What is Hypnosis?
Hypnosis is a state of focused awareness usually accompanied by deep mental and physical relaxation. In this state called ‘trance’ the conscious mind becomes absorbed and focused and the subconscious mind becomes more active, more open to accepting ideas, suggestions and concepts that are presented to it. In this state, we are also more able to access useful information that is stored in memory or find solutions to existing problems. You will still be aware of your surroundings and what is happening around you – you are completely in control. It’s a bit like day dreaming.
What are the Conscious and Unconscious Minds?
Conscious and unconscious are states of the human mind rather than areas of the brain. The conscious mind deals with your awareness of the present moment – it is the logical reasoning part of our mind. The conscious mind is critical and analytical and directs our focus. The conscious mind is the part you hear when you are thinking. Your internal dialogue – what you think of as you.
The unconscious mind comprises of mental processes that are inaccessible to conscious awareness but influence feelings, judgements and behaviour. It is also what controls the processes that you don’t think about – heart rate, growth, cell regeneration, healing, immune system, pain, blood pressure etc. The unconscious controls emotions and habits and is where our memories and experience is stored. It communicates not in words but in emotions, feelings, images and dreams.
So How Does Hypnosis Work?
Most challenges or problems are things we have learnt at an unconscious level and so they are hard to consciously change. For example, a smoker who has always smoked with a cup of tea no longer ‘thinks’ about smoking. It is the subconscious mind that takes over this task for them so they don’t have to ‘think’ about it – they just automatically light up when they get their cuppa. That’s great, unless they want to quit. A smoker trying to quit has to battle the subconscious automatically reminding them to smoke. This is what creates the problem ‘I want to stop smoking but I can’t’ – like the Devil and Angel on each shoulder battling it out, it’s a state of inner conflict. This conflict can be removed by re-education of the subconscious mind telling it we no longer want to be reminded of cigarettes and removing all those associations and triggers.
This is done in a variety of ways, including using direct suggestions. In this state of trance the subconscious mind more readily accepts these suggestions and acts accordingly. Metaphors are a wonderful way to work with the subconscious mind too, metaphor is the language of the subconscious and is a powerful way to communicate.
Hypnosis works by bypassing the critical and analytical conscious mind and working with the unconscious during a relaxed or ‘trance’ state. Hypnosis seeks to update the unconscious mind with new information, to bring about positive and lasting change. It’s like reprogramming your internal computer. Hypnosis works with the unconscious mind to reshape our view of real life situations, thoughts, feelings in a helpful and controlled way, thus bringing about natural change.
What Happens During Hypnosis?
Gone are the days of dangling watches! When I work with you to prepare for hypnosis you lie on a couch, close your eyes and I guide you into a state of mental and physical relaxation through the tone of my voice, using imagery, hypnotic language patterns and guided relaxation – this gradually draws you into a relaxed state. The relaxed state is then deepened and the therapeutic or ‘change work’ begins. You will remain in complete control and can come out of trance at any time. You are not ‘under’ asleep, or unconscious but simply in a subtly altered state of consciousness able to access inner resources and make the changes that you consciously wish to make. If you would like to know more about hypnosis and how it can help you please get in touch for a free consultation.