To tackle a problem, one must address its roots. This axiom holds true for many things, and forms the cornerstone of hypnotherapy - a form of therapy that uses hypnosis to help a person overcome habits, beliefs or emotions that have a negative impact on his life.
Giselle Gianella Gabe (pictured above), a certified professional hypnosis instructor residing in Singapore, explains to AsiaOne Health that such negative beliefs, habits and emotions have their roots in the subconscious mind, which has an inbuilt protective mechanism that guards it from unnecessary changes. Unfortunately, the same protective mechanism also means that once a false belief has taken root within the subconscious mind, it is very difficult to correct or dispel it. This is where hypnosis comes in.
"For real, permanent change, you need to work on the subconscious mind in order to achieve both cognitive and emotional change," says Ms Gabe, who was born in Peru. "Hypnosis is the only known method that successfully allows the properly trained hypnotherapist to bypass the mind's protective mechanism and work directly on the sub-conscious mind, thus having an immediate effect on it."
According to Ms Gabe, who is also a Master Practitioner in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), hypnotherapy can treat issues such as psychosomatic illnesses, depression, anxiety, eating disorders and phobias. It can also be used to help people achieve their goals by helping them "unlock" their potentials and talents, or by helping them overcome self-limiting beliefs and habits such as procrastination, self-sabotage and low self-esteem.
Hypnotherapy can also impact the unconscious mind, which Ms Gabe describes as the 'body's consciousness'. She describes a case in which one of her clients suffered from repeated miscarriages: "Her pregnancies generated enormous amount of fear that she was not able to cope as a mother and to be able to do a good job as a mother. Hence, her womb 's reponse was to 'expel' the baby.
"Once we got to the root cause of her fear, she was able to complete the [therapy] process. Her womb was then able to hold babies, and she gave birth to two gorgeous and healthy babies in a span of 3 years."
While hypnotherapy is safe in general, and has no risk of physical side-effects unlike many medications, it is best to seek out trained hypnotherapists. "If the hypnotherapist is not well-trained and uses age regression, there is a small chance that false memories can be implanted ," cautions Ms Gabe.
AsiaOne Health understands that unscrupulous or poorly trained therapists in the United States have been sued for implanting false memories of childhood sexual abuse in their clients - 'memories' that often ripped apart families and marriages.
That said, hypnosis is not a form of mind control. "No one can control your mind but you!" asserts Ms Gabe. "There is no way a person can give up her own will power unless she wants to."
She notes that there are some who may fall victim of people who are skilled at manipulating others. However, the distinction between manipulation and mind control must be stressed - a person may be manipulated without losing control of his mind and will.
Q and A
Q&A with Giselle Gianella Gabe
Some people say that hypnosis/hypnotherapy is a form of mind control. What is your response to that?
Unfortunately, I say that it is both a misconception and a sad reality.
The misconception comes mainly from the misrepresentation of hypnosis in movies that show hypnosis as a tool to control people, even to the point of making a person rob a bank!
The person who receives the suggestion 'go and rob the bank' must have in his subconscious mind the belief 'It's OK to rob a bank' or have a fantasy of doing it - because the mind is very simple, it will accept external information that matches what already exists in the subconscious Mind and will immediately reject the information that doesn't match. This explains also how hypnosis and hypnotherapy are safe, as you will not accept a suggestion that you do not like.
This misconception comes also from the misunderstanding of what is hypnosis/hypnotherapy and 'Stage Hypnosis'.
The purpose of stage hypnosis is to entertain people - this is why you will never see a Stage Hypnotist 'pick' a volunteer (if you ever go to a show, be observant and you will see). The Stage Hypnotist knows that if he picks someone 'unwilling' to go on stage he will be shooting himself in the foot. Hypnosis/hypnotherapy is a dance in which the hypnotherapist leads and the client follows. If the person is not willing to go on stage, he is unlikely to follow instructions and hence be very unlikely to be hypnotised.
Anyone's mind has a protective mechanism that is working 24/7. There is no way that a person will give up her own will power unless she wants to.
Is hypnosis sleep?
Hypnosis is not sleep. If you fall asleep during your session you will miss the whole thing and your hypnotherapist will not be able to work with you at all. Hypnosis and hypnotherapy require your full, focused attention.
You may have your eyes closed, and you may look like you are asleep, and even your Hypnotist or Hypnotherapist may use the word 'sleep' - but when she uses this word it means: 'Become deeply relaxed as if you are asleep'. It doesn't mean you will sleep!
Hypnosis/ hypnotherapy is an interactive activity that you do while being fully conscious and aware. When you emerge from hypnosis you remember everything and you are aware of what you did with your hypnotist/hypnotherapist.
Is Hypnosis mind control?
No IT IS NOT. No one can control your mind but you!
How is hypnosis carried out? E.g. is it done by swinging a pendulum in front of the client, as we often see in the movies?
The pendulum usage is what you see on TV and in movies, and it is very old fashion.
In the old days the pendulum was used to help induce hypnosis.
Nowadays, I don't think you will find a properly trained Hypnotherapist using this method. First of all it is boring - your mind will get so fed up that it won't pay any attention after a while, hence you will not do hypnosis or hypnotherapy properly!
Now there are modern methods that are effective and take little time to induce hypnosis. For instance we use Rapid Induction Techniques that are fast and effective. Compared to the traditional ways of inducing hypnosis (that in some cases could take up to half an hour), we can do it in less than a minute or even in seconds.
Giselle Gianella Gabe is a Certified Professional Hypnosis Instructor and a Neuro-Linguistic Programming Master Practitioner.