Within your subconscious mind resides your memories, imagination, emotions, your automatic bodily responses, habits, and your deeply held beliefs about yourself and the world around you. It is these conditioned beliefs that drive your decisions and your behaviours, and in turn shape your life. It is these subconscious patterns that must be changed, if you want to make lasting, positive changes in your life. During hypnosis you are directly communicating to this part of the mind.
Hypnosis is a natural and relaxed state of the human mind referred to as trance. This very relaxing “trance-like” state of consciousness is a state that we all experience numerous times throughout a day; for example when you are daydreaming, or the mental focusing you require to study in a noisy room, or driving a car on a long trip, or when absorbed in a good book or movie, or when you are drifting into sleep or waking from sleep.
Hypnosis is quite simply the deliberate use of imagination, paralleled with intensified focus and relaxation. When you go into a hypnotic state, you get deeply involved with your inner reality, and we create this involvement and concentration by focusing attention to specific details or ideas by using visualisation and imagination, whilst attention to everything else is suspended temporarily. So it’s not just about imagination; it’s also about harnessing your attention and focusing on one or a few things at a time. Here the body and conscious mind become relaxed, whilst the subconscious mind remains awake with increased receptiveness to suggestions. So simply speaking hypnotherapy is therapy under hypnosis.
During hypnosis as the mind relaxes it lowers its guard by reducing the normal interference from the critical judgemental conscious mind, and so the hypnotherapist is then able to directly communicate with the subconscious mind. The reason for hypnotic suggestions being so much more successful than suggestions being made in the normal waking state, is that the subconscious mind has no ‘critical faculty’ and will accept benevolent suggestions made by the hypnotherapist and control the body accordingly. For example, it is effective to tell a client in a trance state that she will find it very easy to stick to her diet, and most clients are amazed at how easy they can do so without any inclination to digress. If the client is told in the waking state that dieting is easy, she will counter with the thought “no it’s not, I will get hungry”, here the conscious mind is using its ‘critical faculty’ and so the suggestion will be rejected.
Hypnosis is a consent state, with the hypnotised person always maintaining ultimate control; the person who consents to enter the state of hypnosis is giving the therapist their permission to induce (facilitate) the state. It is true to say the following: “There is no way to hypnotise someone who doesn’t want to be hypnotised”, and the other side of the coin also holds true; “There is no way not to hypnotise someone who wants to be hypnotised.”
Hypnotherapy is absolutely safe, there is no known case on record of harmful results from therapeutic use, in fact it is a very relaxing and pleasant experience. It is disappointing that the myths and misconceptions about hypnosis have continued for so long as modern hypnosis has been beneficially used for around the last two hundred years, and is rapidly growing as a significant tool in effecting positive change. Since it is our subconscious mind that controls our habits, hypnosis is very effective in modifying habits and undesired repeated behaviours.