Hypnosis is a process that anyone can experience to some degree initially, and with practice, can usually experience more deeply. Essentially, hypnosis employs a process of relaxed inner absorption to facilitate changes in understanding and behaviors (I think of behaviors as thoughts, reactions, responses and actions).
The hypnotic process seems to facilitate access to more resources, both conscious and unconscious, often helping the therapy process to move more rapidly. However, that is not necessarily to suggest overnight change, although that can occur. The more common experience is a change in understanding that otherwise might have taken weeks or months to acquire through talking alone.
I do not advocate hypnosis as the sole solution to addictive patterns: nicotine, food, alcohol, exercise, etc. While it can be helpful over time, the personal dynamics that sustain such habits are usually complex and deeply embedded. Hypnosis can be a useful tool to assist the process of untangling those dynamics, as well as supporting and reinforcing behavioral change, but it is not a magic pill. That said, like EMDR, it can be a powerful addition to psychotherapy.
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