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What is Self-hypnosis?

“Hypnosis” refers to any technique that induces a hypnotic state of consciousness characterized by intensely focused concentration, dissociation from the body or immediate surroundings, and increased suggestibility. In self-hypnosis people may use any of a number of techniques to induce and guide themselves through a hypnotic state, often with the goal of relaxing deeply, or of bringing about changes in feelings or behaviors through connecting to normally subconscious parts of themselves.

There are many types of self-hypnosis, but nearly all of them begin with a person sitting or lying in a comfortable, distraction-free environment. The person will then relax deeply, and narrow their focus through a series of exercises, usually involving verbal repetitions like, “I’m relaxing, I’m relaxing”, methodical breathing, counting, or visualization. There are also audio programs that have been created by practicing hypnotherapists to help people with self-hypnosis. Once a hypnotic state has been achieved, a person may simply enjoy a feeling of deep relaxation, or focus on particular goals through exploring visualizations or by mentally or verbally repeating suggestive phrases. They will then use a simple technique to emerge from the hypnotic state.

Self-hypnosis can last for any duration, but most of the time people aim for between ten minutes and an hour. Self-hypnosis is easily taught and simple to use. Though it’s not as commonly discussed as other coping techniques, some people in the psychiatric drug withdrawal community have reported that self-hypnosis has helped them reduce or manage depressed or anxious feelings, manage discomfort or pain, and get more and better sleep.

Where can I find more information?

  • A blog post written about using self-hypnosis during antidepressant withdrawal
  • A WikiHow page on self-hypnosis
  • A link to the National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health’s (NCCIH) page on hypnosis that includes links to scientific studies, quick tips, and videos
  • A link to a free audio book on self-hypnosis
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