basics of psychology

Neural Changes: How Hypnosis Positively Alters the Brain


Did you know that 18.1% of the population experience anxiety and depression each year? An estimated 10% to 15% of people worldwide suffer with irritable bowel syndrome. These and many other conditions affect people on a daily basis.

The basics of psychology involve 5 processes:

  • Sensation
  • Perception
  • Attention
  • Learning
  • Memory

The therapist examines how each of these processes contribute to human behavior.

Hypnosis uses basic psychology to identify specific neural interactions in the brain. With this knowledge, the therapist works to relieve symptoms.

Basics of Psychology and How it Relates to Hypnotherapy

Psychology describes the scientific study of the mind and behavior. Psychology is practiced in different ways. It helps in human development, sports, social behavior, cognitive processes, and improvement of health issues.

The brain coordinates all body functions. Thus, any changes to the brain function impacts all other processes in the body.

Hypnosis helps the brain relieve most problems associated with the central nervous system.

How Does Hypnosis work?

You may hear hypnosis called hypnotherapy or hypnotic suggestion. It creates a trance-like state in which you have increased focus and concentration.

Hypnosis works by turning off the analytical part of our brain. This allows the non-analytical side to become more alert.

The first step is to release control of conscious processing in the brain. This allows our subconscious to become more active.

The subconscious part controls more instinctive function. Thus, focusing on this part of the brain helps change behavior and alter physical states.


While becoming more open to hypnotic suggestions, you still maintain control over your body.

Does Hypnosis Really Work?

The answer is yes. Hypnosis can help relieve symptoms. However, everyone is not going to find improvement with every treatment.

A study reported in the journal, Gut, looked at people with irritable bowel syndrome. After 12 weekly hypnosis session, 58% of women and 75% of men reported relief of symptoms.

Up to six years later, more than 80% reported ongoing relief of symptoms.

What is the Purpose of Hypnotic Suggestion?

The goal of hypnosis is to help you gain control over behaviors that are undesirable. This can also help you increase your ability to cope more effectively with anxiety or pain. Hypnosis is helpful to reduce stress and anxiety prior to a medical procedure.

Studies have also explored the use of hypnosis for the following:

  • Pain control due to burns
  • Pain control associated with cancer
  • Pain control during childbirth
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Temporomandibular joint pain
  • To calm patients before dental procedures
  • Headaches
  • Hot flashes associated with menopause
  • Insomnia
  • Bedwetting
  • Smoking
  • Overeating
  • General anxiety
  • Phobias
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

If you suffer from any of these problems, consider hypnosis as a possible treatment.

What Neural Changes Occur in the Brain with Hypnosis?

Scientists have found that guided hypnosis alters brain activity. They have also learned how brain activity connects to different areas in the brain.

The therapist first works to locate the problematic part of the brain. The next step is to help the person achieve a state of hypnosis. This allows for effective treatment focused on specific areas of the brain.

What Are Risks Associated with Hypnosis?

When a trained therapist performs hypnosis, this treatments is considered safe. Hypnosis is also known as a complementary or alternative medical treatment. Yet, some individuals with severe illness may not be appropriate for hypnosis.

Rare adverse reactions to hypnosis include:

  • Anxiety or distress
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Generation of false memories.
  • Headache

Hypnosis is not recommended as a treatment to work through stressful events that occurred earlier in your life.

How to Choose a Hypnosis Therapist?

The therapist or healthcare provider should hold a certification to perform hypnosis. Ask the following questions to ensure your comfort and confidence in the practitioner.

  • Do you have special training in psychology, social work, medicine, or dentistry?
  • Do you have a current state license in your area of specialty?
  • Where did you go to school for your training?
  • What program did you attend to learn about hypnosis?
  • How long have you been practicing hypnotherapy?
  • Are hypnotherapy sessions covered by insurance?
  • What is the goal of my hypnosis therapy?

Having all questions answered and knowing your expectations are realistic helps you and your therapist. You will not benefit from hypnotherapy if you have unrealistic expectations.

What Can You Expect During a Hypnotherapy Session?

The therapist will begin by explaining how he/she conducts hypnotherapy sessions. Your therapist will also review the treatment goals with you. Ask questions if you are not sure about any of the information.

The therapist usually speaks in gentle, soothing tones and ask you to imagine scenes that are described. This helps to create a sense of relaxation, security, and calmness.

When you reach a state of readiness, the therapist will make suggestions about ways to meet your goals. They may help you visualize vivid, meaningful mental pictures of yourself meeting your goals.

The session ends by you leaving the hypnotic state, or the therapist helps you return to a relaxed state. You do not lose control over your behavior. You are usually aware and remember what happens during the time of hypnosis.

The therapist will teach you to practice self-hypnosis. You will then be able to use this strategy during stressful or anxious times. For example, when seeing a dentist, or undergo painful, uncomfortable procedures.

Are Ready to Explore Hypnosis Treatment?

Our therapists use their understanding of the basics of psychology to assistant clients in achieving treatment goals. The website will help answer questions you may have about hypnosis. You will find more articles, like this one. to help you understand the benefits of hypnosis.

Contact us today to learn more about our services and treatment options.