel comfortable with the therapist, believe in their abilities and skills and the effectiveness of the methods they have chosen for your purposes. The therapist then cooperates with you by using the methods and skills available to them, methods of induction, to encourage brainwave state changes for the purpose at hand. You agree to the suggestions to relax and allow your brain to adopt the state necessary for active communication with your unconscious mind. The contract is what is key, you have actively sought out a hypnotherapist for your purpose at hand and an agreement is made through this contract of consent which ensures the success of the session.