WHAT IS HYPNOSIS?
Hypnosis is commonly used as a highly effective tool for quitting unwanted habits and overcoming mental obstacles and limiting self-beliefs.
Some common reasons for seeing a consulting hypnotist include a desire to quit smoking, lose weight, reduce feelings of stress or worry, to sleep better at night, cultivate confidence, or to be able to relax and remain focused even during times of pressure.
HYPNOSIS And The Mind
Hypnosis is a natural function of the mind that, like the intellect or physical body, can be cultivated, strengthened, and made to work for you.
While we often think of the mind only in relation to “conscious” and “subconscious,” our mind is constantly moving through different states of consciousness, from the analytical, rational thinking of “waking consciousness” (ratio — top of diagram, left), to contemplation of something such as nature or art (intellectus — top-right of diagram), daydreams, “flow,” relaxation, and sleep.
Although we are generally not aware of shifts in our consciousness, we experience hypnoidal — or hypnosis-like — states of consciousness as we begin to wake up in the morning (called hypnopompia) and when we are drifting off to sleep (called hypnogogia).
Misconceptions Of Hypnosis
There are many misconceptions about hypnosis. Firstly, hypnosis isn’t therapy and shouldn’t be used as a replacement for therapy. Instead, like life coaching, hypnosis is goal-focused. It is about moving towards something good rather than away from negative.
Later, during hypnosis, you will most likely be in a deep state of relaxation. However, you will be conscious of the process and will not be asleep. You will not reveal any deep, dark secrets. And you will not surrender your will or do anything that is against your conscience (nor will you be asked to).
What Is Hypnosis Like?
You have already experienced hypnotic-like states. You have probably experienced commuting, or taking the same journey every day by train or car, and finding that, occasionally, you cannot remember getting from A to B. You were engrossed in the act of driving or in looking out the train window. This state is called the “hypnoidal” state.
Again, when you wake up in the morning and are deeply relaxed (being half awake and half-asleep), this state is called the “hypnopompic” state. And when you are about to fall asleep at night and are, again, very relaxed, this is called the hypnogogic state.
As you’ve probably realized, the hypnoidal, hypnopompic, and hypnogic states are all closely connected to hypnosis or the hypnotic state.
Returning to the theme of the commute, you might have experienced being on a train, totally engrossed in reading. Although you consciously think that you have only been on the train a little while — nowhere near long enough to be near your stop — you tell yourself, for some reason, that you should look up and check where you are. And, on doing so, you discover that you have just pulled into your station and need to get off the train. (And if you haven’t experienced this yourself, you will definitely have seen others do this.)
The sense of time flying by (also called “time distortion”) is commonly experienced in hypnosis. However, there is something else that’s important in this anecdote. Our unconscious mind seems to know that we need to get off the train, even if our conscious thoughts do not.
How Hypnosis Works
We’ve all experienced the conscious mind and unconscious mind going out of alignment. We want to do something but sabotage the possibility of doing it with our conscious thoughts, which we might repeat over and over again. You might want to quit smoking, for example, but keep telling yourself that you “can’t.” Or you might dream of being a performer, and might even be training as an actor or singer, but keep telling yourself that you’re “too shy.” Or you might want to exercise or go out to meet friends but then tell yourself that you “can’t be bothered.”
Much of what we do, we do automatically or unconsciously — walking, putting our hands out to protect ourselves when we trip, or driving a car. Dancers, sports people, and martial artists practice the same moves thousands of times so that they become effortless, automatic, and performed without any conscious thought — even though those moves look impossible to other people. But continual practice literally creates new neural pathways in the brain, making the
Sometimes, however, we might get into the habit of thinking unwanted thoughts or doing things that sabotage our goals or that stop us from getting what we want in life. At a certain point, these habits become automatic or unconscious. The good news is recognizing the problem is the first step to reversing it.
In consulting hypnotism, we begin by discussing your goals, any obstacles to achieving those goals, and what changes you want, or need, to make to make progress towards them. Before you even enter hypnosis, we’ll have a clear vision of what you want change and why before and what we will focus on during hypnosis.
Once in hypnosis, being deeply relaxed, you will tap into your unconscious mind. Then, we’ll focus intently on your goal and on what changes you are going to make to succeed. In this way, you will begin to realign your conscious and unconscious mind, so that it works to help you succeed instead of self-sabotaging your goals.
I will also teach you self-hypnosis and/or muscle relaxation and other techniques that you will be able to practice on your own so that — like the dancer, athlete, or martial artist — you will begin to create new neural pathways to success.
What’s The Structure of A Hypnosis Session?
There are several parts to a hypnosis session. This helps us both to understand and to formulate your exact goal in life and to be clear about the focus of the hypnosis. The parts of a typical session are:
- A confidential discussion about your goal.
- A plan about what we will focus on in hypnosis
- Brief instructions on self-hypnosis, if applicable.
Results may vary from person to person.