Through hypnosis, these changes happen easily, and at times, it may seem more like magic than a scientific tool. Unfortunately, hypnosis and hypnotists have been portrayed in a negative light by television, films, and other media sources. Consequently, many people have doubts and reservations about hypnosis and fail to understand the reality of the practice, its benefits, and its power to heal.
Numerous books have been written on hypnosis and its attributes, and much-accredited research has proven the safety and effectiveness of hypnosis. Yet, many still believe in the misconceptions of the study. When in hypnosis, a person is neither unconscious nor unaware of their surrounding environment. And, at no time, is the hypnotist able to control a person. In a session, no silly, unwanted behaviors occur and no dark information is revealed.
These myths and misconceptions, promoted by movies and television, never occur in a hypnosis session. A person of normal intelligence can be hypnotized, and it is only done voluntarily, meaning you can only be hypnotized if you choose to go into hypnosis and willingly follow your hypnotist’s instructions.
My role, as your hypnotist, is to be your guide. Following my instructions will guide you into a wonderful, relaxed state of focus and awareness. You will remain conscious, only very relaxed. You will be aware, able to hear, to talk, and to make decisions during your hypnosis session. You are able to remember everything that happens, such as the positive reinforcement given, ways in which you are able to relax your mind, etc.
If there should be a reason or perhaps, you are uncomfortable, you are able to emerge yourself at any time. In your hypnotic state, you can easily make positive changes because your self-conscious mind is more open to suggestions. By having your mind and body in a relaxed state, the subconscious part of your mind will be better able to accept positive suggestions, which in turn will help you overcome your targeted issue.
Remember those old and false ads?
In understanding hypnosis, and how it works, it’s important to learn about how your mind works. Your mind consists of two components: 1)the conscious mind and 2)the subconscious mind. First, let me explain how the conscious mind works. The conscious mind often referred to as the logical mind, has four primary functions. The conscious mind analyzes problems which occur, and it figures out how to solve those problems to the best of your ability. Thus, one function of the conscious mind is to perform analytical duties, such a balancing your checkbook, organizing your daily activities, and making choices.
The second function of the conscious mind is the rationale. This component creates reasons for your behavior; it explains why you do the things you do. In almost every situation, you can come up with a logical, rational reason for why you did something. This is known as rationalization. An excellent example of rationale is when a smoker says, “I smoke because it relaxes me and gives me time to pause and gather my thoughts”. While this is not a true reason why a smoker smokes, it sounds rational, logical, and the smoker can comfortably continue to smoke. Unfortunately, rational reasoning, despite being logical, is incorrect 99% of the time; this is because our true motivation for our behavior and responses stem from another, deeper part of the mind.
The third function of the conscious mind is your willpower. Willpower is your ability to control your behavior by stopping and thinking about your actions before doing them. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work very well for changing habits because it is tiring to consciously think before you act for an extended period of time. The moment you let up, the habit comes right back! All of us have tried using willpower to change the things we dislike about ourselves. Many of my clients have used willpower to change habits, such as excessive eating or smoking; but, they haven’t been successful. While willpower appears to be a powerful part of the conscious mind, it only takes us to a certain point in overcoming/correcting a problem.
Lastly, the fourth function of the conscious mind is what is called the working memory. Essentially, this is your short-term memory; the memory required to get through life on a daily basis. Our minds work in such a way that when a piece of information is no longer serving a useful purpose, it disappears. It leaves our thoughts as we seem to forget it. These four functions, the analytical, rationale, willpower, and working memory are vital components to our conscious minds; however, these are not the sole parts of our mind. This is where knowledge of the subconscious mind and how it works in relation to the conscious mind plays an important role.
Now, let’s discuss the subconscious mind. While the conscious mind deals with logical/rational thinking, the subconscious mind is more in tune with who we are, how we respond, and what we believe. While awake, our subconscious is not easily accessible; yet, it is recording each experience and responding to the experience automatically. In many ways, our subconscious may be compared to a hard drive, or operating system, of a computer. It is programmed by your life experiences, beginning in the womb during pregnancy, so that today you are a sum total of everything that has ever happened to you.
