The ability to IMAGINE – People in hypnosis respond extremely well to the use of imagery techniques, which have powerful benefits for change. Brain scans taken of people in hypnosis show increased activity during hypnosis, particularly in the motor and sensory area relating to heightened mental imagery. Under hypnosis the powerful benefits of imagery can be used to treat a wide range of conditions.
The ability to REMEMBER – People in hypnosis experienced a heightened sense of recall. For example, in some instances, hypnosis is used by the police to assist witnesses to recall car number plates or describe people at a crime or accident scene. The enhancement of the ability to remember in hypnosis enables the client and therapist to explore the origin or cause of symptoms that may be causing a client distress and take an appropriate course of action.
The CREATIVE abilities – By having access to increased creativity in hypnosis, people are able to allow themselves to be much more creative in their thinking thus enabling them to more readily explore options and solutions to issues that are troubling them. People can also utilise the benefits of self-hypnosis in all areas of their lives that involve creativity, such as painting, writing, music, etc.
Responsiveness to POSITIVE suggestions – Working as a team, the client and clinical Hypnotherapist agree on what outcomes the client is wishing to achieve. Heightened responsiveness to positive suggestion in hypnosis means that the clinical Hypnotherapist can reinforce the changes the client wishes to make. This reinforcing under hypnosis is at the subconscious (or unconscious) level which is much more powerful than making the suggestions to the conscious mind.
Therefore, hypnosis is not an artificial condition imposed upon a “subject,” but rather a skill to be learned by the client to correct an existing symptom or problem. It’s not magic. However, when used by a competent and well-trained professional, it is an effective and dynamic therapy. Here I will stress that all hypnosis is self hypnosis. The Clinical Hypnotherapist facilitates the process using a range of techniques, which may differ from client to client.
Therefore all of us have experienced hypnosis. Several times a day, in fact, we enter a self-induced trance state. Over the last twenty-four hours, you have been hypnotized approximately 39 times.
I’ll bet you didn’t even know it. What, for example, do you think was happening when you last watched TV? There you were, surrounded by distractions of all sorts – phone ringing, dogs barking, children playing, stomach growling, yet because something good was on, you were spellbound, concentrating only on the drama unfolding on that relatively small fraction of your environment, the screen.
You are also effectively hypnotized when your on holidays sitting overlooking the peaceful scene, when you’re surfing the internet, when you’re engrossed in a book, when you’re lost in thought, as you’re about to drift off to sleep, or even when a very attractive person walks by. Yes, going by the definition of hypnosis as being “an altered state of consciousness,” the average person is hypnotized about 39 times a day.
So what? Well, you probably didn’t know that when a person is in this altered state of consciousness, that person is highly suggestible.
This is a part of the natural activity-relaxation rhythm of the body known as the ultradian rhythm. We conventionally refer to this as “spacing out.” It is also the state in which openness to learning is most likely to occur. Hypnosis is the focused use of the trance state in order to reprogram self-limiting unconscious patterns. The definition of hypnosis is slippery. I guess there are nearly as many perspectives on this issue as there are hypnotherapists, and probably even some more. Some practitioners choose a narrow definition of trance and hypnosis, confining it to the hypnotic process of induction – changework – disengagement; others define it in a broader way. For me, hypnosis is communication with unconscious processes, and trance is the context from where this communication is done. Freud’s free-association is trancework, and so are Gestalt, TA, psychodrama and numerous other approaches. Hypnotherapy as a separate realm dedicated to bring change through unconscious vehicles, is thus an approach practised not only by those who call themselves Hypnotherapists, but also by many other effective communicators and therapists.
However, we’ve learned that the unconscious cannot be commanded into a state of well being. The old stage hypnotist approach “Look into the mirror and feel confident” has been replaced by a more sophisticated method pioneered by Milton Erickson, M.D. Erickson reasoned that the unconscious is not an evil force trying to thwart our best intentions. Instead, each individual has all the resources necessary for change already residing within him or her. The Hypnotherapist helps the client awaken these latent potentials. They convey options to the client which were formerly unperceived. In order to do this, the hypnotherapist uses a variety of techniques. They may enter into a dialogue with the unconscious, tell anecdotes and metaphors, stimulate memory recall, utilize age regression, help the client recall, reinterpret, or re-parent the original childhood trauma, or even assist in changing the original birth experience. Some esoteric hypnosis seeks to connect the client with past life events. Few good hypnotherapists utilize only hypnosis in treatment. Many use insight-oriented and behavioural techniques as well.
Here’s a story that illustrates that power: On the first day of the semester, a university professor came to class carrying an amber-coloured glass bottle containing a clear liquid. He announced to his 27 students that inside the bottle was a compound that, if inhaled, could make people feel “high,” exuberant, or even giggly. While he was talking, the bottle slipped “accidentally” from his hands and when it shattered, its contents spilled all over the floor.
Within a few minutes, most of the students sitting in the back rows started exhibiting inebriated-like behaviour i.e., they were acting tipsy; several students reported being in high spirits; and a few from the front row fell into uncontrollable fits of laughter. The most curious thing about the incident was that the “mysterious” liquid was just plain water.
The experiment was just the professor’s dramatic way of demonstrating the placebo effect, but what this episode really reveals is the phenomenal power of hypnotic suggestion, how mere words have the ability to cast a virtual spell on people. Clearly, the class had been hypnotized by the professor’s words.
Through the use of hypnotically crafted words, phrases, suggestions or commands, most people could be made to behave in a predictable way; just like the students were when they were exposed to a substance which they were told was a potent chemical.
Emile Coué, the world’s most recognized expert on the phenomenon of suggestion, said: “A person’s free will always yields to the imagination.” This is an absolute rule to which there is no exception.
Your conscious mind is the part of the mind that makes decisions and judgments from an extremely limited point of view. In other words, the conscious mind governs limits, puts up resistance, and builds barriers, obstacles, hurdles and much more.
The other part of the mind is the subconscious mind. This is the part that you are usually not aware of, yet it determines much, sometimes most, of what you do. In contrast to your conscious mind, your subconscious mind lacks reasoning power. For one thing, it does not know the difference between reality and fantasy. It processes products of our imagination as reality. Therefore, a good suggestion repeated often enough and long enough will be accepted by the subconscious mind as true, even when it is not true. Your subconscious mind is programmed to run on automatic.
To cap this off hypnosis is about –
- Helping and healing yourself
- Understanding that You are in control putting you in touch with the unconscious and your higher mind
- Not sleep, but a relaxed state
- Only as far as you want to go
- Safely allowing you therapeutic insights, intensified attention and receptiveness
- Staying focused on issues