What is Hypnosis?
Hypnosis is gaining popularity and credibility as a treatment for a multitude of troubles. Recently, much research has been done using the latest brain-imaging technology. PET, MRI, and EEG scans show that hypnotized subjects actually have altered sensory perception. A 2000 study in The American Journal of Psychiatry revealed that when hypnotized subjects were told a black and white picture was in color, their brain activity was consistent with seeing colors. Other studies indicated brain activity congruent with hearing noises when there were none, or not feeling pain when a subject’s hands were submerged in painfully hot or cold water. Researchers at Harvard University have found it diminishes the need for anesthesia during invasive procedures susch as angioplasty and breast reconstruction and speeds post-operative healing.
The treatment of ailments by suggestion has ancient roots but is earning widespread recognition in modern medicine. The American Medical Association recognized hypnosis in 1956 as a legitimate form of therapy. The benefits of hypnosis are profound. Hypnosis is able to make rapid and substantial change because it helps a person to access the “programming” of their mind in order to make a desired permanent change. As positive change is made a person becomes healthier mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. A healthy, happy person who is feeling positive and fulfilled in their life radiates this success and therefore attracts even more success into their life.
Hypnosis… What Is It?
When a person is in HYPNOSIS, they are deeply relaxed physically. However mentally, they are far more alert than in their normal state of awareness. They hear and respond to everything and are an active participant in the session. A person has COMPLETE CONTROL over what they will or will not do and they will instantly reject any suggestion that is uncomfortable. If they like and want the suggestions given, for instance, to stop smoking, the suggestion is allowed to enter the subconscious mind. This part of us is like a computer and must respond to everything that is allowed to enter it.
We ARE the programming our subconscious has received. If that part of our mind views us as fat, fat we become. If it perceives we smoke, then we smoke!
Using HYPNOSIS, we are able to access this subconscious computer and reprogram ourselves to be whatever we wish to be.
The Three Parts of Your Mind
First, it is important to understand how your mind works. We have three separate and distinct parts of our mind. These three parts are: the conscious mind, the subconscious mind, and the unconscious mind, each having different responsibilities with very little communication among each other. Imagining that the parts of our mind are at different levels, first, we have a conscious mind. Our conscious mind is actively working right now. Below our conscious level of awareness, is where we will find our subconscious mind. And going even deeper to find our unconscious mind.
Our unconscious mind is basically responsible for two things. It controls the strength or weakness of our immune system and it controls our automatic body functions. Automatic body functions such as the beating of our heart and the blinking of our eyes. Our unconscious mind is basically unaffected by hypnosis.
Our conscious mind is where we spend most of your time. Basically, it has four responsibilities. First, it analyzes by examining information or an event and then deciding how to solve it. It also makes the thousands of decisions that we face through out a typical day. Decisions that appear to be automatic, but in fact, are not. Examples of such decisions are: “Should I turn the light on? Should I open the door? Should I dry my hands?” These type of decisions may appear to be automatic but really we make a decision as to whether or not we want to do them.
The second part of our conscious mind can actually get us into trouble some times. It is the rational part of our conscious mind. It must give us a reason why we behave in a particular fashion. Understanding that if we don’t have a reason for why we behave in a certain way that we become anxious, nervous, frustrated. If this goes on to long it can lead to serious mental illness. Now, just because the rational conscious mind gives us a reason doesn’t mean it is an accurate reason. And the biggest problem is that the reason is never original. The following are examples of this problem: a smoker says “I smoke because it helps me to relax. I need a cigarette when I drink coffee,” or “I need a cigarette after I eat;” an overweight person says “I eat when I am bored, I eat when I am upset,” or “I eat when I am happy.” Really, before the smoker developed the habit, he actually heard other people that smoked say, “I smoke because it makes me feel calm and relaxed” etc. And the same with the overweight person, who heard other overweight people claiming “I’m overweight because I eat when I’m nervous” etc.