Just as a hard drive, your subconscious mind includes databases to all of the stored information from your life’s experiences. Likewise, it is through your subconscious that your beliefs, your likes and dislikes, and your opinions are born. We don’t have to stop and figure out what we believe in to respond to a particular situation. We simply know what we believe to be true, and we react accordingly.
The four components of the subconscious mind include habits, emotions, long-term memory, and self-preservation. Our habits are also a function of our subconscious mind. When we do the same thing in the same way, with enough repetition, the subconscious mind makes it a habit. A habit is an automatic response, or reminder to respond, to a certain situation in a specific way. For example, if you have a habit of brushing your teeth before you go to bed, then your subconscious mind creates the thought of brushing your teeth as you get ready for bed.
Many smokers will find themselves unconsciously picking up a cigarette when they get on the phone, or when they pull out of the driveway in their car. When we attempt to overcome a bad habit, our conscious mind uses willpower to initiate the change; however, as I have already explained, willpower simply initiates the desire to change and usually is unsuccessful at eliminating the problem. While our conscious minds find it difficult to change bad habits, our subconscious minds are able to change bad habits into good ones with ease through the help of hypnosis.
The second part of our subconscious is our emotional mind. We have feelings about everything in our lives, but most of the time these emotions, buried deep in our subconscious, are below our conscious awareness. Whenever we need an emotion or something triggers an emotion, the subconscious opens up and we feel that emotion consciously. As humans, we experience a full range of emotions. Through hypnosis, we can change our attitudes and beliefs; and thus, our emotional responses. It is possible to reduce guilt, anger, hatred, and resentment, opening us up to experience more emotions such as care, joy, and happiness.
Our subconscious also functions as our long-term memory, recording impressions of everything we have ever done, seen, heard, tasted, smelled, or imagined. Amazingly, our subconscious mind never forgets our experiences. Every impression is stored somewhere in your subconscious mind, and it is through hypnosis, that we recall or re-experience past experiences, even our birth experiences. As interesting as regressing to a past experience is, our subconscious memory is subjective. By this, we mean that the subconscious mind stores the memory of not only real experiences, but also thoughts, fantasies, day-dreams, and night dreams. Our subconscious mind is unable to tell the difference between reality, an event that is actually happening, and imagination, events that occur in our thoughts but not in real life. Thus, whether real or imaginary, each experience is saved in our long-term memory. Understandably so, we never assume a memory recalled in hypnosis is something that actually happened. While we may address a memory in hypnosis as real, we could never assume that it truly happened.
Lastly, the fourth aspect of our subconscious mind is our protective or self-preserving mind. Its job is to protect us against danger, both real and imagined. A perfect example is a person with a phobia of some nature. In such an instance, the subconscious mind is using the powerful emotion of fear to try to protect you from what it believes to be dangerous. Physiologists have proven something imagined in detail by your subconscious mind affects you just as powerfully as if it actually happened to you, and the inner mind cannot tell the difference!
Hypnosis can use the imagination to help you reprogram positive experiences in your subconscious mind, and ultimately, help you overcome a phobia/irrational fear. Hypnosis is simply about making a change in the subconscious mind. When a positive suggestion is allowed to go into your subconscious mind, it changes your beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors which you would like to improve.
Well, how does a suggestion enter your subconscious? How does hypnosis work to help you? To understand, there is one last element of the conscious mind to explain. It is called the critical factor, and it operates automatically when you are using your conscious mind. Acting as a critic or a judge of all suggestions presented to you, the critical factor protects the status quo of your beliefs in your subconscious mind. When you hear a suggestion, the critical factor checks with the subconscious mind to see if that suggestion is in agreement with your existing beliefs. If it is in agreement, then the suggestion is allowed to enter your subconscious, and that belief is strengthened. If it is not, the suggestion is rejected, and there is no change.
Through hypnosis, the critical factor of the conscious mind is bypassed in order to have the door to the internal subconscious opened. In other words, it is getting your thoughts, ideas, concepts, and feelings that you want into your subconscious computer. A hypnotist is like a human computer re-programmer. While you have a targeted specific glitch, such as a bad habit, in your programming, the hypnotist is able to guide you into a relaxed, yet aware state, and reprogram your subconscious with positive suggestions to correct the problem.
