Hypnotherapy is, as the name would suggest, therapy in the state of hypnosis. There are many different therapies available, depending on what it is that you want to achieve, but the state of hypnosis is the state of mind used to help you achieve those aims. What then, exactly, is this state of mind and how do you achieve it?
Hypnosis itself is known as an ‘altered state of consciousness,’ or a ‘trance-like state,’ but that isn’t as weird as it sounds, because you know how to go into an altered state of consciousness anyway and you do it all by yourself, several times a day.
Daydreaming is an altered state of consciousness; so to is meditation, as well as falling asleep and waking up in the morning.
However, you can also have trance-like states that are much more focussed and aware, such as driving your car or losing yourself in a really good book.
And, don’t worry; you were a perfectly safe driver whilst you were in that state.
Hypnosis then, is a very natural and every-day occurrence. And, from a therapeutic point-of-view, a very nice thing happens to your mind whilst you are in that state.
What’s going in your mind?
Your mind consists of two parts: the conscious and the unconscious (often called the subconscious), but it’s not a 50-50 split.
You conscious mind is the much smaller part and it’s the part of your mind that’s responsible for all your day-to-day stuff, such as remembering that appointment you have at 5pm, or the phone number you only need to use once.
It’s also responsible for your decision making processes, for logic, analysis and reasoning.
Your unconscious mind then, the much, much larger part, is responsible for everything else.
It’s the part of you that is responsible for all your involuntary actions, such as heart rate, breathing, blinking, digestion and so on.
But it’s also the database of everything you are. Everything you have ever learned, witnessed, seen, felt and done; all your emotions, your beliefs, skills, habits and responses are stored as patterns of information in the unconscious mind.
The two parts of your mind are in constant communication, every second of the day. Messages are constantly being sent to and fro and the conscious mind takes its cues from the information stored in that database that is your unconscious mind.
Except in hypnosis.
How does hypnosis affect a change?
When you are in a state of hypnosis, the conscious mind gets bypassed. It’s still there; it’s still aware of everything going on around it, but it cannot access the unconscious mind.
Left alone, the unconscious mind becomes very susceptible to positive suggestions, especially if those suggestions are tied to a goal you already know you want to achieve.
A hypnotherapist then, can layer in new information (in the form of suggestions) that then gets stored directly into your database, information that’s more in line with how you want to be.
When you come out of a hypnotic trance and the two parts of your mind start communicating again, there is a whole barrel load of information stored in your unconscious mind that wasn’t there before.
In short, a whole host of brand new messages start being transmitted to your conscious mind. And, partly because your conscious mind is the smaller part and, partly because its logical/analytical/critical aspects were ‘switched off’ during the hypnosis session, your conscious mind simply accepts these new messages, without any value judgement and, instead, just runs with them.
Hypnotic suggestions then, can be given to help you stop smoking, quit drugs, be more confident, eat more healthily, control your panic and anxiety, help you manage you anger, improve your memory, cure insomnia and so much more.
The applications of it, and the things it can help you with are almost endless.