How does Hypnotherapy Work
Time for a quick round up on Hypnotherapy.
This is a subject that has had many books devoted to it, some of which examine all manner of data, reference tests and figures of authority before arriving at indecision!
A recognised and (mostly) respected definition is that ‘Hypnosis is a focused state of attention’. So if you are focusing on this page and reading these words are you in Hypnosis? Maybe, depends on your point of view.
Respected (in their field) Hypnotists and in turn Hypnotherapists [I am going to be using the phrase Hypnotherapist from here in as that’s where I place myself] have made the suggestion that we are all constantly experiencing a series of trances; more accurately what may be called ‘trance states’. While others (also respected) will not agree with this suggestion and of course finally there are the fence sitters; at the risk of getting splinters in their rear end, they just appreciate that both ideas can be correct in context.
I like to think of an ‘Altered State of Awareness’, so altered, as in different to before the Hypnotherapist began working with the client. The change may be subtle and this is often enough to allow for significant and lasting positive change.
These altered states of awareness are perfectly natural and occur for most people several times throughout the day, being brought on by a variety of stimuli. Perhaps worryingly during important tasks like driving; most people have experienced getting home and not being able to recall taking some of the corners!
So what is going on? Is your mind going out for stroll unattended? Partly, the conscious mind has taken it’s attention elsewhere; this happens all the time. It is not common for us to consciously think about breathing in and out unless we have good reason to, often we are far too busy with the world around us, or the one rendered on our phones, tablets and computer screens. Regardless we keep breathing, you probably are thinking about your breathing now (or checking your phone). Look at that a Hypnotherapist altering your state of attention, you’re welcome no charge!
A quick recap then, we have multiple thoughts occurring all the time, some we are aware of and others we are not. These two categories of thought can be labelled as ‘Conscious’ and ‘Subconscious’. The term ‘Unconscious’ is often used in place of Subconscious, this is quite correct although can lead people to think Hypnosis is the same as sleep – it is not.
Hypnotherapy is interested in the subconscious the part of the mind that runs the automated responses, some essential, some less so and some seemingly darn right ridiculous. The world has changed a lot since the human mind was invented and progress up there can be a little slow.
Okay, so the time has come to make a change to one of these automated responses, how do we communicate this to the subconscious? It is not generally as simple as we might like, you see the subconscious is protective of it’s post, allowing change would be a dereliction of duty. Two barriers help the subconscious protect it’s ideas, the Conscious mind and what’s referred to as the ‘Critical Faculty’ a kind of protective fence that needs to be breached.
Enter Hypnotherapy, a technique (others are available) for slipping under the radar and selling new ideas to the Subconscious mind. To complete this metaphor you could think of a stage Hypnotist as being unsubtle rather like a double glazing salesman – they get a result on the day but after leaving you quite quickly ‘wake-up’ to what has happened.
What does Hypnosis feel like?
Hypnosis is a completely natural state that feels great, it is akin to the feeling you have just before falling asleep (the hypnagogic state) and just before being fully awake (the hypnopompic state).
You can probably think of a time when you have been in the process of waking up, aware of the sounds around you, perhaps half listening to the radio without being fully awake, perhaps your were not sure whether you were dreaming or not.
It is recommended to take a look at the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.