Hypnosis is a series of natural and normal psychological processes used in a systematic sequence to create a relaxed mental state with greater receptivity to influence and change.
That is a great definition if you are lecturing students, but really does it give you comfort? Does it reduce any fear if you have fear surrounding hypnosis? Maybe or maybe not, for me it was some more jargon that did not really say how I was going to feel better. And, it likely does not remove any blocks as to why you could need hypnosis? Or, how I can add this to my own healing, my own personal story of removing blocks that keep me from moving forward? If I was to tell you why I wanted hypnosis in my practice or why I wanted hypnosis in my daily life, maybe that will help you understand what hypnosis is and what it can do for you.
First, hypnosis can be one of the most powerful methods of creating change for a person. However, each person responds differently to hypnosis some can experience a deep state of hypnosis on their first try. They have some great immediate results in helping with their own mental health journey, or removing a block that is keeping them stuck in business. They stop smoking after one session is a great example. Others, may need multiple sessions to feel relaxed enough to work with their hypnotherapist, to have the full effects of hypnosis. Anyone can be hypnotized, if they are willing, sometimes that willingness comes from time and trust, but it can work for them.
There are many theories of exactly what hypnosis is, however so far there is no clear cut agreed explanation. BUT the ‘experience’ of hypnosis and the scientific validity of the results gained while using hypnosis do have a definable quality. It works and has worked for hundreds of years, doing a quick search on how Hypnosis has helped can show you what it can do for you.
What does hypnosis feel like?
Hypnosis is a deep concentrated state of physical and mental relaxation. When working with people who have trauma visiting that trauma is tough hypnosis allows you to visit tough memories and heal them. One of my clients states “its like watching a movie of my life, I can stop the scene, I can even redirect a new scene if I need, I can see anything and feel perfectly safe after.”
If you are someone who has a practice of meditation in their daily routine, you already have some sense of the feelings around hypnosis. The relaxed physical and mental state of hypnosis can cause either a dulled awareness where you feel like you are in a room where sound is absorbed and you can only hear what is being said, no other distraction is felt or even matters if it comes into play. There are times when you have a super focused awareness. You can see events clearly and answers you seek are presented in a way that your subconscious can integrate them immediately. The conscious mind finds it too much effort to think or notice too much, so it lets go and allows your subconscious mind to fully focuses what is being said during the hypnotic session.
I also added hypnosis because it is something we do already and we do it naturally. So if we already do it maybe we were designed to do it better. Some examples include:
- Reading, turning the page and forgetting what you have just read
- Driving and arriving somewhere having forgotten the trip
- Talking out loud when concentrating
In psychology they also refer to this as disassociation, which means, “the disconnection or separation of something from something else or the state of being disconnected.” In all the cases listed above we are disconnected from our conscious mind and are working from our subconscious. When it comes to healing we can disconnect from the pain and focus on the healing. However, we are still fully present.
When using hypnosis we have an increase in the suggestibility, this results in an individual’s ability to create change. When using hypnosis the sub conscious mind (the part that handles the automatic behaviors, think of breathing or heart rate) is less influenced by your own possible negative and conscious self talk and tends (over time) to accept the suggestions. I was at a seminar and the speaker talked about how or subconscious does not understand good or bad, it just accepts what it is being told as true.
So, if you feel you can do anything but use other words in your thoughts such as “Can’t” or “Failure” can you guess what words your subconscious remembers? There are those that do not understand having a great job, a great title all the while thinking deep down they are worthless. But, those that do understand this know it holds them back; and maybe one day it creates a pattern where your life falls apart.
The subconscious is running based on our thoughts, feelings, beliefs and attitudes, based on our automatic and often unconscious thinking. Do you remember when you were a child and someone said something negative to you? Has that thought has sat with you all these years? That’s your subconscious running a program off of negativity. The mind will only run the programs that you have installed.
Hypnosis helps you adopt when it is right for you different beliefs, attitudes or behaviors. It allows you to see the truth that you are not stupid, you are not alone, you are not ugly, or any other myriad of issues. It works only if you truly want it to, only if you are willing to accept what is being said and if you have found the root cause to your belief (this may take time). There is no need to fear what will happen in hypnosis considering all the negative beliefs that have already been installed into your subconscious over the course of your life without you even realizing it. The best thing for me about hypnosis is that it is drug free, and I can do it myself over time.
Most of the experiments surrounding hypnosis to date have revolved around how hypnosis impacts the mind or trying to figure out how it works. “These types of questions or research continue to bring little or no value to the field” (Reyher, 1962). The reason why they do little for hypnosis or for us because admitting something works without knowing why is not scientific or accepted. I like to say “the final frontier is not space, the final frontier which we may never fully understand is our mind.”
Hypnosis is a vehicle for people to tap into their mind and see the potential power it holds. The cases can speak for themselves and only you can decide weather or not the evidence supports your investigation or acceptance that hypnosis is a tool you should be using in your life. Having personally learned so many different modalities in healing and continuing to grow them I know how much benefit hypnosis has brought me. Hypnosis may be the last healing modality you use or it may be the corner stone to your own journey of self-love and acceptance. No matter what it is still something you can benefit from.
As for science, it is without a doubt that further investigation in this field is required. The measurements to fully understand what the benefits of hypnosis is, what it can accomplish, and its ability to assist patients to heal both physically (the physical healing of pain and illness is a future writing this month) and mentally may not even exist in this time period. It seems that the current scientific method continues to raise more questions than answers. The imaging technology MRI, PET, CAT can only able to see the surface mind. Seeing the sub-conscious and the power it holds and what we can actually do in our day-to-day lives is still a mystery. At least in my opinion! But why would you hold yourself back from trying?
Keep chasing those cars.
With Love, respect and Admiration