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Guided Meditation vs Self Hypnosis

What is Hypnosis?

The problem with the word ‘hypnosis’ is that it’s often used to point to both the way in which the process is induced and its results and methods.

To make matters complicated there’s the fact that all hypnosis is ultimately self-hypnosis. This is because it is the individual who is making hypnosis happen, whether a hypnotist is actually guiding the process or not.

Let’s start by explaining what a typical hypnotherapy session consists of. Here follows the main stages of a session:

The 4 Stages of a Hypnotherapy Session

1.

INDUCTION

 

The Induction is the way hypnosis is created. These can vary greatly. Some hypnotherapists think of the induction as the very beginning of a session when a client is induced into a very light hypnotic state followed by the deepening.

2.

DEEPENING


 The deepening is often seen as the time when a deeper state of hypnosis is reached. 


Other hypnotherapists think of the induction as the part of the session during which a medium state of hypnosis is facilitated in the client and the deepening is either seen as simply part of it or as an optional element that allows the client to enter a deeper state of hypnotic ‘trance’.


I don’t think it is particularly important which way we interpret it, as both understandings produce the same effect. 

3.

VARIOUS TECHNIQUES TO ACHIEVE PRE-DECIDED GOALS


After the induction / deepening phase comes the interesting part. This is when various techniques are used to achieve the goals that are pre-determined by the client.


The general public may assume that suggestions are all that is used in this part of the session but this would be a gross oversimplification. 


There are a plethora of techniques skilled hypnotherapists use to create change in clients which are more or less interactive.


Hypnotherapy is less a science and more of an art, because each client is different and a good therapist will use specific techniques for specific clients at specific times even if the general procedure might be very similar for similar ailments.


This is to ensure the therapy is well timed and fits the client’s specific personality and needs.

4.

AWAKENING

 

After this part is over the client is guided back to ‘normal conscious awareness’ and helped to transition smoothly to everyday external reality.


This structure is always used in any type of hypnosis although the length of each phase may differ.e that suggestions are all that is used in this part of the session but this would be a gross oversimplification. 

The next most useful way I can categorise hypnosis is to divide it into ‘guided’ and ‘unguided’ . Let us look at ‘guided’ hypnosis first. 

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Meditation Techniques for Beginners

How many meditation techniques are there?

What is most commonly referred as meditation is unguided meditation, which is what I will explore in this article. 

However, there’s a plethora of books and audios out there that offer ‘guided meditations’ or ‘guided visualisations’. Most of these actually fall into the category of informal​ self hypnosis sessions created by non hypnotists. 

Although those authors would never call such material hypnosis, they are for all intents and purposes just that. The only reasons they are often termed "meditations" is because that term is more widely accepted by the general public and has less negative connotations than hypnosis. 

The difference between 'guided meditations' and proper self hypnosis is that most of the time the induction is shortened to a few minutes of deep breaths and only a few suggestions are included to induce relaxation. The actual content of the visualisation is usually a multi sensory journey that may or may not follow important rules that only good hypnotherapists know. 

If you are serious about working on yourself I would recommend you stay away from these type of ‘meditations’ as they are neither written by professional hypnotherapists nor by experienced meditators. 
What I would call a proper guided meditation is simply a meditation that is guided by either a teacher in person or pre recorded on an audio recording or even an app.

These meditations instruct you on how to practice in a similar way a guided self hypnosis recordings would, except the content of the meditation greatly differs from a hypnotic audio. Now let’s now have a look at the different types of  unguided meditation techniques that exist. 

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