Many people assume that the more deeply a person is hypnotized, the more likely it is that s/he will derive therapeutic benefit from the hypnotherapy session. However, this is not the case. In fact, for most (but not all) problems an individual seeks to address through undergoing hypnotherapy, only a light hypnotic state is necessary.
Below I list the six levels of hypnosis a person can potentially experience (I say potentially as not all people are equally responsive to the process of hypnotic induction) and then go on to explain how each of these levels affect the hypnotized individual together with which problems are best dealt with according to the specific level of hypnosis into which the individual has been induced :
Six Levels Of Hypnosis :
1) light catalepsy
2) moderate catalepsy
3) deep catalepsy
(Catalepsy is characterized by a trance like state, lowered activity of the conscious brain and reduced registering of the external environment by the senses).
4) analgesia / no stress
(Analgesia is the loss of the sensation of pain)
5) light anaesthesia
6) deep anaesthesia
Now let’s look at which levels are best suited to the treatment of which conditions :
Levels 1-3 (Alpha brain wave activity) :
An individual at these levels of hypnosis responds best to hypnotherapy for, for example:
– the elimination of habits (such as nail biting)
– sexual dysfunction
(this is far from an exhaustive list).
Another benefit of being hypnotized at these first three levels is that they encourage the production of serotonin in the brain (a lack of which is associated with clinical depression).
Levels 4-5 (Delta brain wave activity) :
These two levels of hypnosis may be utilized so that an individual may undergo dentistry work without the need of anaesthetic. They may also be induced in the patient to facilitate minor surgery.
Finally, these levels of hypnosis may be used to help a patient relive traumatic experiences (a technique for treating PTSD) whilst feeling safe and secure. Obviously, this requires a relevantly qualified and experienced hypnotherapist.
Level 6 (Theta brain wave activity) :
This deepest level is sometimes used to facilitate psychosomatic healing.
To reiterate, then, for most problems levels 1-3 (see above) are the most appropriate levels of hypnosis into which the individual should be induced.
David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).