Hypnoanalys is a combination of hypnosis and psychoanalysis, where the therapist and the client work together to find the root to the presenting issue in a safe environment. Hypnosis is a state of total relaxation, where the subconscious is amenable. During psychoanalysis, the client’s past is examined and analysed to understand the present. In hypnoanalysis, this search into the past happens under hypnosis, helping the client to easily remember and understand the origins of their concerns. Finding the root cause of the issue, can help the client to understand why they react, behave, or feel in a particular way. This allows the therapist and the client to work together on the concerns at hand in a collaborative and positive manner.
What happens in hypnoanalysis?
During a hypnoanalysis session, the client is taken on a relaxing journey to achieve complete relaxation, which is the hypnotic trance. Being in hypnosis allows the subconscious mind to be engaged. As our memories -events or emotions- are stored in our subconscious, during a trance state, they are more easily accessible. This is because under hypnosis, a client can more easily remember events which are stored in the subconscious and that have had an influence on their present (as well as their past). These past events can often be forgotten by the conscious mind, hence the use of hypnosis in hypnoanalysis. Sometimes there is a group of events at the root of the client’s issue. It can start with one event, which is then followed by other events that reinforce the effect of the initial event. For example, a client who has low self-esteem might discover under hypnosis that at school, that they were shamed publicly about their work, this might be followed by a period of being teased by other children. These events would have contributed to how this client feels at present. Understanding the root of the problem can be very powerful and empowering for the client. The hypnotherapist works with the client on working through the emotions and behaviours associated with the initial event through hypnotherapy.
There are two techniques used in hypnoanalysis:
1- Free association, which originates in Freud’s psychoanalysis, where the client, under hypnosis, speaks freely about the thoughts that come into their head. As they talk, the thoughts can flow from one event to another, arriving at significant events on the way. Here the subconscious guides the client to these. The hypnotherapist facilitates this process by taking to the client who responds- it is almost like having a conversation while under hypnosis.
2- Regression. With this technique, the hypnotherapist guides the client more directly to a significant event. This would be done gently by exploring how they feel now, when is the last time they suffered from the presenting issue (e.g., the last time they had a panic attack). Then this would be explored and then the hypnotherapist would guide the client to the previous times they experienced this feeling, until they reach the original event that caused the panic attacks to start. When this happens, the hypnotherapist would work with the client on overcoming and freeing themselves of the presenting issue.
It is very important that the client feels comfortable, safe and understood by the hypnotherapist. Therefore, it is essential that the hypnotherapist establishes a supportive, positive, caring, non-judgemental and empathic relationship from the outset. As the client feels comfortable and safe, the process of therapy is more successful.
What does hypnoanalysis help with?
It can help with a variety of issues, such as low self-esteem, phobias, panic attacks, stress, sleeping difficulties, some relationship difficulties. It is important to note that many issues such as weight loss, smoking, bad habits such as nail biting, improved performance in exams and work generally do not need hypnoanalysis; hypnotic suggestion is sufficient. Hypnoanalysis is a longer process, where the client would probably need 12 sessions, where with hypnotic suggestion 4-6 sessions are generally sufficient.