There are a lot of different opinions about hypnosis and how it works. I’ve even heard people say they “don’t believe” in hypnosis or they think hypnosis is somehow evil or forbidden by God. That really is a shame. Because hypnosis is really just working together with your mind to be more successful and happy in life. If God made your brain then I’m sure he or she wants you to use it to the best of your ability. Especially, if that means self control, a clear moral code and making the world a better place. Moreover, there is a good bit of evidence that the deep Unconscious in all of us actually taps into the Mind of God, or Universal Consciousness….where the best decisions are made. So how can that be bad?
With 20+ years of experience and certifications from four different schools of hypnosis and hypnotherapy, including NLP, personal coaching, and counseling, as well as psychology and neurosciences, I think I can be considered something of an expert. I’d like to dispel some of the myths and explain how hypnosis really works. After-all, its NOT me, the hypnotherapist, getting control of your mind. (Believe me, I have trouble controlling my OWN mind, just like everyone else!!) The hypnotherapist is just the guide and interpreter. What its really about is YOU getting control of YOU. Or more precisely, its about YOU working together with your subconscious and unconscious minds. Forming a real TEAM (I call it Team YOU) with the parts of yourself. By clearing up communication and misunderstandings with the other-than-conscious parts of Team You, life gets easier, more fun, and more successful. If you go through life white-knuckling the ball instead of passing to your team mates, life can get more and more stressful and you feel more and more out of control. But by meeting and working with your Team, passing that ball and letting your team help you solve problems, life is good! And its getting better and better every day!!
Hypnosis is a bit mysterious to most people (even some hypnotherapists!) but I find that folks get their best results when they understand the process a bit and can work with me.
For all that the results of hypnotherapy feel pretty magical, it is NOT magic, it is actually applied psychology. And the amazing effects are not due to ME controlling your mind, but due to the amazing power of YOUR own subconscious and unconscious mind. So let me start there.
We have three minds but only one brain.
1) Conscious Mind – this is the part we all call “Me”. And when you’re focused or paying attention that is conscious you. Conscious you is the captain of Team You. As such conscious you does the big heavy duty decision making, managing emotions, learning cultural norms and understanding values and differences.
2) Subconscious Mind – this is like your personal assistant or your best friend who always has your back and helps you out with routine tasks, practiced patterns and behaviors, multitasking and other details so that conscious YOU can relax and enjoy life more. Your subconscious can be trained and re-trained to be more efficient and more helpful using hypnosis.
Best Example: Of subconscious you working for conscious you is driving a car. When we first learned to drive it was very taxing and confusing because we had to do 10-12 different tasks at once and stay alert tom many signs and signals. It was so much at once we all felt like the hair on the back of our necks was standing up, our eyes were wide open and if someone tried to talk too much we just wanted to yell, “Shut up! I’m driving here!” Then about 1-2 years later we found we were getting in the car, still doing 10-12 things at once, but now we were bored….so we turn on the radio…we drink a coffee or coke…talk to a passenger….god forbid we use the cell phone!
But if you stop to think for a moment, you could sit there right where you are, listen to some music, enjoy a drink, and talk on the phone….and you’d be BUSY! Sitting still in your chair! So…..someone else is driving your car now. And that someone else is Your Subconscious!
Now, the nice thing is your subconscious drives much better than you do, because your Subconscious can multitask much better. It can handle many more tasks at once than conscious YOU. But your Subconscious doesn’t do the value judgments and real-time decision making. So, if something requires that kind of decision, Subconscious passes the whole ball game back to Conscious YOU.
That’s what happens even today if a car suddenly pulls out in front of you unexpected. Suddenly, the hair stands up on the back of your neck, your eyes go wide, you throw your coffee in the air and yell, “Shut up! I’m driving here!” …..all over again you have that feeling you had back in high school when you were first learning to drive. The noise from the radio is just too much and you want silence.
