Clinical Hypnotherapy Decoded

Equipped with knowledge, experience, and a gentle sense of humour which puts her clients at ease, Danijela R. Bhandari (Dana), an Integrative Wellbeing Counsellor & Founder of DanaVeda, familiarises us with Clinical Hypnotherapy in a simple, descriptive, almost playful “hypnosis-friendly” manner, as she calls it

What does it mean to be a clinical hypnotherapy practitioner?

Rare are the therapies in the history of medicine, be it allopathic or alternative, which have simultaneously enjoyed such opposing attitudes in society – from widespread praise and acclaim to universal criticism and disapproval as clinical hypnotherapy did. Also, one ‘ingredient’ that it has never missed being marinated in was undoubtedly some sort of mysticism associated with it. Keeping all this in mind, I like to joke that I never lack attention during social gatherings since, as soon as people get to know what I do, there is so much intrigue and curiosity which still prevail in the context of hypnosis. On a more serious note, my association with clinical hypnotherapy started with me being a client who was cured of acute rheumatoid arthritis in 2011 and then, witnessing my own results, becoming a clinical hypnotherapy practitioner and trainer accredited with California Hypnosis Institute (CHI-USA). In addition to my both allopathic and alternative medicine training in the past, it meant years of studying, working on myself, practising with my clients, and continuously learning about the vastness of the consciousness, the power of our mind, and human ability to utilise it for healing and growth. Like any other mental health practitioner, it is my responsibility to do my inner work regularly to be free from any residual disturbances that might be resonating and interfering with my client’s issues.

How would you introduce and describe the state of hypnosis to our readers?

The state of hypnosis is a natural state we enter several times a day. Our conscious and subconscious minds share an intimate yet complex relationship, with the conscious mind contributing only 10-12 per cent and the remaining 88-90 per cent is the show which the subconscious mind runs. During the normal state of information flow from our surroundings, the conscious mind processes the inputs and acts on them with the help of the critical mind. However, the moment this rate of information flow increases, and the critical mind must process beyond its capacity, it simply hands over or transfers the control to the subconscious, which has the fight/flight response system. Therefore, the subconscious takes over the control, and we are in a state of hypnosis. Concerts, hi-tech movies, TV ads, heavy traffic, crowd noise, accidents with traumatic injuries, and any such situations of the ‘mind overwhelm’ are the situations which induce the state of hypnosis as a flight mechanism. The other way to achieve it is through progressive relaxation. Those moments of looking through the window and daydreaming, monotonously walking on the treadmill or driving on an empty highway in a ‘mind cruise mode’ and time passing without us being consciously aware are just some of the natural hypnotic states, not to mention those moments when we are about to fall asleep, or we just woke up.

Regression is the most talked about aspect of hypnotherapy. Could you tell us more about it?

Although clinical hypnotherapy has a wide array of different therapeutic techniques, regression is undoubtedly the star of the show and most frequently gets into the limelight. People are often curious about simply exploring their past, not understanding that our memory functions in a certain way for a reason and our defence mechanisms have an essential role to play too. Therefore, ‘regression with a purpose’ is therapy, but ‘time travel’ for the sake of curiosity is a potential danger related activity, especially with a hypnotist who is not a therapist. That’s why I like to caution people to stay away from the ‘time-travel agents’, as I like to call practitioners who facilitate such practices.

Regression means travelling back, be it in this life or across time, and it is performed to find the origin of the problem we are addressing in the session. For example, a few months back, I had a client who had been overweight her entire life. When she was around eight years old, while walking on the street, some boys came on a bike from behind and pinched her on both sides of her backside. Her mother saw it from the balcony and, stating that the girl provoked them, she slapped her so tight that one of her front teeth broke. Although innocent and quite shocked herself, she was kept accountable and even punished. A few months later, she was sexually abused by her uncle while sleeping. She couldn’t even share it with her mom, fearing she would be held accountable again. Eventually, she has been carrying layers of fat around her body to protect her from unwanted attention from the opposite sex. Unless the inner child is healed, such a person cannot lose weight despite all efforts since some self-sabotaging mechanism will always find a way to protect this childhood wound.

What would be the takeaway message for our readers?

I strongly urge our readers to clearly distinguish between stage hypnosis, performed for entertainment, and clinical hypnotherapy, performed for therapy, as the name suggests. One can learn how to induce the state of hypnosis over the weekend, but it takes extensive training to become a therapist who can handle the process of healing upon accessing the deeper levels of consciousness which could hold memories of traumatic experiences needing to be dealt with the utmost care, knowledge, and skills. Therefore, always check your therapist’s credentials and background, as well as the credibility of the institution they have trained with. Please do not get carried away by someone’s impressive Instagram account, which is generic and run by a skillful social media content creator. If you do not have strong recommendations for the therapist from someone known to you, kindly do your research to be safe on the path of seeking help.

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Danijela R. Bhandari Clinical Hypnotherapy


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