Frequently Asked Questions
What is hypnotherapy?
The term “hypnosis” comes from the Greek word hypnos, meaning “sleep.” Hypnotherapists use exercises that bring about deep relaxation to achieve a natural, yet altered state, also known as trance, in which the critical factor is relaxed but focused thinking is maintained and encouraged. A person in hypnosis is exceptionally relaxed, mentally, emotionally and physically, has a strong desire to fulfill suggested behaviors and is especially responsive to ideas, images and instruction, but this does not mean that a hypnotist can control the person’s mind and free will. On the contrary, the senses, while in hypnosis, are most often heightened, making them more aware of things around them than usual and they are completely in control of their own self-will and decisions about what to tell the therapist, etc. A hypnotherapist CANNOT control the mind or cause someone to divulge secrets about themselves they do not wish to. However, hypnosis can teach people how to master their own states of awareness. By doing so, they can affect their own bodily functions and psychological, as well as, emotional responses.
What is the history of hypnosis?
Throughout history, trance states have been used by shamans and ancient peoples in rituals and religious ceremonies. But hypnosis as we know it today was first associated with the work of an Austrian physician named Franz Anton Mesmer. In the 1700s, Mesmer believed that illnesses were caused by magnetic fluids in the body getting out of balance. He used magnets and other hypnotic techniques (the word “mesmerized” comes from his name) to treat people. But the medical community was not then convinced. Mesmer was accused of fraud, and his techniques were called unscientific. Hypnotherapy regained popularity in the mid-1900s due to Milton H. Erickson (1901 – 1980), a successful psychiatrist who used hypnosis in his practice. In 1958, the American Medical Association, followed 2 years later by the American Psychological Association, recognized hypnosis as a valid medical procedure and branch of psychology. Since 1995, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has recommended hypnotherapy as a treatment for chronic pain. Other conditions for which hypnotherapy is frequently used include anxiety and addiction, among others (see the “What illnesses or conditions respond well to hypnosis?” section below for more detail).
How Does Hypnosis Work?
By relaxing the critical factor, that chatterbox in our head, we are able to access the subconscious directly. The subconscious controls the body, Autonomic Nervous System, memory, emotions, beliefs, and imagination, among others, and helps to develop both character and personality. Since most of our beliefs about the world in general were formed between the ages of 7-11, most of us are operating on an “outdated system” that we created years ago but not always serves us well or appropriately now. We may often notice that our emotional reactions are not warranted in certain situations, but we are unaware consciously how to change them. That is because the belief, and the emotional response to it, lie in the subconscious. By accessing the subconscious through hypnotherapy, we can “upgrade” that outdated system to give us tools that better serve us at this point in time and replace unhealthy behaviors with new, healthier ones. During hypnosis, your body relaxes and your thoughts become more focused. Most of us are running around in a stressed out manner that causes the body to remain in a state of “fight or flight” on a daily basis! This state causes less blood to go the brain and gastrointestinal region resulting in gastrointestinal issues and less brain functionality. However, just by being in the state of hypnosis, it lowers blood pressure and heart rate, changes certain types of brain wave activity, and puts the body back into a balanced state of homeostasis. In this relaxed state, you will feel at ease physically, yet alert mentally and highly responsive, and come out of hypnosis feeling much more relaxed and balanced than when you first started.
How Do I Get Started?
During the free consultation, the hypnotherapist will talk to you about the issue that brought you in and then explain what hypnosis is, how it works and how it can specifically work for you. Should you wish to have a session, you will then fill out some forms, including medical and psychological history and a confidentiality agreement. You will then be directed through some induction techniques, including relaxation, to achieve a relaxed, hypnotic state where you can best access the power of your subconscious. Each session is tailored to the specific needs of the individual.
How Many Sessions Will I Need?
Each session lasts an average of 45-90 minutes, depending on the needs of the client. Most people see some positive results after the first session but most choose to have several more to reach optimal results. The average amount of sessions for a given issue is between 1-3, though some issues like weight loss and stop smoking need 6. So most clients achieve the results they desire between 1-6 sessions. You and your hypnotherapist will monitor and evaluate your progress over time. Children are easily hypnotized and may respond after only one or two visits. However, if the adult or child does not wish to be hypnotized, it will not work, as a hypnotherapist cannot force someone to do something they don’t wish to. So generally, the more willing the client is to “just go with it,” the faster and more effective the results are.
What Illnesses or Conditions Respond Well to Hypnosis?