One of the real reasons people are smokers or overweight is because of a need of security or belonging. Security being a basic need for all human beings. As an example: generally, a smoker starts smoking when he is young and because he wants to belong to another group of friends. If he feels that he doesn’t belong to this particular group, his subconscious mind (which must protect him against danger, real or imagined) recognizes the lack of security as a definite danger. In order to feel secure and accepted by the group, he accepts a cigarette, immediately rewarded by feeling accepted with his level of security going up. Having nothing to do with feelings of relaxation.
The next part of our conscious mind is what has been labeled will power. This part of our conscious mind is weak and we are all familiar with it. A person might say, “I am putting down this pack of cigarettes and I am never going to smoke again.” We all know how long that lasts! And just as familiar for the person who has tried to diet. Will power weakens and the old habit patterns return again.
The last part of our conscious mind is called working memory or short term memory. It is the memory we need every day, to get through an average day. “How do I get to work? What is my husband or wife’s name? What is my phone number?” Etc.
These four responsibilities make up the conscious mind. In summary, the conscious mind is very logical, rational, and analytical; and frequently WRONG.
Now, where the REAL you lives, in the level below the conscious, called the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind is extremely powerful, it is the most powerful part of our mind. It can make you into anything that you want to be. Like the old saying, “What you perceive is what you shall be.” Whether you think of yourself as rich and famous, poor, thin, overweight, happy or sad, it is the REAL us. To understand the subconscious mind, you need to realize that it is very similar to a computer. A computer, if bought new with no programming will not respond when given a command.
It will only respond to a command once the programming has been put there. Once the programming is there, the computer must operate according to that programming, it has no choice. If you purchase new programming, put it in the computer, and eliminate the old programming; it can no longer operate according to the old programming. It must respond and operate according to the new programming. Well, this is the way our subconscious mind works. It is a computer, functioning with the same type of rules and regulations. Only much more powerful. When we are born, our computers are basically unprogrammed- there is some programming, but not very much. We program our computer each and every day through our life experiences. The primary rule of our computer is this: It MUST make us into the type of person that it perceives us to be based on the programming that has been placed into it. And programming is continually added to it day after day until we die. As an example: if that computer subconscious mind of ours says we are fat, then we are fat! If it says we are thin, a smoker, a success, or a failure then that is what we are. It adds up all the programming and makes a decision about us, about the type of person that we are, and then that is exactly what we are! Never rising above that label until we change the perception of ourselves.
So, thinking along the lines of a computer… our subconscious mind has operational software. The first software being our memory… our long-term, permanent memory which goes as far back as birth or prenatal, depending on your beliefs. The subconscious mind is similar to a video camera. Everything that has ever happened to you, that you have heard, seen, touched, smelled, and tasted is locked permanently into the memory banks of your subconscious mind. We never ‘forget’ anything. If necessary, in hypnosis we can access that memory bank and appear to travel back in time. For example, in regression hypnosis we can travel back and re-live your first birthday or your birth. Now, this is much more than recall, it actually feels like you are there, it is happening all over again. You can hear very clearly, see what happened, feel, smell, and taste. We never forget anything in the subconscious, only at the conscious level.
The second programming we have in the inner mind, the subconscious mind, is habits. Now, you really only have three kinds of habits. Some are good and some are bad, but most of our habits are utilitarian. We automatically respond in a certain fashion when something else happens. For example, when the telephone rings we don’t look at it and wonder what it is and why it is making that sound. We decide to pick it up or not depending on our mood.
Emotion is the next thing in our subconscious mind. Of course, we wouldn’t want to be without emotions like love, caring and all the other good emotions. But sometimes our emotions get us into trouble. The conscious mind can not deal with emotions in any way, that is not part of its job. Any time we need emotion our conscious mind parts like the Red Sea and we deal with the particular situation from our irrational, juvenile like, but highly intelligent subconscious mind. And as I said, sometimes it gets us into trouble. Many times we deal with situations with an extreme amount of emotion that really isn’t necessary. Then after the situation is over and that analytical conscious mind takes over again, you find yourself thinking or saying, “Why did I say that?” or “Why did I do that?” This has happened to all of us at one point in time.
