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  • Writer's pictureLaura

We need to talk about... hypnosis

When working with clients, one of the most powerful tools I consistently use is hypnosis. However when chatting with others, it is very clear that there is still a lot of confusion as to what hypnosis and hypnotherapy actually is.

Hypnotherapy can help erase the mental blocks that hold you back, allowing you to tap into the part of the mind that controls 90% of your beliefs, attitudes, thoughts, and actions - your subconscious.

Your subconscious is like your autopilot, running things without you having to consciously think of every command.

For example, when you breathe, you don’t consciously direct every muscle that expands or contracts to pull in and push out the air. When you walk, you don’t consciously tell your muscles to pick up each foot and put it back down for every step. Your subconscious handles all of that for you.

In the same way, your subconscious also directs your habits and other actions based on information it has accumulated and stored throughout your life. It even causes conscious thoughts and physical sensations based on that same data.

Since your subconscious mind is your control centre, hypnosis can save you a lot of time by letting you speak directly to your subconscious. If there are things about you that you’d like to change, a faster way to go about it is to use hypnosis.

This blog will give you an understanding of the world of hypnosis: what it is, how it works, and how it can help you reduce pain, eliminate stress, overcome fears, break bad habits, and achieve your goals.

Before we talk about what hypnosis is however, let’s take a look at what it isn’t.

If you’re like most people, what you’ve gathered about hypnosis is actually based on myths, fantasy, and fiction. Part of the reason for these myths is the way hypnosis is portrayed in the media (“You’re getting sleeeeeeepy”) and by stage hypnotists (“Run around the stage flapping your wings and clucking like a chicken”).

The Misconceptions

Hypnosis is magic

False. Hypnosis doesn’t use any type of magic or spells. It works naturally with the way your body and your brain already operate.

Hypnosis puts you to sleep

False. When you’re hypnotized, you’re fully awake and conscious. Your brain is in a very relaxed state, but, rather than being asleep, you’re actually extremely focused.

People can hypnotize you against your will

False. The only way you can be hypnotized is if you want to be hypnotized and actively participate to make it happen by entering into a fully focused state.

Others can control you when they hypnotize you

False. This is a very common misconception about hypnosis. Although the effect of your limiting beliefs in your conscious mind is minimized, you’re still very much in control. No one can make you do anything that you’re morally or ethically opposed to.

For example, if a hypnotist tell you to rob a bank, you won’t do this if you believe that stealing is wrong. In fact, such a suggestion will bring you out of your hypnotic state.

What about the clucking chicken antics? In a hypnotic trance, some people will do such silly things because the learned inhibitions of their conscious mind relax enough to allow the creative forces of their subconscious to dominate. Normally, the only things that keep you from acting like that are your learned social conventions, such as, “You look stupid when you do stuff like that.”

This is a limiting belief that resides in your conscious mind.

Think of this: When you were a small child, you weren’t embarrassed to be creative like this. In fact, it was often encouraged. But as you got older, you learned that it’s not such a good idea for adults to behave that way simply because of what others might think.

So when you’re hypnotized, suggestions for doing things that simply make you look silly might work with you. On the other hand, if you’re diametrically opposed to it, such a suggestion might just bring you out of your trance instead.

What is Hypnosis?

Hypnosis is a mental state whereby you can easily absorb new ideas into your subconscious. Hypnotherapy is the actual therapy undertaken whilst in hypnosis.

In this state of mind, the limiting beliefs of your conscious mind are subdued, while the imagination and creativity of your subconscious mind are enhanced, allowing you to be highly accepting of new ideas.

In hypnosis, you tune out all distractions and focus sharply on the subject matter at hand. There are varying degrees of hypnosis. Becoming engrossed in a good book or movie is a type of natural hypnosis, where you tend to tune out everything and become mesmerized by the story.

Hypnosis works so well to tune out external stimuli that it’s now an accepted method of anesthesia in some types of surgeries, blocking out the pain. Hypnosis is, in effect, a guided meditation.

First, you’re guided into a state of deep relaxation, where you can then focus on what you want to accomplish.

How Does Hypnosis Work?

Innovations in science have been instrumental in helping us determine what happens in our brains during hypnosis. Your brain puts out different electrical signals for different mental states, whether it’s agitated, alert, in varying stages of relaxation, or asleep.

We’ve learned which areas of the brain control which functions, and we can also determine which parts of the brain are more active at any one time.

Extensive testing on people in a hypnotic state has shown us the following:

1. In hypnosis, a person puts out the brain wave frequencies of the most relaxed state before sleep.

2. In this state, the left cerebral cortex, which controls reasoning, deduction, logic, and learned inhibitions, shows very little activity.

3. On the other hand, the right cerebral cortex, which controls imagination and creativity, shows heightened activity and electrical impulses.

These tests corroborate with scientific methods that during hypnosis we can virtually bypass the limiting beliefs of our conscious mind to relay our desired ideas and behaviours directly to our subconscious. Once our subconscious accepts these new ideas, it can then direct our thoughts and actions to conform to the new data, attitudes, or beliefs.

History of Hypnosis

Hypnosis was “invented” in the late 1700s by Franz Anton Mesmer in his search for a new method to heal his patients of diseases. Although his methods were very different from what we now use today, he was the pioneer in the field of hypnotism. His methods were known as “mesmerism” from his last name, and became popular, so popular, in fact, that this is where we got the term mesmerize.

In 1843, James Braid, a surgeon, renamed this field of study hypnotism. The word comes from the name of the Greek god of sleep, Hypnos, because of the sleep-like qualities of hypnotism. His research provided a new impetus into the study of hypnotism for healing disease.

In the 1920s and 1930s there was another renewed flurry of research. Then, in the 1960s and 1970s a researcher named Milton Erickson brought the field into its own, providing many of the methods that are popular and effective today. Erickson brought hypnotism into the mainstream, showing us how we can use it to accelerate desired changes and promote our physical and mental well being.

Benefits of Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy can help break bad habits and develop good ones, eliminate mental blocks and encourage successful actions.

Some common issues that hypnotherapy can be used effectively are Anxiety & anxiety related issues, trauma recovery, IBS, phobias, pain reduction, elimination of negative habits, stress reduction and addiction.

Hypnotherapy is also a powerful tool to enable you to highlight and remove your mental blocks to success. Do you find that you’re always coming up just short of success in every endeavour? What’s stopping you from succeeding? It may very well be your own self-limiting beliefs sabotaging your ability to achieve your goals.

Are There Any Negatives to Hypnotherapy?

The biggest problem you may encounter with hypnosis is that you have to want the desired change to occur in order to enjoy permanent results. For example, do you really want to quit smoking? If you don’t, then even hypnotherapy won’t work to stop your addiction.

Remember, with hypnosis, you’re still awake and in control. No one can make you do anything you don’t want to do. There are times you may want to work on increasing your desire for the change you’re trying to effect before you use hypnosis to make the change.

In summary, hypnotherapy is an effective modality to strengthen your strengths, minimize your weaknesses, improve your health, change your behaviour, and help you be the best you can be. It can enable you to find self-fulfilment, peace, and happiness.

Embrace it, and live your life!

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