When I graduated from high school I went into nursing and am currently registered with both CRPNBC and CRNBC. I worked for many years at Riverview Hospital, primarily as Head Nurse, before transferring to Community Mental Health. I had always had an interest in hypnosis and the power of suggestion. Eventually, I was able to take extensive formal training as a Master Hypnotist and Hypnotherapist at the Alandel School of Hypnosis, a B.C. registered post-secondary educational Institution. This training complemented my mental health education and background. I was accepted into the Canadian Society of Clinical Hypnotists (B.C. Division) based, primarily, on my educational and experiential background. Normally this membership is restricted to clinicians at the masters or doctoral level, usually in the field of medicine, psychology or dentistry.

I have always been impressed by the ability of people to deal with problems and adversity by applying their minds in focussed intent. This is evident both in the hospital and the community mental health setting. It is also abundantly evident in our day to day lives in our responses to the many stressors, both physical and emotional that we cope. Unfortunately, sometimes this ability can be misdirected and we end up reinforcing responses and behaviours that are not in our best interests, or that are no longer useful to us.

I would like to share, with you, some information on this fascinating subject.

Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to be in a trance or to be hypnotised? In fact, almost everyone has at some time or other been in a trance state. Some people are quite adept at slipping in and out of a self induced trance. Whenever we focus our attention on something specific we automatically push back or dim our awareness of other things around us. For example, when we are driving, watching an exciting movie, listening to a favourite piece of music, reading a particularly interesting book or enjoying really good conversation with a friend we often find we have blocked out other sights, sounds or input. During this period of highly focussed attention we are in a state that produces brain waves similar to a formally induced hypnotic trance. This is a highly self-empowering state.

There is only one kind of hypnosis. That is self-hypnosis. All hypnosis is self induced, although assistance from an outside source may facilitate the experience and help the individual to ?streamline? the process of entry into the trance state. This induction may include rituals, music or incantations as well as a variety of techniques trained hypnotists might use to help you go into hypnosis more quickly and easily. Hypnotic trance states have been used in virtually all cultures throughout the world for centuries for spiritual and religious reasons as well as for healing purposes.

In the eighteenth century, an Austrian doctor, Franz Anton Mesmer, as a result of his great success in treating people without medicine or surgery, became quite famous in the French Court, receiving the support of Marie Antoinette. Unfortunately, perhaps due to the theatrics and melodrama Mesmer and his followers associated with the treatments they gave, they were investigated by a Commission of the French government. In spite of the remarkable benefits his treatments seemed to have on his patients his methods and practices were discredited. Although this was the end of Mesmer?s career his techniques were continued by others. In France two major schools were developed for the study and practise of hypnosis and a more professional and scientific approach evolved over time.

Medical associations in Great Britain, Europe, US.A and Canada, among others, have also approved its use for both physical and psychological conditions. It is now known that it is not the trance itself that is therapeutic but the information or input that is provided while in this state. This is the difference between hypnosis and hypnotherapy. This is, also a very good reason to be sure your hypnotherapist is well trained and skilled in giving appropriate and beneficial suggestions while you are in this very receptive state. If you are highly suggestible you can also learn how to direct this ability so that it will work only for your benefit.

Currently, hypnosis is used to treat a wide variety of conditions. It is also used by well people to enhance functioning in selected areas such as sports performance, learning and creativity. Due to the profound sense of calmness, peace and well-being that the hypnotic trance can provide it is very helpful to alleviate tension and anxiety as well as phobias. It is also useful in reducing the effects of stress and anxiety on physical conditions, such as asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines and high blood pressure. It can be used in dentistry, obstetrics, pre and post operatively to enhance stability, pain management and healing. One of the earliest uses of hypnosis was to provide relief from pain. It is effective for children as well as individuals with medical conditions that limit the use of chemical analgesia/anaesthesia. Hypnosis can be used alone or in conjunction with potentially lower doses of medication.

On a more personal note, a number of years ago, my then elderly mother sustained a severe fracture of both the radius and the ulna at the wrist and was taken to hospital with her hand ?dangling? at an awkward angle. There was concern about her ability to tolerate a general anaesthesia due to her medical conditions and she had the bones set under self hypnosis. She was in such a calm, peaceful and focussed state that the medical and nursing staff kept asking if she was all right as they were wondering if she had passed out from pain. She said she could feel the bones being manipulated into place but did not feel any real pain. She had been using self-hypnosis for insomnia and realised she could use it in this context for pain as well.

What a wonderful thing! Even more wonderful is that virtually everyone has this ability. Many people regularly meditate, many more pray, sing with heartfelt joy, skate, dance, run or walk through the woods in a pleasant reverie; all enjoying altered states of consciousness or types of trance.

In my practise I am constantly humbled by the strength of this basic human ability and I look forward to sharing with you again in the future.

I can be contacted at 250 242-5399 or at karenkristianson@gmail.com