Having been a Christian for many years, I too was wary of anything 'New Agey", against the Bible or 'spiritual' in a non-Christian way, so why did I become a hypnotherapist?
Well, as long as I can remember, I was interested in helping people. This led me to obtaining a degree in psychology. The scientific study of human behaviour. But psychology doesn't answer a lot of questions about human behaviour as the human brain is incredibly complex. Different schools of thought influence treatment and therapy and therefore outcomes. There didn't seem to be enough definitive answers on how to help people lead better lives. Too many approaches, too many influences, too many (from what I could determine) ineffective talking therapies. So I decided not to qualify as a psychologist.
I pursued a different career path but the desire to help people was still there. I studied the bible and read lots of books on how Christianity helps. Attended different churches, watched programs, joined prayer groups. And, whilst I can't deny some healing did take place, I've seen many people 'backslide' and 'lose' their healing or they just didn't seem to be able to overcome issues in their life.
It was like they couldn't escape the influence of childhood traumas and unhelpful thought patterns. They wanted to change and felt different during services but the results weren't lasting. This failure was seen by some believers as 'the devil's work'. Insinuating that somehow there was an inherent sin or lack of self control causing it. I knew some of these people well, they were good and had strong faith. They weren't evil so something else was impeding their progress.
Searching for answers, I came across a hypnotherapy course and decided to attend. The concept of hypnosis wasn't new to me, it had been included in my psychology studies. It had been pooh-poohed by certain more influential schools of thought e.g. Freud's psychoanalysis. But I was intrigued and signed up.
Hypnosis has a long and interesting history, however, it was pushed aside in the 1900's for a number of reasons. It was deemed old fashioned, unscientific, inexplicable, unreliable, results differed from practitioner to practitioner and chemicals were found to induce anaesthesia and alter moods.
Fast forward to the new millennium and hypnosis is now being seen in a new light. As more and more studies on the brain, body and behaviour are conducted with ever more advanced technologies and instruments, scientists are rediscovering the way it works.
We all have a part of our brain system running on autopilot. These systems control heart rate, tissue repair, waste elimination, fight or flight, danger awareness amongst many other functions. We don't think about them, they just happen in response to stimuli and feedback. Using neural pathways.
Hypnotherapy uses the focussed relaxation state of our awareness to allow access to the sub-conscious area of our thought processes. The main function of subconscious processing is to keep the person safe. Like the startle response to loud or unexpected sound.
By accessing the subconscious, the conscious can be made aware of why certain thoughts and behaviours recur. Whilst most are to keep us safe, some are overzealous and unnecessary. Most are rooted in early learning phases of development. Or traumas in later life. The sub-conscious can be encouraged to let these subsystems go as they are no longer needed.
These adjustments are usually life changing. Take self-esteem for example. Babies are only born with two fears: loud noises and falling. The rest are learned. Overly strict parenting can result in low self-esteem. The person can't remember why they are shy, reticent to experience new things, are cautious, timid or passive. But they are aware that they feel insecure or scared. Problems arise in relationships and at work. Either due to lost opportunities or overcompensation. Some people put on an aggressive front to hide behind.
Hypnotherapy merely helps to connect the persons conscious mind to their sub-conscious thought processes. Hypnosis is essentially self-hypnosis. As these connections are made, the sub-conscious can let go of unwanted behaviours in safe and natural ways. There is nothing spiritual or mystical about this.
I searched the teachings of Jesus over and over to see if there were any reasons not to use hypnosis. I didn't find any. Jesus was all for healing and overcoming. I feel 100% comfortable using it in my practice. I have been cured of phobias and migraines that have plagued me most of my life so I know it works. I have witnessed miraculous changes in others lives and states of health. Far more effective than counselling, hypnotherapy is a gift.
*Christians may have concerns over so-called 'spiritual hypnosis' where clients are regressed to 'former lives' etc.
I personally do not believe they access real past lives they think they have lived, but are accessing random memories from books, movies, tv programs, their imagination etc. There is never any information remembered that isn't already available now. Nobody has come back with new insights on e.g how the pyramids were actually built despite thinking they were an Egyptian slave, or unknown historical information etc.
Confusing hypnotherapy with some kind of spiritual witchcraft is like confusing astronomy with astrology. One is scientifically identifiable with evidence to back it up, one isn't.
**hypnotherapy works with people who allow themselves to be hypnotised. They cannot be forced to do anything against their inner ethical belief system. Even stage hypnotists look for more easily suggestible people to participate in shows. The volunteers are aware of what is happening around them and only accept suggestions to do things they are comfortable with even if it is clucking like a chicken.