Updated 09 March 2013

Any questions about hypnosis?

How does hypnosis work? And is it effective? Psychologist Dr Cecile Gericke answers common questions.


Psychologist and registered hypnotherapist Dr Cecile Gericke answers common questions on hypnosis.

Q: What is hypnotherapy?
A: Hypnotherapy is nothing more than the brainwaves moving from beta (the normal state) to alpha state. Beta state means the brain operates between 18 and 30 vibrations per second as measured on an EEG. Alpha state is approximately between 7 and 14 vibrations per second.

Q: Is deeper hypnosis better than shallow hypnosis?
A: The answer is no! In the delta state or the theta state it is almost impossible to work with people. One can, however, be taught to go into the delta state and go into self-hypnosis. The depth of hypnosis has very little to do with the effectiveness of hypnosis.

Q: Can the hypnotist make me do anything he wants me to?
A: The hypnotherapist cannot make you do anything that is against your values or for which you have not given subconscious permission.

Q: Are all hypnotherapists the same?
A: It is important to notice that there is a difference between a hypnotist and a hypnotherapist or hypnosis and clinical hypnosis. A hypnotherapist using clinical hypnosis is a psychologist, medical doctor or dentist, registered with the Health Professional Council and therefore has ethics, rules and regulations to obey.

Q: How easy is it to learn hypnosis?
A: It is very easy to teach someone to do self-hypnosis. However, non-medical or inexperience people who hypnotise people may not know what to do.

Q: How can I make sure that the person that I go to is competent?
A: Shop around, ask a professional to refer you and make sure that the person is registered with the Health Professional Council in a professional capacity.

Q: Can you cure me in one session?
A: In some cases yes, depending on how quickly the mindshift can take place. It is however not a magical process, but rather works like seed planting and growing with the necessary water and sun. It is very important what work should be done by the patient or client who wants to work with hypnosis.

Q: What is hypnosis good for?
A: Hypnosis is good for any problems like smoking, nail-biting, hair pulling, weight reduction (this is rather complicated) as well as emotional blocks - things that prevent you from reaching your full potential. It is also quite often used for spiritual growth and development.

Q: Can hypnosis be negative?
A: Yes, remember hypnosis is working with the subconscious mind and whatever you put in the subconscious mind, be it negative or positive, can manifest.

Q: How passive versus active is clinical hypnosis?
A: Clinical hypnosis is in many cases extremely active and interactive. For example, in regression the patient is asked to by back to a certain situation, process and answer and re-live it, and through the reliving it is not only bringing it to the awareness but it allows the person to integrate the knowledge. Remember, knowledge alone is not enough for healing. In many cases we also use ego state therapy.

- Dr Cecile Gericke,, (011) 787 3996 (before 15h00).

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