The next thing in our subconscious mind is our protective mind. This is likely the most important part. It must protect us against danger, real OR imagined. Understanding that something imagined by our subconscious mind is just as real as something truly experienced, it can’t tell the difference and it MUST protect us.
The last part of the subconscious mind is a negative part of us. Even though the subconscious is the most powerful part of our mind, it is extremely lazy. It doesn’t like to do the work that is required to accept positive suggestions. To give us change in areas where we would like to have change. It likes to keep things the way that they are, it takes too much work to make change in a positive way. Positive suggestions are one of the most difficult things to get into our subconscious minds. On the other hand, negative suggestions go into this inner part of us like a hot knife through butter, because it doesn’t take any work to accept a negative suggestion.
As an example: a very heavy person gets out of the shower and looks at herself in the mirror, saying to herself, “I am fat.” That idea or thought goes right into her subconscious and her subconscious mind says, “Yes, that matches the programming that I have in here, that matches my perception of you.” Therefore, it accepts that suggestion and her perception of being fat becomes even stronger, causing her to get heavier. On the other hand, if she said to herself, “I’m thin,” her subconscious would reject the suggestion because it wouldn’t match her programming.
It is important to understand if a thought or a concept is allowed to go into the subconscious mind, it must happen. You could revise or eliminate the old programming and the inner, subconscious mind would then have to respond to the new programming. But it is not that easy. There is one more part of your conscious mind that I failed to mention earlier. It is the critical factor of the conscious mind and it communicates with the subconscious. Its only job is to stop and put on hold any suggestion of positive change that we give ourselves or receive from an outside source. As an example: a man wants to stop smoking. His critical factor communicates with his subconscious, “He wants to stop smoking, can I let this suggestion in?” Now, remember, if this suggestion enters his subconscious mind, it must happen. But his subconscious mind says, “Wait a minute. He’s been smoking for twenty years, he needs cigarettes for security.” (Or whatever reason he has). “Besides you realize I would have to do years of re-programming and I just don’t feel up to it. I don’t want to do it, reject the suggestion!” And so the suggestion is rejected and can not go into the subconscious, inner mind. The only other place to take that suggestion is will power in the conscious mind. And we all know how long will power lasts. How many diets have we been on? How many times have we tried to stop smoking?
Creating Wonderful Change
Hypnosis by-passes the critical factor of the conscious mind. By definition, hypnosis is a state of mind in which the critical factor is bypassed, and selective thinking is established. Ninety-five percent of the general public have misconceptions about hypnosis. Because of these misconceptions, hypnosis is not what most people expect it to be. Our bodies, if we are using the relaxation type of hypnosis, are very relaxed; but the more we go into hypnosis, the more our conscious mind becomes alert. In the deeper levels of hypnosis, your conscious mind is two to three hundred times more alert than it is at this very moment. All of your five senses, including hearing, smelling, tasting, and seeing are hundreds of times better than they are right now.
So when you are in hypnosis, you are not asleep, you are extremely alert, probably more alert and clear minded than you have ever been before. The important thing to understand is that the conscious mind takes on a different role when you are in hypnosis. As if it were playing the role of guardian of the gates, there to protect you. When you receive a suggestion in hypnosis, you hear it loud and clear. You then have one of four choices, success or failure is based on what choice you make. Which choice you make determines whether or not the suggestion is allowed to enter your subconscious mind. If it is allowed to enter, you will have the change that you desire; if it is rejected, there will not be a change.
After hearing the suggestion, you have a choice of thinking or saying to yourself one of these four thoughts:
- 1. “I like that suggestion, I know that one is going to work for me!” With this mental attitude at the conscious level, the suggestion goes into your subconscious mind, and change begins.
