Monday, May 16, 2005

Hypnotist or Hypnotherapist? What's The Difference?

Hypnotist or Hypnotherapist? What is the Difference?


A hypnotist is a specialist in the use of hypnosis or hypnotism.  A hypnotist does not necessarily use hypnosis in a professional clinical setting. 


A hypnotherapist is a specialist who has been trained to use hypnosis in a therapeutic setting to help clients with behavior modification such as: to eliminate fears or phobias, break unwanted habits such as smoking or nail biting; enhance performance in sports or business; improve skills such as reading, studying or passing tests. 


Just as Papa said in “MY Big Fat Greek Wedding”, “ …every word comes from the Greek.”  The word “hypnosis” comes from the Greek word “hypnos” which means “sleep”.  Although the state of hypnosis is not sleep, it resembles a sleep-like state, so, for lack of a better word, “hypnosis” stuck!


Unfortunately, when folks think of hypnosis, they automatically think of the hypnotist who performs on stage by hypnotizing his/her subjects and making them do funny or entertaining acts that their friends know they normally would not do.  It’s very convincing and quite entertaining; but at the same time, it’s a “hard act to follow” for a hypnotherapist who knows the value of hypnosis in physical, mental and emotional healing and training.  We first have to bring down the stigma caused by these stage hypnotists in order to ward off any fears a client may have about being out of control or being manipulated to do something against their will.


What is ironic is that hypnosis was discovered and practiced first in the medical field by medical doctors in the mid 18th century.  Although the state of hypnosis has been around since the human mind itself, it was not discovered for medical purposes until Anton Mesmer, a Swiss physician, used a form of hypnosis which he called “animal magnetism” to facilitate healing in his patients.  Many physicians, who caught wind of Mesmer’s healing techniques, began to experiment with their own patients and had varying degrees of success.  Freud was responsible for putting hypnotherapy on the back burner when he concluded in his writings that psychotherapy was more effective and had better results.  It was not until the American Medical Association endorsed and approved the use of hypnosis as an adjunct to medicine (in 1958), that its popularity in the medical community began to grow. 


In the early 1980’s, the U.S. Government declared hypnotherapy a valid occupation and assigned it an occupational code.  It was then that schools and training institutions began to pop up all over the place to open the doors for this new occupation to blossom.

Posted by Patti Mason at 3:58:23 PM in Hypnotist or Hypnotherapist? (1) | Comments (0)


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