What is Self-Hypnosis?
Self-Hypnosis is the term used for putting oneself into trance and giving oneself hypnotic suggestions. An individual engaging in self-hypnosis is both directing the trance, and experiencing the effects of trance simultaneously. This is different from traditional hypnosis, also known as hetero-hypnosis, which involves one person directing the hypnotic experience for another person.
Self-hypnosis might be fully self-directed, in the moment, similar to many forms of meditation. Alternatively, some people use self-hypnosis recordings to guide them through trance. Though there are advantages and disadvantages to each approach, the choice to use one form or another often comes down to personal preferences.
I often like to incorporate self-hypnosis training into therapy sessions that involve clinical hypnosis, if that is something that clients are open to. Learning self-hypnosis is a very empowering process. It helps you to get deeply connected with your mind and body, and it can help you to develop a level of control over bodily processes that were long considered to be automatic. Using self-hypnosis at home can help speed up the process of treatment, as will be able to spend time at home reinforcing hypnotic suggestions that are helpful to you. The training that you receive can also be easily adapted to help you address other areas of your life.
Is Self-Hypnosis Really Just Meditation?
This is a common question, and it is a somewhat difficult question to definitively answer. One could convincingly argue that self-hypnosis is a form of meditative practice, but it could also be argued that Trance is the underlying principal of meditation. So in a way, you could consider them different, overlapping aspects of the same thing.
With all of that said, there are some distinguishing aspects of self-hypnosis and meditation that might aid in understanding. Often with meditation, the goal is to achieve and maintain a meditative state. For instance, you might do a breathing meditation, in which you focus on and count your breaths. When other thoughts enter your awareness, you work to return your awareness to your breath in the present moment.
With Self-Hypnosis you aim to create a state of deep and focused trance, and then you use self-suggestions, visualizations, and metaphors to achieve a certain end (e.g. improved sleep, alleviation of pain, increased motivation, etc.). So you might say that self-hypnosis involves achieving a “meditative state” to enable you to be more consciously and unconsciously receptive to self-suggestions. With self-hypnosis achieving that state is a means to an end, beyond the recognizable benefits of being in that state.