As it turns out, that’s the way it always feels when you drive using your conscious mind. When you drive with your Subconscious you feel like you’re “in the zone” relaxed, easy going, enjoying life.
3) Unconscious Mind – This is the part that’s well below the radar. By definition, we are UNCONSCIOUS of most of its activities. The Unconscious controls the beating of your heart, the rythmic action of breathing, healing and renewing every cell, system, and organ of your body. Clearly, conscious YOU can interact with the Unconscious, by say, holding your breath. But mostly your unconscious is like a benevolent Big Brother or Sister who takes care of the basics of living for you.
The unconscious is also keeps all the memories. Things you think you didn’t learn in school, past lives, details you think you’ve forgotten, its all there in the Unconscious memory stores. And Unconscious memory is vast and unlimited.
By contrast, conscious memory is very limited. Conscious memory is like a little table by the door. You come home each day and you put your keys and your mail there, maybe some pocket change. That’s what its for, conscious memory is for holding those thoughts and ideas that are most useful and relevant to NOW. But…if you go 50-60 years without ever cleaning and sorting those things, some items are going to fall off the table and be “lost” or “forgotten”. This is why folks think they lose their memory as they grow older. Or have a “senior moment”. But nothing is ever really lost or forgotten, it simply drops into the Unconscious memory stores. So, conscious memory improves when we sort it out and choose to “forget” somethings. The best technique is to forget all bad experiences and negative thoughts and beliefs. By choosing to forget the negative we make more and more room for the positive.
So, when we first begin the hypnosis, I’m going to start by helping you to dump some memories and problems from your conscious mind by turning them over to the subconscious to sort. Your subconscious will also find and create solutions for you that it will simply hand to you at a moment you least expect. The solutions will be simpler than you ever thought possible and ready made and available at a moment’s notice, like the name of an old friend that suddenly pops into your head unexpectedly.
Before we get to that, though, I’ll ask you a series of random sounding questions. There is no right or wrong to these questions. This is just my way of listening to the language of your Subconscious and Unconscious. Each person’s mind is wired a bit differently, and each person’s Other-Than-Conscious mind speaks a slightly different language. These are like the language of dreams. My job as guide and interpreter is to translate your instructions, goals, and needs into the language YOUR Subconscious understands best. So just say whatever comes to mind when I ask the questions, it all helps me understand YOUR subconscious language.
The LAST thing I’ll mention is the hypnotic trance itself. Turns out the hypnotic trance is a normal natural state that we all go into and out of throughout our day. The most common time we enter a hypnotic trance is on the verge of deep sleep. So if you’ve ever fallen asleep on the sofa when there are other people around, and you get to that point where your eyes are closed, you’re very relaxed, BUT you can still hear every word in the room around you? Maybe someone talks to you or asks a question. You can hear them perfectly, you may even have an answer ready….but you just feel like you can’t quite break out of that comfortable state to respond.
THAT is a hypnotic trance. Sometimes it may feel as if you’re floating or sinking deeply into the furniture. Sometimes there’s a tingling sensation. So that is how the hypnosis is going to feel today. You may hear every word I say. At times you may completely lose track of my words. It doesn’t really matter if you stop listening, because once you reach that trance state your Subconscious and Unconscious are listening too, and that’s really who I’m talking with. So its find to drift off, to lose track of my words, or to stop paying attention entirely. You may even drift into a dream-like state or dip into deep sleep. The only thing I ask you to avoid is TRYING. Funny as it may sound, TRY is a conscious activity, and Conscious you needs to get out of the way for the hypnosis to work best. Its kind of like when you wake up in the middle of the night and you want to go back to sleep…if you TRY really hard to sleep…why, you’ll be up all night. But if you close your eyes and take a few deep breaths and let your mind wander to some pleasant thoughts…you simply drift away. This is how its done in hypnosis as well. So, if you have the urge to TRY or WORK at it, just take a few deep breaths instead and listen to your breathing…or your heart beating.