Hypnosis is used in a variety of settings from emergency rooms to dental offices to outpatient clinics and offices. Clinical studies suggest that hypnosis may improve immune function, increase relaxation, decrease stress, and ease pain and feelings of anxiety. Hypnotherapy can reduce the fear and anxiety that some people feel before medical or dental procedures. For example, hypnosis may improve recovery time and reduce anxiety as well as pain following surgery. Clinical trials on burn patients suggest that hypnosis decreases pain (enough to replace pain medication) and speeds healing. Another clinical trial shows how patients who used hypnosis had faster recovery from a broken bone by that bone healing an average of 2 weeks faster than someone who didn’t use hypnosis. Still another showed that patients who needed a mastectomy and used hypnosis, needed less anesthesia during surgery, less medication after surgery, less side-effects from the surgery and recovered and left the hospital an average of a day and a half faster than patients who did not use hypnotherapy. Generally, clinical studies show that using hypnosis may reduce your need for medication, improve your mental and physical condition before an operation, and reduce the time it takes to recover. Dentists also use hypnotherapy to control gagging and bleeding, as well as pain. A hypnotherapist can teach self-regulation skills. For instance, someone with arthritis may learn to turn down pain like the volume on a radio. Hypnotherapy can also be used to help manage chronic illness. Self-hypnosis can enhance a sense of control, which is often lacking when someone has a chronic illness. Clinical studies on children in emergency treatment centers show that hypnotherapy reduces fear, anxiety, and discomfort. Other problems or conditions that may respond to clinical hypnotherapy include:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Tension Headaches/Migraines
- Alopecia Areata
- Fears, Phobias, or Trauma Recovery
- Labor and Delivery
- Skin Disorders [such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema (atopic dermatitis)]
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Cancer-Related Pain
- Body Shape/Weight Loss
- Eating Disorders
- Indigestion (dyspepsia)
- Sports Enhancement
- Guilty or Angry Feelings
- Low Self Esteem or Shyness
- Lack of Motivation
- Test Taking/Accelerated Learning/Memory Improvement
- Chronic Pain (already assessed by a physician)
- Accelerated Healing (already assessed by a physician)
- Relationship Issues
- Job Performance
- Unwanted Habits
- Smoking Cessation
- Sports/Skill Performance
- Self Confidence
Can Anyone be Hypnotized?
No, people with brain damage cannot and hypnosis works best with average to above average functioning individuals. It is not as successful and not recommended with people who have serious mental disease. If you are willing to be hypnotized, then you are a great candidate. If you are not a naturally responsive subject you can improve your receptivity to hypnosis with practice. Each time you are hypnotized and practice self-hypnosis, you can become more and more responsive and susceptible to it.
Is Hypnosis Really Medically Approved?
Yes! The American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Psychiatric Association
have both approved hypnotherapy for use by professionally responsible individuals, the
AMA first in 1958 and then again in 1987, followed 2 years later in 1960 by the American
Psychological Association who endorsed hypnosis as a branch of psychology. The British
Medical Association also adopted hypnosis as a viable therapeutic tool in 1958, at which
time, the BMA also advised all physicians and medical students to receive fundamental
training in hypnosis. More recently, the National Institute of Health (NIH) also endorsed
“The evidence supporting the effectiveness of hypnosis in alleviating chronic pain associated
with cancer seems strong. In addition, the panel was presented with other data suggesting
the effectiveness of hypnosis in other chronic pain conditions, which include irritable bowel
syndrome, oral mucositis [pain and swelling of the mucus membrane], temporomandibular
disorders [jaw pain], and tension headaches.” (NIH, 1995)
Is it Dangerous?
No, the induction of hypnosis and hypnosis itself are not dangerous to the subject. But it should be mentioned that personal disappointments may arise because of unrealistic expectations or preconceived misinformation.
Can a Person in Hypnosis be Controlled?
Impossible! It only appears that way in stage hypnosis, where the hypnotist asks for
volunteers (many of whom have been drinking and who are already willing as they are
volunteering themselves) or picks likely people to come on stage and participate. However,
stage hypnosis is no different than any other hypnosis in that it is still absolutely impossible
to make someone do something that is against their will, values or beliefs. So, even their
participants must be willing to participate.
Professional hypnosis is quite different. A hypnotherapist is there to help you with your
issues and needs your cooperation with the process. If the hypnotherapist were to give
you suggestions that you didn’t agree with or were morally against your beliefs, you
would express that to the hypnotherapist or refuse them outright. You do not black out
when hypnotized and you are not sleeping or else you would not be able to respond to the
Can a Person be Stuck in Hypnosis?
Never! There is absolutely no danger to you in a state of hypnosis.
Are Hypnotherapists Licensed?
