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There are varying reports for the effectiveness of self hypnosis for self-esteem enhancement. Although many individuals report positive results, there is some skepticism over the working mechanism behind the techniques. Some experts believe that untrained individuals are incapable of effectively hypnotizing themselves and that the improved self-confidence is instead a result of self-fulfilling bias. Regardless of whether or not the mechanism behind self hypnosis itself is effective, using the techniques appears to have favorable results on self-esteem improvement. Individuals looking into the therapy should note, however, that any form of psychological treatment is highly dependent on the patient's receptiveness; not all techniques work for everyone.
Self hypnosis for self-esteem improvement works by implanting ego-boosting suggestions in an individual's subconscious. Patients put themselves into trances and repeat several suggestions to themselves, each suggestion addressing an area where they find themselves lacking in confidence. An individual who lacks confidence in his appearance, for example, might suggest to himself that he is attractive. Other suggestions can address more general aspects of self-esteem. The suggestions are repeated several times while the patient is under a self-induced trance in order to better embed the messages in the subconscious.
In addition to the verbal suggestions, some self hypnosis for self-esteem techniques involve visualizations of self-confidence. Individuals should try to project images of situations in which they feel extremely proud of themselves, such as winning an award or accomplishing a great feat. It often helps people to visualize events that had occurred in their past, as this allows for a fuller, more concrete experience of pride and confidence. When the suggestions and visualizations have been sufficiently repeated, patients are then tasked to bring themselves out of their trances. The therapy can be continued on a regular basis, as needed.
A number of experts doubt the validity of self hypnosis for treating self-esteem issues, however, as most individuals require extensive training to be able to hypnotize themselves. People attempting to conduct the treatment without formal training might not even know whether or not they've put themselves under a trance. This had led some researchers to believe that positive results achieved through self hypnosis for self-esteem treatment, especially among the public, are garnered through mechanisms outside of hypnosis.
Some individuals believe that the therapy works through subliminal messaging rather than self hypnosis. The key difference between the two mechanisms is that in subliminal messaging, the patient is not under a trance; the frequent repetition of suggestions during states of minimal cognitive processing allows suggestions to enter the subconscious. Others might have achieved their results through self-fulfilling bias — they've convinced themselves that the self hypnosis for self-esteem techniques work and behave in a manner consistent with their expectations.
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