We recently conducted a questionnaire interview via email with the 15 students who graduated. One of the interviewee was a doctor (Dr Alan Soh) who mentioned that he used clinical hypnosis during his consultation and it is usually done informally through rapport building, utilization, metamodel and solution focused questioning with the patients. He had used formal hypnosis practice for cases such as panic attacks, inability to cope following a miscarriage, marital disharmony, work stress, quit smoking, weight management, chronic pain management, post traumatic stress disorder, etc. He had this advice to offer to those who wish to do this course – “The workings of the unconscious mind is a fascinating field to explore. A lot of self discovery can be made, and forward steps can be appreciated as one journey towards peace. The wisdoms acquired may be passed on to help others on their journey as well.”
Another doctor (Dr Gayathri Kumarasuriar Thirukumar) felt that apart from pharmacotherapy and the traditional psychotherapy, clinical hypnotherapy can also play a positive role in healing patients. She uses hypnotherapy mainly for patients who suffer from mild to moderate depression as well as those having self esteem issues. It worked and patients were able to get back on track with renewed confidence.
A clinical hypnotherapist with counselling background (Ms Jyothi Chelamcharla) stated that her interest has been in psychology and hypnosis since her childhood. She explored this field with the aim of helping out trauma victims and abused women as well as help people cope with stress. Her advice to those who wish to pursue clinical hypnosis is to have an open mind and strictly follow the ethics to ensure patient’s safety.
One interviewee (Ms Yi-Ching Ng) chanced upon the LCCH’s certificate course in the local newspaper and she stated that since clinical hypnosis is a relatively new discipline and less known in Malaysia, she was drawn to learn more about this “unusual discipline” as she puts it. After pursuing this course, she uses clinical hypnosis to treat phobias, bruxism, weight management, image enhancement, anxiety and relaxation. She said, “This course is very rewarding, not only for personal development, but the joy and satisfaction felt when a patient reports some positive changes, are immeasurable. I would advise potential students to be patient with the course. The techniques are presented in a very detailed and comprehensive way to ensure that students learn them well and apply them appropriately. In this way, standards in the practice of clinical hypnosis are upheld, ensuring a safe environment for the patient in therapy.”
As mentioned earlier, those who pursue the hypnotherapy courses come from various backgrounds and one such person is a personal development trainer and coach (Ms Thevi Sinnadurai) and she wanted to enhance her skill and decided to incorporate clinical hypnosis as part of her therapy work. She found it easy, effortless and the results were quick and more lasting. She uses clinical hypnosis in improving health, performance, to build confidence, enhance relationships, to break or change habits, smoking cessation, weight management, chronic and acute pain control, manage symptoms, addiction, anxiety, fears, phobias, self discovery, stress management, etc. Her advice to those interested in doing this course is as follows : “As the field of hypnotherapy is continuing to expand, it is important for students to have the opportunity to get appropriate training in this field. Once you realize the unlimited potential of hypnotherapy, you will easily want to experience and be aware of how you can help people improve their lives by enrolling in our courses and expand your capabilities beyond. Whether you are looking for hypnotherapy skill to help people bring change to their lives or change within yourself, you will want to get the right kind of training in the right place. At LCCH, the courses are well structured with good support system. Overall the course is easy to follow. Our training will ensure your clients leave your clinic safe and secure in the knowledge that you have facilitated to make a difference to them in their lives. Join a group of well respected professionals.”
Another interviewee (Dr Bernardine Gomez) who is a General Practitioner with an interest in palliative care mentioned that she has been intrigued by the untapped resources available to each individual within their unconscious mind and therefore decided to acquire the skills required to legitimately practice hypnosis. According to her with the knowledge acquired so far, “I am able to counsel patients and encourage a more holistic approach to disease processes most of which stem from daily stresses, both occupational and personal”. Her advice to potential candidates is to do some research pertaining to hypnosis and the subconscious mind and then decide on the purpose of embarking on these courses. Whether it is just a means to enhance their knowledge on this lesser trodden path because that itself is valid enough reason as we widen our scope to assist those who require assistance either physically or emotionally. She was also of the opinion that “as a professional in my field, we touch the lives of various individuals on a daily basis as they come and go from our consultations. Many besides their health issues, want to be reassured that there is hope in all that they do and they venture to do, in their strides and what lies beyond. And we as therapists must be sensitive to these unspoken needs”.
Example of a Case Study
Below is an example of a case study by one of our clinical hypnotherapists, Ms Thevi Sinnadurai:
“A patient came to me for managing her anxiety and panic attacks. She was having trouble functioning in her work and personal relationship with her partner. This condition had been troubling her for about three years. She had no idea what had triggered it. She had seen her doctor and was given medication to alleviate the symptoms. She was told by a family member that they had seen others experiencing these symptoms and had told her that she had to live with it. This further enhanced her fear, and the panic attacks got more frequent. This created a sense of hopelessness in her and a sense of no control.
During the first session I saw her, she expressed that she was going crazy and wanted to take control of the situation. I did not wish to exacerbate her anxiety by using methods of investigation in the first session. Her motivation to handle the situation made it easy for me to facilitate her into a hypnotic trance. The first session was just introducing her to self-induced relaxation.
During the second session, a trust was already established between my patient and me, so I decided to pursue the deeper causes of her anxiety. However, due to her anxiety level, as we approached the deeper issues, her panic would begin to show up. Therefore, I felt that the best way to proceed with this was to speak to the part of her that was responsible for the panic attacks. I hoped we would uncover a past event that had caused the anxiety, or was exacerbating it. This was called the parts therapy or dissociation therapy. It was important for me to deal with this as soon as possible before her anxiety experiences took over the session again.
Upon isolating the anxious part, and identifying its intention, it revealed that it had been there to warn and remind her of her overpowering father who would beat her up when she was naughty. Upon thanking the part for its positive intention and upon negotiation to now let it go and remain calm and relaxed, I reintegrated the part with good working, beneficial intentions. After this session the following two sessions were around building up her internal resources through ego strengthening. My patient’s anxiety was dramatically alleviated. Now she is confident about returning to work more focused and energetic. Her relationship with her partner has been better.”
Hypnotherapy is a new field that has wide potential which is waiting to be explored. Applied in the right manner and according to ethics, clinical hypnosis has many beneficial effects on patients/clients. It is a non invasive and drug free therapy to help people overcome their problems in life. It is not here to replace doctors but to complement them in their practice of medicine and to enhance the Academy of Family Physicians’ approach towards holistic medicine.
The mind controls everything and if you have control over your mind, everything else will fall into its place, otherwise everything will fall apart. That is exactly what clinical hypnosis does.
“Be master of mind rather than mastered by mind”
~ Zen proverb quotes