Automatically, you will respond differently, as your mental programming will be different. While hypnotized and working with your subconscious mind, your conscious mind is still able to hear and react to stimulants in your environment. You will hear, speak, and make decisions in the process of receiving positive suggestions. Actually, all of your five senses become sharper, keener, and more powerful. Your ability to decide what you will and will not do, or what you will or will not accept is much stronger. Also, when you are in a hypnotic state, the mental attitude you hold when you hear a suggestion determines whether or not it enters into your subconscious mind. For instance, a positive attitude and belief in the given suggestion aid the suggestion in being accepted into your subconscious mind; thus, creating an opportunity for change to begin and making your hypnosis session more effective.
For instance, a mental attitude you can hold onto when you hear a suggestion is “Wow! I like that suggestion, I know that that’s going to work beautifully for me!” Yes, and it will. This attitude means that you passionately want the suggestion. You trust it is being allowed into your subconscious mind, and because the suggestion is allowed to enter into your subconscious mind, the change happens. In contrast, a doubtful or negative response to given suggestions leads to the rejection of the suggestion. There will be no improvement, nor will you be able to achieve your intent.
For example, if you are uncomfortable or dislike a suggestion, your mind will reject it. There is not enough energy behind that suggestion for it to make much of an impression so it is rejected and there is no change. A doubtful mindset, such as “I like that suggestion; I sure hope it works”, is not effective either. When the mind thinks and hears the word, hope, it is directly linked to doubt, and doubt rejects the suggestion. For instance, if you hope hypnosis going to work, you truly don’t believe it works, and you are instructing your own mind to reject any positive suggestions given.
On the other hand, if you want the change and focus on the suggestion with a positive attitude, trusting that it will work, the suggestion will be accepted and positive change will happen! Trusting and believing in hypnosis is the first step to a successful new you!
Contrary to the general perception of hypnosis, a hypnotic state is a natural state of mind. You are going in and out of hypnosis all day long. Actually, it is surprising how many times your critical factor is being bypassed every day. For example, we’ve all heard of highway hypnosis, when you’re driving down the road and you don’t remember driving the last block or maybe the last several miles or perhaps you missed your turn. That’s because while you were daydreaming, your subconscious mind took over driving for your own protection. Another example, television is one of our greatest hypnotists.
While engaged in a show, we often zone out, and relax to such an extent, that sometimes we ignore things going on around us. Add to that, the fact that advertisers know everything hypnotists know about bypassing your critical factor. Advertisers use that knowledge to suggest to you or to hypnotize you into buying their products. In other situations, authority figures can bypass your critical factors. For example, people you admire, those who you believe know more than you do, you will tend to believe them more often.
All kinds of people bypass your critical factor. Anytime you are feeling a strong emotion such as love or fear, anger or grief, you are more vulnerable to suggestions. Things said to you, or things you say to yourself will bypass your critical factor, becoming part of your subconscious programming. You don’t have to be in any kind of relaxed state at all to accept suggestions. These types of behaviors are called waking hypnosis, and it happens every day.
Hypnosis is all around us. Sometimes we have behaviors or feelings that we want to change that need more than just positive suggestions to change them. Phobias, panic attacks, and excessive behaviors are good examples. We don’t develop phobias out of a habit, but rather because of some situation that frightened us badly in our past. Often, this situation occurred during early childhood. For example, many people have a fear of public speaking or many people are terrified of snakes, spiders, or heights. We learn these fears from early experiences; experiences that are often long forgotten. With hypnotherapy techniques, we can remove the fear by changing the response where it exists in your subconscious mind. Hypnosis is very effective in overcoming these kinds of problems.
Now that you understand how hypnosis works, I’d like to review a few points. First I cannot control you, make you do things you don’t want to do, or make you reveal secrets. You are always in control and have voluntarily asked to be hypnotized. When in hypnosis, you are willing to follow my instructions. When you choose this, nothing can prevent you from going into hypnosis, and achieve your goals. Please, keep in mind that you are not asleep or unconscious, but always aware and able to respond during hypnosis. Hypnosis can create powerful positive changes in your life when you hold a positive mental attitude toward a suggestion offered to your subconscious mind.
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.