Are Hypnosis and EMDR Similar?

Hypnosis and EMDR are both therapeutic techniques used to treat patients with a variety of psychological issues. However, despite the similarities between these two treatment methods, there are also some stark differences. In this post, we will discuss those similarities as well as how hypnosis differs from EMDR therapy.

Hypnosis and EMDR are based on the processing of certain negative events in the unconscious. In this article, we will discuss in detail the similarities and differences between EMDR and hypnosis.

Looking at the origin of EMDR, it can be said that EMDR is affected by hypnosis and hypnotherapy. Experts who previously worked with hypnosis and hypnotherapy also started with EMDR and added the information from there to EMDR and made this method more comprehensive. Therefore, there are certain links between hypnosis and EMDR and also differences.

Is hypnosis safe?

Hypnosis is a great way to explore your subconscious mind—and a safe and beneficial means for self-exploration.

Hypnosis Is an Intermediary Method.

The rationale of hypnosis is that it makes the person suggestible. It provides this with special methods that will enable him to enter a trance. Thus, the person becomes more inclined to suggestion and whatever effect the specialist wants to make towards a certain goal, he/she will do so while in trance.

EMDR Is a Therapy Approach In Itself.

Initially, it emerged as a technique for solving traumas, but later on, it has become a general therapy approach by expanding its application areas.

The EMDR method has a theory of its own. There is a certain point of view on psychopathology, special methods, principles, maneuvers, techniques related to different types of problems.

In EMDR, the existing goals are considered in the longer term and the development and growth of the person as a whole are taken as the main goal.

In hypnosis, the mind is aimed to be in a relaxed state. This is called a trance state. When entering the trance state, it is seen that the person is open to change with certain effects.

In EMDR, it is such a relaxed mood and trance state are not intended. Sessions are conducted with active dialogue. The person is allowed to experience certain emotions depending on the subject.

In hypnosis, it is aimed that the person is in a passive position, open to suggestion. According to the expert’s direction, the change process is carried out.

In EMDR, the consciousness of the person is open and the person is in dialogue with the therapist. He/she can tell things that aren’t in his head, and some of the mind is in the present and some of it is in the past. Studies have shown that working by dividing the attention in two in this way also has certain specific benefits. Therefore, working with attention is an important aspect of EMDR. It is also an important part in terms of giving a chance to progress faster.

In hypnosis, while in a deep trance, it is aimed that the consciousness is completely in the focus at that moment. So when a certain event in the past is being processed, the mind is completely there. In EMDR, on the other hand, since one side of the mind is here, deepening is achieved gradually. What is aimed here is to prevent that the intensity of emotion in some events and situations that can harm a person because they are very intense and this can be a risky situation.

If the specialist is not able to manage the emotional fluctuation well in hypnosis, there is a risk of the person being re-traumatized and damaged by hypnosis.

Therefore, EMDR aims to make that deepening gradually and safely by dividing the attention while approaching such events.

Usually, a pendulum is used in hypnosis, the person looking at the pendulum goes into a trance. Eye movements are also used in EMDR, eyes move left and right while using bilateral stimulation. This brings some thoughts such as “Am I hypnotized at that moment?”

However, it should be noted that between these two applications, the two have nothing to do. In hypnosis, there are certain methods called induction that allow entering that trance state. Following the swinging pendulum with eyes is just one of these methods.

But in the EMDR method, we do not use bilateral stimulation to enter such a state of trance. Its mechanism of action is much different. Therefore, eye movements have nothing to do with a hypnotic induction.

The purpose of the pendulum in hypnosis is to deliver an unusual stimulus that will bypass conscious processes and quickly access unconscious processes.

In EMDR, the purpose of this bilateral stimulation is to provide the right and left lobes of the brain with the balance between emotion and logic and intervene it by dividing attention. We use the double-sided stimulation method in order to provide this balance between emotion and logic.

Therefore, the double-sided warning is not intended to enter an instant trance.

Important: Unconscious thinking is faster than conscious thinking. Therefore, we are trying to activate the natural repair mechanism of the mind with the EMDR method.

Which Is More Effective: Hypnosis or EMDR?

It may not be very accurate to make such a comparison because regardless of the method, the important points are that the specialist should be competent, should be able to manage the therapy relationship well, understand the client correctly, and the client must trust, believe and be open to the process.

Both methods have certain advantages.

Since EMDR has a more suitable infrastructure for scientific research, various researches have been done and it is a method we know to be effective. We know it is useful and effective in many different types of problems such as traumatic problems, post-traumatic stress disorder.

The fact that EMDR has a structured system that has certain advantages in terms of being able to process problems in a focused way and leave them behind systematically without too much dispersion.

Of course, hypnotherapy also has certain advantages. In particular, it can give the suppressed, unconscious materials and certain emotions a chance to progress quickly and deeply. But of course, let me remind you here: If the person you work with is not a good specialist, there may be certain risks in this process, such as being traumatized again. Therefore, hypnotherapy and EMDR methods together with a good specialist will be useful in processing unconscious processes.

Since both methods have certain advantages, we see that some experts have recently been doing certain studies by integrating EMDR and hypnosis. I trained both in hypnotherapy and more heavily in EMDR. I prefer EMDR because it is more structured and I have received more training and experience. I feel more comfortable in this area and the fact that we act in a more controlled manner in terms of influence has made me prefer this method more.

Since both methods have certain advantages, we see that some experts have recently been doing certain studies by integrating EMDR and hypnosis.

Last Updated on December 3, 2021 by Lucas Berg


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