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How empathy and hypnotherapy go hand-in-hand

Empathy is the ability to understand how others feel and to be compassionate towards them. (Envato Elements pic)

Some people are great listeners who are non-judgemental and can help others feel valued. People almost always come away feeling better after talking to them.

Empathy is the ability to understand how others feel and to be compassionate towards them. Neuroscience research shows it occurs when two regions of the brain – the emotional and cognitive centres – work together. The first perceives or experiences emotion, while the second seeks to put meaning to it.

There is an empathy spectrum; some people have extremely low empathy, while others can feel overwhelmed by their emotional connection to others.

Science is divided on whether empaths really exist. Researchers have identified bundles of cells called mirror neurons that could reflect what others are feeling. Higher concentration of these cells in some people could support the existence of empaths.

The ability to identify strongly with others is both an advantage and a challenge. Many “empaths” go into the helping professions and become physicians, nurses, dentists, physical therapists, psychotherapists, social workers, teachers, or even clinical hypnotherapists.

Understanding empathy

Emotional engagement begins in the unconscious. People naturally respond to non-verbal cues, mirroring and matching facial expressions, responding to head nods, vocalisations, postures, movements, and the intonation of others.

Understanding one’s own feelings is crucial to developing emotional intelligence; the more connected you are to your emotions, the greater your ability to feel for others.

Many ’empaths’ go into the helping professions and become physicians, social workers, teachers or nurses. (Envato Elements pic)

Being able to take on the perspective of someone else – a cognitive function – is also part of empathy. This is a learnt skill that starts being developed in people from as young as the age of four.

The ability to regulate and modulate emotion is an important component, one that helps people empathise with someone else’s distress without losing themselves in the process.

Hypnotherapy and empathy

Studies show that empathy makes people better managers, healthcare workers, family members, and friends. But too much exposure to distress can be painful and could lead to emotional burnout.

Empaths or highly empathetic individuals in the helping professions can learn how to stop taking on the stress and symptoms of their patients and clients. They do this by scheduling breaks between clients to meditate, setting clear limits and boundaries, and taking adequate time outside of work to relax and rejuvenate.

For those who find themselves potentially overwhelmed by the feelings of others, clinical hypnotherapy and self-hypnosis offer an opportunity to let go of tensions and facilitate reconnection to one’s emotional senses.

It is an excellent method of self-care: just 20 minutes of regular practice helps reconnect you with your unconscious mind and provides deeper insights into your own emotions. This builds emotional resilience and provides a natural buffer between your own feelings and those of others, while releasing unwanted stress.

Hypnotherapy sessions don’t just help the client – practitioners, too, can gain new outlooks and insights by asking simple questions and listening to the answers; while leading someone into a state of hypnosis creates a safe and emotionally positive experience for both client and therapist.

Sheila Menon is the Principal of the London College of Clinical Hypnosis (LCCH) in Asia and Australia, and the CEO of the LSCCH Therapy Centre.

This post was featured on Free Malaysia today. Link here

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