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Hypnosis is a tool or process used to facilitate the trance state. It enables us to control when the trance state will occur so that we can best utilize it. It is one of many tools that can take us into trance.
Trance is a naturally occurring phenomenon. It is an altered state of consciousness in which one can readily access both psychological and physiological abilities. It is common for people to be in a trance state. Children are frequently in trance while playing. Trance happens all the time.
Suggestion is the vehicle through which we communicate messages to the unconscious mind. One’s ability to accept suggestions is heightened in trance.
All hypnosis is self-hypnosis.

People turn to hypnotherapy for a variety of reasons, finding it to be a valuable tool for addressing and overcoming personal challenges. Here are some common reasons why individuals choose hypnotherapy: pain management, behavior change, stress reduction, enhanced performance, and improved sleep.

What is Clinical Hypnosis

Recognizing, appreciating, and embracing the mind-body connection, clinical hypnosis facilitates the mind-body-spirit working together; clinical hypnosis is the ultimate in integrative medicine.

Clinical hypnosis is utilized in conjunction with medical treatment and not instead of medical treatment.

Clinical hypnosis is facilitated by a licensed health care provider such as a physician, psychologist, therapist, dentist, or chiropractor.

Clinical hypnosis can bring about physical change as well as psychological and emotional change.

An individual in trance knows what is occurring, is aware and functional, and may choose the appropriate time to terminate trance.

What Clinical Hypnosis is Not

Clinical hypnosis is not something that somebody does “to” somebody. All hypnosis is self-hypnosis. All hypnosis is autohypnosis.

Hypnosis does not resemble a sleep state. The EEG of someone in trance more closely resembles the waking state than the sleeping EEG.

Hypnosis is not a state of unconsciousness, nor does it include a loss of control or amnesia.

Clinical hypnosis is not a treatment in and of itself. It is used as an adjunct to treatment that is already within the field of competence of the health care practitioner. Hypnosis is not a panacea, nor a substitute for good practice.

Clinical hypnosis does not resemble what is depicted in movies and TV. Clinical hypnosis is not the same as stage hypnosis. Stage hypnosis is a performance. Stage hypnosis does not require a health care license. Many of those who perform stage hypnosis are certified by the Screen Actors Guild.

Risks of Hypnosis

Hypnosis is usually safe if a trained professional is the one you are working with. Make sure that anyone you consider has a license in a health care field (e.g. medicine, dentistry, psychology, social work, mental health counseling, and chiropractic) or that they are a member of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis or the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. Hypnosis can be dangerous for people with serious mental disorders including those experiencing hallucinations, delusions, schizophrenia, or drug and alcohol misuse.

Side effects of Hypnosis

In rare cases hypnosis can cause side effects including dizziness, drowsiness, headache, or elevated anxiety.

Sample Uses of Clinical Hypnosis:

  • Stress Management/relaxation
  • Sleep problems
  • Pain Management
  • Anxiety/Panic Attacks
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headaches
  • Autoimmune problems
  • Trauma
  • Habit Control
  • Weight Loss
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Performance enhancement: athletics, test taking, preparation for testifying in court.
  • Surgical preparation: bleeding control, anxiety, post-operative comfort, nausea, vomiting, healing, and recovery.
  • Cancer patients: alleviating side effects of chemo and radiation, pain management, visualization of healing, assuage depressive symptoms, and palliate anxiety.
Training and Certification

Following the initiation of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH) introductory training in 1995, Dr. Stanley completed ASCH intermediate skill building workshops before beginning to travel throughout the United States and participating in advanced workshops led by some of the leaders in the field of clinical hypnosis. His advanced study includes focus on neuroplasticity and physiologic pattern, abuse of opioids and hypnosis for chronic pain, an integrative mind-body approach to irritable bowel syndrome, gut health, autoimmune problems, hypnosis for relaxation and sleep, hypnosis for trauma-informed integrative medicine, transforming trauma with hypnotic memory reconstruction, enhancing comfort in individuals with chronic pain, the integration of clinical hypnosis with patients in cancer care and those with other chronic illnesses, and teaching self-hypnosis. Dr. Stanley, a licensed psychologist since 1994, holds a Certification in Clinical Hypnosis with the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis. Dr. Stanley is a member of the North Carolina Society of Clinical Hypnosis as well as the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis. A frequent participant in workshops approved by the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, Dr. Stanley continues his study of clinical hypnosis.

