Almost every day in my practice I am asked, “What is hypnosis?” I have many explanations but no definitive answer because hypnosis continues to stump experts in this field. Is it an altered state of consciousness? In a school that’s what I was taught, but is that true? When new clients open their eyes after that first session they sometimes say they didn't feel like they "went under". When asked how they felt they say, "It was weird. I thought I heard everything until I discovered as you were counting me back, that I could not remember all of the session."
I have never liked the term "going under" as it relates to the hypnotic state. You aren't going anywhere. You are simply shifting your attention inward rather than being focused outward. A more accurate term would be to say you are "going in". You are directing your focus towards the truth of who you are, not what you tell people you are because it sounds good, or because they expect you to be a particular way. No, this space is filled with your truth.
We all go in and out of natural states of hypnosis during the day…waking states of hypnosis. When you drive from point A to point B and suddenly wonder how you arrived at point B because you had not been paying attention, it was your unconscious mind that was driving the car, not your conscious mind…that feeling you have as you walk out of the movie theatre and back into the “real” world, did you notice how odd you felt for just a few minutes as you adjusted back into this world?…those moments of daydreaming…and the rhythmic motion of eating, hand to mouth a bag of chips or cookies…these are all every day states of hypnosis. And every night just before dropping off to sleep you pass through the most suggestible time of consciousness, the hypnotic state.
So how and why is hypnosis effective?
We have two parts of our psyche…the conscious mind and the unconscious mind. For simplicity, we will only label these two parts. The fact is that no one knows where the conscious mind stops and the unconscious mind begins but what we DO know is that the unconscious mind is at least 1 million times more powerful than the conscious mind. It manages all the physical functions of the body and houses our memories, beliefs, perspectives, and morals. It also defines the boundaries of our life. This is a good thing as long as those beliefs, perspectives and memories are in alignment with the current, conscious part of you.
What happens when the conscious and the unconscious don’t agree?
When the conscious mind and the unconscious mind are not in agreement, you may feel internal conflict, struggle, and even notice a cycle of self-sabotage. For example You may know consciously that smoking is unhealthy and is creating havoc in your body, but inside, that internal voice is saying, “I don’t like change…it’s too much work to change…I know how to be a smoker and am afraid to be anything else”. Many of the beliefs we hold come from early childhood, they are not adult beliefs. We all can benefit by updating the internal chatter which says things like, “I’m not good enough…pretty enough…tall enough…slim enough…smart enough, etc”.
Hypnosis is an effective tool to access old beliefs you are willing to update to agree with your adult conscious mind. It is used effectively to stop smoking, release weight, enhance sports performance or marketing performance, and balance fears and cravings so you are in control, not the fear or cravings. When a fear or craving is in control it is like playing football or baseball and the other team has all the players. The deck is stacked against you. So change the rules and balance the teams. Isn’t that a better way to play?
We learn from our experiences. When you have good experiences you create happy beliefs which help you feel strong. When you have bad experiences you create fearful beliefs which can block or paralyze you. Hypnosis can be effective to shift perspectives created by those limiting beliefs and relieve the fear which prevents you from taking pleasure in certain activities or areas of life.
Hopefully, you have a desire to be happy and healthy. The body and mind are intimately connected. So strive to take care of your body AND free yourself of negative internal chatter which is not in alignment with your conscious mind.
When you are healthy in mind and spirit your body will smile.
Judy Johnston, Cht, NLP That's Life Wellness 704-604-6636