The answer is that currently most states, including California, do not require licensure by hypnotherapists. So even though hypnosis is very safe, to achieve the most effective results, the client should use discretion when choosing a hypnotherapist, as anyone, with very minimal training or even none at all, can claim to be a hypnotherapist. It is advisable to check the hypnotherapist’s education, both before and after they became a hypnotherapist (where they went to school, was it accredited, online or live training, how long the program is, its
reputation, experience in the mental health profession, etc.) as well as their certification
(who they are certified with, what are the qualifications of being certified with that agency,
etc.). Many schools and certifying boards are not only not accredited but often have no
qualifications or continuing education necessary to be certified by them.
So please look into the background of any hypnotherapist to get the best results for you.
Doing this will ensure that you are getting a quality hypnotherapist and then it’s up to you to
chose based on different needs and preferences.
Is Hypnotherapy Covered By Insurance?
Yes, hypnotherapy is covered by some insurance plans. If you are unsure whether your insurance plan covers hypnotherapy, please check with your provider directly.
Normally I'd prefer to have in person visit but due to distance we have been meeting on the phone or zoom. Christina brings an energy that makes you feel like... read more
I've had a few sessions with Christina on a variety of topics and it works amazingly! Christina is very professional, and friendly. I find her style of hypnosis extremely effective.... read more
I worked with Christina for my phobia of public speaking. In the past, I have at least once in my life fainted, blacked out, threw up, and cried uncontrollably when... read more
My boyfriend was having a hard time passing his paramedic national registry test. We had tried every study guide, tool, had a meeting with a therapist to go over study... read more
Christina is the best! She has helped me with my fear of heights,fear of flying and many other issues. After working with her my anxiety and panic response has decreased... read more
Christina has helped me make important changes in my life. I am shocked by my progress and excited about the future.
I have struggled with various obsessions over the years. Nothing... read more
Christina has been wonderful and a great help in overcoming many of my issues. I went there initially for help with stress related excessive eating. She helped me get that... read more
I am 53 years old and have struggled with OCD in the form of obsessive fearful thinking for over 32 years. I have seen therapists off and on for... read more
I was going through a stressful period in my life and had considered hypnotherapy as a way to rewire my negative thought patterns. Christina made the process easy to understand... read more
I have had several sessions with Christina via Skype and they have been life changing and extremely beneficial in overcoming blocks, negative patterns of belief, and helping me to overwrite... read more
It's been 5 weeks since my first session with Christina and I can honestly say it was one of the best decisions I've ever made. She helped me overcome my... read more
Christina helped me overcome my fear of flying. I flew to NYC from SD for the first time in 8 years to attend my grandmas funeral. I'll be very forever... read more
I recommend 100% and have raved to my friends and family about my success - I struggled with sleep problems throughout my whole life, and even knew that I would... read more
Christina literally cured my son of night terrors in one session. ONE SESSION! I am eternally grateful for her knowledge and expertise.
I truly can't say enough to describe the incredible impact Christina has made on my life. The amount I have been able to realize and grow from, even after just... read more
If you are determined to improve your mental wellbeing or change a habit, but can't seem to make it happen by yourself, I highly recommend Hypnosis by Christina Higgins. With... read more
I obtained Christina's services to overcome test anxiety. I had to pass a test to finish a certification, and my anxiety kept tripping myself up. I bought a 3-visit package... read more
Christina really knows her stuff, by tapping into the subconscious. She explains how it works, asking questions to better diagnose the situation. Then puts you under hypnosis, trance. I've gotten... read more
Conquered my needle phobia!!
The only thing holding me back from pursuing nursing as a career was my needle phobia. I would reliably pass out (vasovagal syncope reflex!) when around a... read more
After seeing a half dozen medical doctor over the course of ten months, we were at a loss for what was causing my son's cough because there were no signs... read more
Christina Higgins is a very knowledgeable and experienced hypnotherapist. I met with her for three sessions from December 2015 to February 2016. As a professional musician, I am always interested... read more
What I like about Christina is that she gets results. $150 is a lot to spend for something to "maybe" work- but with her.. in my experience, her hypnosis definitely... read more
Christine presented a very thorough explanation of the hypnotherapy process, putting me at ease to move forward. After our 1st session I recognized a notable change in how I felt.... read more
I was beyond amazed. In one session I was able to achieve my goals and get the help i truly needed. It would have taken thousands of dollars and much... read more
My first session with Christina was incredible. She conducted a detailed evaluation as part of her consultation (which, btw, was FREE). The consultation included Christina thoroughly describing how the subconscious... read more
I have been to hypnotherapist before but none like Christina. Since day one I felt welcome and an atmosphere of professionalism. I had a number of issues and all resolved... read more
Christina works wonders! I have been a nail biter my whole life and she had me breaking the habit after a single session. Very nice, very skilled and incredibly knowledgable... read more
GET A FREE GIFT
When you join our newsletter!