What is Hypnosis?
The International Society of Hypnosis some years ago produced what it quaintly called a definition of hypnosis that extended to two sides of close printing on an A4 page. There is clearly no consensus about what it is and its use in therapy is as eclectic as its practitioners.
It is an altered state of awareness, any altered state of awareness. It is something that we all do all the time and I’m doing as I tap these keys.
How Hypnotherapy Plugs Directly to The Sub Conscious
Hypnosis is an altered state of awareness that we all employ most of our lives and hypnotherapy is the use of positive non-directional suggestions to the subconscious mind while the conscious mind is distracted.
We are all good at saying to ourselves “what if it goes wrong?” and
The Altered State Of Awareness
There are some good examples of everyday altered states of awareness.
Reading a book, for example. There you see dark marks on paper (or kindle or whatever) and your mind translates them into a moving, speaking, coloured image that the words represent. You are seeing the marks but your mind isn’t. It’s constructing a whole living world from that. A positive hallucination (making the imaginary world) after a negative hallucination (ignoring the black marks)
If you watch television you will concentrate on the central picture and your mind will hallucinate away those things around the screen, a negative hallucination every bit as good as not seeing that thing that you can’t find that is just under your nose.
Driving and cycling when these have become automatic are altered states of awareness as you blank out what your
Watch some musicians in performance and you will see their “performing trance” I can think of many who can talk without any sort of obvious facial disturbances (for want of a better term) who when in performance twitch and contort their faces. It beats me how pianists can perform a forty minute solo piece without music. They are in a very deep trance, accessing their memories of hours of practice and their faces will show it.
Engage Your Conscious Mind Positively
The hypnotherapist should produce a calm state of relaxation with positive calm things to engage your conscious mind and then make suggestions that are positive. I used the phrase “The you you want to be”. Clearly trying to suggest to a cigarette smoker that cigarettes tasted bad was unlikely to be effective as it would most likely go against their experience. In that circumstance visualising “the you you want to be, healthy,
It is no good trying to persuade folks that they aren’t frightened of spiders (depending where they live, of course, a healthy distrust in Australia is wise, whereas in Northern Europe is not quite so) by saying that they are harmless and won’t hurt them. That will not work. What might work, and I have used successfully is a progressive exposure in hypnosis, where the sufferer will be asked, in hypnosis, to become very calm and visualise a picture of a spider at a distance but so far away that they experience no distress.
That picture can then be brought closer until they feel a little anxious. It stays at that position until they feel calm about it and then it advances a little more. The process is repeated until the can visualise it closely. Any further progress needs actual exposure but that is not too easy without access to live (harmless, of course) spiders. A similar technique can be used in all sorts of phobias and other conditions.