Autonomic Nervous System refers to the portion of the peripheral nervous system which functions mostly non-consciously and regulates the mechanism known as the “fight-or-flight response.” The system regulates various internal organs and involves control over heart rate, respiration, pupil dilation, elimination, digestion and sexual arousal.
Autonomic Regulation Training is an intervention that combines the use of peripheral biofeedback with autonomic proxies (sweat gland activity, peripheral skin temperature, respiration rate and heart rate variability), clinical hypnosis, self-hypnosis and self-monitoring of behavioral goals in order to integrate self-regulation skills into one’s daily life for the purpose of therapeutic change.
Biofeedback refers to the use of any device (mechanical, chemical or electronic) to measure and reflect back (or feed back) physiological (biological) information for the purpose of changing the process that produces that information. A mirror is an example of a simple biofeedback device. When we look at it we change our facial expression reflexively. We can use it to practice forming a facial expression, but to do so we need to find the inner state that underlies that expression. Similarly, we can monitor and change our sweat gland activity, heart rate and breathing, which are proxies for our autonomic nervous system.
Clinical Hypnosis is a set of communication skills that a clinician uses to help a client use his or her own experiential resources for the purpose of therapeutic change. These changes could include altering a maladaptive set of behaviors, thought patterns and psychophysiological reflexes. It can be used to reduce symptoms such as changing anxiety responses, pain, inflammation or problems with sleep. It can also be used to maximize performance and gain insight.
Health refers to the homeostatic balance of internally and externally derived forces, involving social, environmental and innate factors.
Hypnosis is a skill set that utilizes innate biological abilities for changing cognition, emotion, perception, neural networks, and physiology.
Mind refers to the integrated, emergent properties of the complex human system that becomes more malleable or plastic through trance and that can be manipulated by various skillsets, activities and experiences.
Psychophysiological Self-Regulation refers to one’s innate ability to alter physiological processes by using psychological processes. While this occurs naturally in all of us – when we take deep breaths to calm down, when we concentrate on a sensation and change it – it does not necessarily occur intentionally or consciously and is commonly not practiced. Strategies such as hypnosis, biofeedback, meditation, yoga and others offer opportunities to build skills and refine our abilities to change our physiology. Clinical hypnosis and biofeedback in particular are good fits into conventional healthcare.
Resilience refers to the process of constructive coping and adaptation skills in the face of a challenge, trauma or stress. This ability to adjust to changes and challenges in life can be built intentionally through various cognitive behavioral strategies.
Self Hypnosis is a set of skills used by a person to direct his or her own psychophysiological plasticity. This can be done with a variety of cognitive behavioral techniques and is often enacted non-consciously. Self-hypnosis can be used to create change in both maladaptive and adaptive directions.
Trance refers to the process of developing plasticity within the human (and possibly nonhuman) system. Novelty plays the biological role of stimulating an orienting response that, in turn, potentiates systemic plasticity and forms the basis for trance. Hypnosis is merely a skill set that perpetuates and influences trance.
Wellness is more than the absence of disease, but rather a dynamic system of change and growth with physical, emotional, intellectual, social, spiritual, and environmental domains that cumulate into a process of optimal health.