Chronic Pain and Opioid Dependency

Having received his initial training in clinical hypnosis in 1995, Dr. Stanley immersed himself in the advanced study and practice of clinical hypnosis in 2013 while he was working on a crisis stabilization unit during an opioid crisis. Perry observed that a significant percentage of those who were dependent on opioids had little to no history of substance abuse until after an accident or surgery and the treatment of pain with opioids. Dr Stanley realized that a third or more of those who become dependent upon opioids would benefit from treatment for chronic pain, and that clinical hypnosis could provide the assistance they needed. Perry sought out training from some of the leading experts in the field to enhance his skills for using clinical hypnosis to alleviate pain and maximize comfort for those with chronic pain and other chronic illnesses.

Self-Hypnosis Classes for Patients with Cancer and Other Chronic Illnesses

In addition to the use of clinical hypnosis in individual therapy, Dr. Stanley offers a four-week class in self-hypnosis. The class, offered in person as well as via Zoom, consists of four 90-minutes sessions; once a week for 4 consecutive weeks. In addition to the four group meetings, each participant also meets with Perry individually for 30 minutes during the 4 weeks to assist them with making a recording of suggestions for their current circumstances. This class is open to members of the general public who want to learn to use self-hypnosis to help in managing cancer and other chronic illnesses, including the symptoms, reducing pain and stress, controlling the side effects of medication and radiation therapies, and generally enhancing quality of life.

Dr. Stanley uses self-hypnosis regularly for his own health issues. He has used self-hypnosis to resolve sleep problems, to be able to fly with little to no knee pain, and to alleviate nerve pain. He was able to use self-hypnosis rather than opioids following the surgical removal of a ganglion cyst and has comfortably tolerated multiple cardiac MRIs. Perry’s successful practice of self-hypnosis has resulted in him developing the highest expectation that the daily use of self-hypnosis will be beneficial to anyone who is motivated to practice this skill consistently.

Clinical Hypnosis, An Evidence Based Approach

Until 30 years ago there were few clinical trials examining hypnosis for any type of medical or psychological problem. Scientific evidence for clinical hypnosis was limited to anecdotal and clinical reports. In recent decades, however, there has been a growing body of scientific research. Numerous controlled studies have found clinical hypnosis as effective or more effective than various treatments for pain including standard care, relaxation training, support group without hypnosis, attention control, autogenic training, biofeedback, and physical therapy.

In 1958 both the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association recognized hypnotherapy as a valid medical procedure. Since 1995 the National Institute of Health (NIH) has recommended hypnotherapy as a treatment for chronic pain. Clinical hypnosis is one of the evidence-based complementary and integrative health approaches covered by the Veterans Administration medical benefits package when deemed clinically necessary by their care team per VA directive.

This growing number of psychophysiological studies on hypnosis and pain has enhanced the scientific legitimacy of hypnosis, has identified several measurable physiological phenomena, and has put to rest the misconception that hypnosis is solely a placebo effect (David R. Patterson, 2013). Studies of laboratory pain reduction show sympathetic responses (e.g., heart rate and blood pressure), electrocortical activity at various sites, endogenous endorphin release, and regional blood flow. Clinical hypnosis demonstrates a series of physiological changes that can be monitored by brain activity.

A pilot study (Forester-Miller, H. 2017) on the integration of clinical hypnosis with patients in cancer care found significant changes in reported quality of life including improved emotional well-being (e.g., feeling less sad, feeling less nervous, experiencing less fear of dying, and being less worried that their condition will get worse), improved physical well-being (e.g., felt less ill, less bothered by the side effects of treatment, and less trouble meeting their family needs), and improved functional well-being (e.g., more able to enjoy life, more able to sleep well, more able to enjoy the things they usually do for fun, and more content with the quality of their life).