What Is Hypnosis (Hypnotherapy)?
Hypnosis (or Hypnotherapy) is a mental state in which your perception and awareness change. Simply put, hypnosis is meditation with a purpose. A hypnotic trance is an altered state created through relaxation, with fixed attention and suggestion.
Two Parts of The Human Mind: The Conscious and The Subconscious
Do not get me wrong – talk therapy is great and has helped millions of people around the world for decades now. But talk therapy has limitations.
I have witnessed this with some people with whom I have worked. They tell me that even after years of talk therapy to address specific issues, results have been limited.
One person told me: “I talked quite a bit about my issues in counseling, yet they remained unresolved. I assumed that there was something wrong with me.” His lackluster results from therapy had nothing to do with him, but a LOT to do with the therapy approach used.
Let me tell you a little bit about the human mind…
The conscious mind is the part of the mind that allows you to be aware of where you are and what you are doing in a waking state. It allows you to think analytically and logically, in other words, to use your intellect.
The subconscious mind regulates all the physical functions that your body requires, like your breathing and heart rate. Furthermore, the subconscious mind is the seat of our emotions, memories, belief systems, and habits. It is the part of the mind that is unable to tell the difference between right and wrong and not capable of reasoning like the conscious mind does. What keeps your body and brain alive when you sleep at night? Your subconscious mind does!
The connection between the conscious mind and subconscious mind has been described using an iceberg analogy. The part of the iceberg that is visible above the surface of the water (the conscious mind) is small when compared to the huge part underneath the water (the subconscious mind). In fact, science has suggested that at least 75% of our daily activities are regulated by the subconscious mind.
The Power of the Subconscious Mind
As you can see, the subconscious mind can be quite powerful, with way more tasks and responsibilities than the conscious mind. Considering this, we can see that the root causes of a variety of physical and emotional problems are lodged within the subconscious mind.
For example, unexpressed and unprocessed memories stored in the subconscious mind (stored there from an earlier time) may function as negative, limiting beliefs which may, in turn, lead to chronic anxiety, depression, addiction, low self-esteem, and a host of other issues.
Negative emotions may also accumulate in the subconscious mind to the point where its storage is taxed. Thus, these emotions may start to manifest in the physical body, like chronic pain, joint inflammation, auto-immune diseases, and others. This is when the mind starts to affect the body (ever heard of the mind-body connection?) Yes: This is the power of the subconscious mind!
Frequently Asked Questions about Hypnosis
What If I Can’t Be Hypnotized?
At least 85% of people can be hypnotized – to some extent. If you are able to relax and follow some simple instructions, you can be hypnotized. During my hypnosis training, I also learned that all hypnosis is self-hypnosis. If you are willing to be hypnotized, then you can be.
Will I Become Trapped in a Hypnotic Trance?
Absolutely not! Everyone comes out of a hypnotic trance. A hypnotic trance is a completely natural state that a lot of us experience in everyday life. For example, have you ever gotten completely engrossed in a movie or listening to some music that you didn’t realize how much time had gone by?
Can I Be Forced to Do Silly, Embarrassing Things While in a Hypnotic Trance?
Absolutely not! You are always in control of your behavior while being hypnotized. While in a hypnotic trance, you will not do something that ultimately you are not willing to do or something that goes against your values. So, no, I cannot make you do a backflip or stand on one hand during hypnosis.
Is Hypnosis Like Being Asleep?
Hypnosis is not like being asleep and does not put you to sleep. It promotes an altered state of perception and deep relaxation. If, by chance, you fall asleep during hypnosis, it does not help you more than a nap would.
Will I Remember What Happened?
Not everybody does, but most people do. Most people are completely aware of what is happening during hypnosis. After you come out of a hypnotic trance, you will likely remember the session vividly in a detailed fashion.
Why Bother with Hypnosis, or Hypnotherapy?
One adult victim of bullying in childhood put it this way:
“After years of being bullied by my thoughts every minute/second, I have realized that I’m not my thoughts; that most of my thoughts generate from the subconscious mind which is a program on auto-repeat with ideas picked up from my childhood. So, it is actually not me bullying myself: What a liberation!”
Hypnosis is a way of doing therapy that directly accesses the subconscious mind so as to “program” or “reprogram” it to make the changes we want, like replacing negative thoughts, beliefs, or habits with positive, healthy ones.
Hypnosis does not have to replace talk therapy. It can greatly enhance it.