Blog Swans Therapy November 2020
Dreams and Hypnotherapy
When we dream, we are in an altered state of awareness, the alpha state of sleep is when our creative inner world is most active, being our right brain activity. It is also when we are in the deepest state of sleep and that we are relaxed. As a consequence, of this we are less restricted by our left-brain, the analytical brain, which may choose to sabotage this process of communication.
Dreams have been used therapeutically for centuries. The ancient Greeks had what we would now call dream retreats where men would go to record their dreams for health and wellbeing. The word ‘Hypnos’ in Hypnotherapy comes from this. The father of psychotherapy Sigmund Freud and his eminent student Carl Yung studied and used dreams in their approach to ‘curing their patients’ neurosis’. Yung went on to further his treatments in promoting the ‘universal consciousness in that he believes within the whole of humanity there are universal symbols that represent the same thing to all human beings no matter what their language, culture, religion or beliefs.
This is how hypnotherapy works too. As clinical hypnotherapists our skill is to use the tone, rhythm and pace of our voice, universal to any language, to lull our client into a peaceful, calm state of mind. Clients generally find this soothing and relaxing. In effect we are inducing the alpha state of sleep, the dream state. Once a deeper relaxed state has been achieved, we can then use repetitive positive suggestions which go into the subconscious to override any negative unhelpful habits, thoughts or behaviours. Although very relaxed, the client will remain aware during this process and can stop the session if they feel uncomfortable, but usually find it a very pleasant, relaxing and positive experience, beneficial on many levels. (Not what the stage hypnotists do to people, we can’t get you to act like a chicken, but then why would we want to?) It is like being in a daydream state when you were in a boring lesson with a teacher whose voice drones on and on and you are still in the room but looking out the window watching the other kids playing and having fun! Consciously you are in two places at once, still hearing the teacher, but also outside playing.