- 2. “Well, that suggestion sounds good, but I don’t think it will work for me.” With this uncomfortable, mental attitude, the suggestion is rejected, and there is no change.
- 3. “I’m not sure if I like that suggestion or not.” With this neutral, mental attitude, the suggestion is rejected, and there is no change.
- 4. “Oh, I like that suggestion, boy, I hope it works for me!” The word hope sets you up for failure. It is similar to saying, “I will try,” versus saying “I can do it.” When you decide that something is a priority in your life and that you can do it- then there is no need to hope for it. And so with this mental attitude, the suggestion is rejected, and there is no change.
So, suggestions enter your subconscious mind when YOU take the mental attitude of, “I like that suggestion, I know it is going to work for me!” You are completely responsible for your own success. You are completely responsible for your own failure.
What mental attitude you take when you hear a suggestion determines success or failure.
Hypnosis is up to you. As hypnotherapists, if asked about our success rate with smoking cessation and weight loss, we have to be completely honest. Our success rate is 100%. With excellent training in hypnosis and a lot of experience, we know exactly what to say to our clients to help them to achieve their goals. If they choose to accept the suggestions, they will have wonderful change. If they choose to reject the suggestions, they will have no change. So, as hypnotherapists, our success rate it always perfect. Will yours be perfect? If you accept the suggestions with the correct mental attitude, “I like it, I know it will work,” then you will have 100% success. If you don’t have this mental attitude, then you will fail. It is all up to you!
Can I Be Hypnotized?
Ok, the truth be known… I will let the cat out of the bag! There is no such thing as being hypnotized by another person. As a hypnotist I can not hypnotize you! Never have been able to and never will be able to! There is really only one form of hypnosis and that is self-hypnosis. ALL hypnosis is self-hypnosis. You don’t need a hypnotist do go into a beautiful, deep state of hypnosis all by yourself. You certainly don’t need a hypnotist to give you suggestions of positive change in any area of your life. You can do that all by yourself. What you do need is a hypnotist to teach you how to do it. To be a facilitator, to guide you, and to give you a jump start.
A hypnotist can show you how to place yourself into a beautiful state of hypnosis. Feeling the physical relaxation and mental alertness. If you allow the hypnotist to be your guide, she can show you how to stay in the state until the session is over. At any time, if you don’t want to be in this beautiful, relaxed state, you simply decide not to be, and it is over. You then return to your normal state of awareness. But, if you follow the hypnotist’s guidance, you will be shown how to stay there.
If using hypnosis for change, then the most important thing of all is allowing yourself to accept the suggestions given to you with the correct mental attitude. “I like it, I know it is going to work!” Knowing that if you have any other attitude, you will not accept the suggestions. A hypnotist can not force a suggestion into your mind. Only YOU can ALLOW it to happen.
Hypnosis is a 100% consent state… by you. You must allow things to happen. If you don’t want them to happen, you can stop them from happening with the slightest thought. Anyone with an IQ above 70 can go into a very deep level of hypnosis. As long as you want to be! Are you wondering how fast? As long as it takes to snap your fingers! The only thing that keeps a person from going into that beautiful state of physical relaxation and mental alertness is if they have any fears or misconceptions about what hypnosis really is.
How Can Hypnotherapy Help Me?
In the beautiful, deep state of hypnosis you are completely relaxed and comfortable. This relaxed state can be used for all of the following, and more. Habit problems can be brought under control, whether smoking, overeating, alcohol, drugs, or unwanted mannerisms.
- Relieve pressures of stress at home and at work
- Alleviate insomnia
- Improve self confidence, self-esteem and other opinions about yourself
- Sales success
*Hypnotherapy is effective in countless physical and mental illnesses, often under a physician’s referral. Physical and mental conditions including, but not limited to, the following:
- Phobias / Fears
- Pain Management
- Degenerative condition
- Anesthesia requirements
- Mood alteration
- Improve positive attitude necessary for healing
Common Fears or Misconceptions
Question: “Will I be aware of what is going on?”
