Understanding Hypnosis: How It Works – What Hypnosis Does To Your Mind
Hypnosis is a completely natural and common state of awareness, one we slip in and out of many, many times throughout the day. Every time we get in the car, put on our clothes, wash the dishes, read a book, play a game, or listen to music, we are in a state of hypnosis. We simply do not notice these “trance” states because they are so habitual. “Formal” hypnosis is simply a state of intentionally directed inner awareness that allows us to tune out external stimuli (and interference from our conscious mind) so that we may focus more intently on the activity or task at hand.
In order to understand how hypnosis works to make desired changes in our lives, it is helpful to have a basic awareness of the structure of the human mind.
Your mind basically has to modes of operation: the conscious and the unconscious.
The conscious mind has four primary functions:
- Analytical: The conscious mind handles logical problems, analyzing the variables, forming a plan of action and carrying out that plan.
- Short-term working memory: The conscious mind also provides a small “holding tank” for our very recent experiences.
- Rationale: Humans need to find reasons for our behavior; why we what we do. This too is a function of conscious awareness. The rationale we provide, however, is very often questionable or even incorrect, leading to both internal and external misunderstanding and turmoil.
- Willpower: Willpower is a great thing to be sure, but as we all know, relying solely on conscious resolve to accomplish difficult tasks can have undependable, even frustrating results.
Also within our conscious mind resides one previously unmentioned function known as the “critical faculty.” This “critical faculty” decides what is and is not congruent (consistent) with our personal belief systems and on that basis, either rejects or accepts input. Unfortunately, because it is inextricably entwined with the ego and the rational function, the critical factor is not always terribly good at its job and sometimes excludes good data while it allows in bad.
All these conscious processes take up a surprisingly small portion of our mental power – only a little more than 10%, in fact. The other 90% is utilized by the unconscious portion of the mind, which takes care of our autonomic physical processes, habit formation, emotions, long-term memory, and self-preservation.
- Autonomic: this includes all of our bodily processes, from hair growth to digestion to cell repair, defending against foreign bodies, running our circulatory system etc. etc, etc. . .
- Habits: Repetition creates a habit or pattern, which becomes an automatic response; a reminder to respond to a certain situation in a certain way. In practical terms, our habits are our lives, and most habits are extremely helpful – skillful driving, brushing one’s teeth, walking the dog, getting up in the morning, getting dressed… However, other habits are not helpful at all: smoking, overeating, laziness, habitual behavior… Once these detrimental habits become ingrained, it is necessary to change them on the same unconscious level where they were formed. This is why hypnosis is considered to be the first line of defense against so many negative habitual behaviors.
- While conscious working memory is very short-term (experience is very quickly digested and transferred to the long-term memory bin), long-term memory itself is stored in the unconscious part of the mind. It is here that we keep a permanent and comprehensive record of everything that happens to us throughout our lives*. These collected experiences and our perceptions of them cumulatively define our executive and emotional programming and dictate our responses to ongoing events.
- And since our emotional makeups and responses are also stored in and deployed from the unconscious, desired changes must be addressed on that level as well. Like habits, some emotional response patterns are beneficial and some are detrimental. The thing is, habits and emotional responses can be highly interlinked. For example, a smoker’s first response to a stressful situation can often be to light cigarette. This is an example of a “bad pattern match” (as is smoking itself). In addition, many counter-productive emotional responses such as negative or self-limiting thinking can themselves become bad habits. These negative linked responses can also be dramatically altered through hypnosis.
- Perhaps the most important function of the unconscious is that of self-protection. The unconscious mind contains deep, deep wisdom and its primary goal is to keep us from harm. However, just as a well-intentioned mother can sometimes become overprotective, the unconscious may develop certain programming errors in its efforts to safeguard us. Again, because these errors are formed on an unconscious level, they must be corrected there as well.
In short, the unconscious mind runs our bodies, protects us and gets us through life without our having to stop and work out exactly how to do every single thing we do over and over again on a minute-to-minute basis. It is like our personal hard drive, in charge of running the many thousands of physical, emotional and executive programs and habits we collect, beginning in the womb and extending throughout our lives.
But because the conscious mind can easily get sidetracked as it carries out its duties, and also because the unconscious portion of our awareness sometimes has a tendency to over-protect us and even misidentify potential threats, our response patterns can become corrupted, resulting in errors in our internal “programming.” This is very common – unavoidable, in fact. We are human, after all.
Unfortunately, in the real world, these pattern mismatches may result in compulsive behaviors, phobias (unreasoning aversion to ordinary events, people or things), inappropriate or extreme emotions, inappropriate behavior patterns or obsessions, inter-personal conflicts, overeating, smoking, habitual psychosomatic and psychogenic pain responses, etc…
And this is where hypnotherapy can be of real help. The reason that hypnosis acts so powerfully is that it allows us to to bypass the conscious mind’s critical factor and communicate directly with the unconscious where the real action takes place. The professional hypnotist is trained to induce hypnosis in the client through a gentle process of progressive relaxation and then carefully guide her through the process of rewriting any internal programs that may be causing difficulty. Hypnotherapy sessions are gentle, relaxing and 100% natural. After a session, you will feel not only rested, but also energized as if you have just awakened from a long and peaceful nap.
Please note that the success of the hypnotic process is dependent on the motivation of the client, and again, no hypnotist can make you do anything you would not otherwise choose to do. The hypnotist CAN help you to utilize the power of your mind to make very real changes in your life, but in order to accomplish that, you must genuinely want to make those changes.
Remember those old and false ads?
Hypnosis gives you, the client the power to be exactly who you would most like to be, to improve your relationships, to fully maximize your potential and to be happy, both at work and at play. You can use it with your spouse or your significant other – or you can use it for yourself, and why not… because when you stop and think about it, this is it… this is your time to live – and you deserve to see your dreams fulfilled. So what are you waiting for – give me a call and let’s get started. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish with a little imagination.
Thank you for taking the time to learn more about how hypnosis works. If you have any further questions concerning hypnosis and what it can be used for, or would like to schedule a personal session, please feel free to call me, Robert Dean at 561-600-5110 or visit me at my website at www.SolutionsHypnosis.net.