Answer: Absolutely! Some people feel that when they are in hypnosis, that they are asleep. On the contrary, your mind is two to three hundred times more alert than it is at this very moment. A state that is extremely opposite of sleep. Hypnosis has nothing to do with sleep.
Question: “What if I don’t wake up?”
Answer: There is only one thing that you “wake up” from and that is sleep. Since you are not asleep, then… yes, you don’t wake up. What you do is emerge. Anytime that you want to emerge from hypnosis, all you have to do is have the slightest thought that you don’t want to be in this relaxed state anymore. Instantly, the hypnosis is over and you are back to your normal state of awareness.
Concern: “Hypnosis is mind control! The hypnotist can make you do anything they want you to do!”
Response: Nothing could be further from the truth! You are in complete control from beginning to end. First, you decide if you even want to be hypnotized… no one (not even a hypnotist) can hypnotize you against your will. All hypnosis is self hypnosis.
Can I Be Hypnotized? Once you choose to go into hypnosis, the hypnotist can give you suggestions. When you hear a suggestion you have one of four choices to make. One of those choices is having the thought “I like it, I know it is going to work.” When you think this way about a suggestion, then that suggestion is allowed by YOU to enter your subconscious mind. Learn more, Creating Wonderful Change. The hypnotist can not force you to accept a suggestion. Lastly, at any time, if you choose to emerge, all you have to do is have the slightest thought that you do not want to be in this relaxed state and you instantly return to your normal awareness. The hypnotist has absolutely NO CONTROL over you at any time! You are completely responsible for your own success. You are completely responsible for your own failure. What mental attitude you take when you hear a suggestion determines your success or failure.
Question: “I have seen stage hypnosis shows. The people on stage are controlled by the hypnotist, aren’t they?”
Answer: Sorry, they are not being controlled by the hypnotist. Even though some people would like to claim that their actions were out of their control! Starting at the very beginning, a stage hypnotist advertises that he is coming to town. People that are excited by this type of entertainment decide that they are going. Many of those people want to get up on stage. When the show begins, the hypnotist asks for a show of hands, those people that would like to volunteer to come up on stage. Numerous hands go up. But the hypnotist doesn’t stop there and settle for those volunteers. He tells those volunteers, “really good subjects are those with the best ability to concentrate and who have wonderful imaginations.” So he says he will give the audience a test for concentration and imagination. In reality, the hypnotist is testing the audience for two very important things. First, which people allow themselves to go into hypnosis very rapidly and easily. He has a show to put on and doesn’t want to waste time with long hypnotic techniques. Secondly, and more importantly, he is testing those people to find out who wants to have fun and who is uninhibited public. These are the people that he invites up on stage. And since these people want to have fun, when they hear a suggestion, they take the mental attitude, “I like it, I want it to work.” And the suggestion is accepted. Now, as you may remember from the stage show, some people, once on stage, didn’t respond to the suggestion. They did not accept the suggestion with the right mental attitude and so the suggestion was rejected. These people are usually asked to return to their seats. If it is late in the show, the hypnotist will just ignore them for the rest of the show. All hypnosis is the same, whether it is on a stage or in a hypnotherapy office. You always have the choice as to whether or not you want to accept the suggestion. If you don;t want it, it will be rejected and there will be no change.
Question: “Will I tell all my deep, dark secrets?”
Answer: No! When in hypnosis your mind is two to three hundred times more alert than it is at this very moment. You are in more control of what you say or do then you are right now. If there is something that you don’t want to talk about, then you won’t. No one can make you divulge information that you feel is prohibitive. As a matter of fact, a person would be more likely to get that kind of information from you in your normal state of conscious awareness. Since, while in normal consciousness, your mind is mentally dull compared to your mental capabilities when in hypnosis.