Published in Many Hands Magazine, Fall 2004
There are many myths and misconceptions about hypnosis. First of all, hypnosis is not a silver bullet nor is it magic. In the five years I have been practicing hypnotherapy I have seen remarkable results, which is, of course, why I love my job! I have witnessed the transformation of clients being prisoners of their own limiting beliefs to those who believe in a world filled with possibilities, only after a few sessions.
We all go in and out of hypnosis at least twice a day: right after you wake up and before you fall sleep. Hypnosis is not sleep; in fact, you are relaxed but focused and alert. It is similar to meditative or daydream states. You simply relax your conscious mind and that allows your subconscious mind to come to the forefront. You are under hypnosis when you are reading a really good novel, watching a good movie, or suddenly become hungry while watching a food commercial. Have you ever driven in your car, arrived at your destination safely, but forgot how you got there? Your subconscious mind was in control of the driving, while your conscious mind was thinking about something else.
While in this natural state of being, you are always in control. The hypnotherapist is a facilitator to help you get from one place to another. You always know where you are and what you’re doing and you will remember the session. Your subconscious mind will not give you anything you can’t handle remember, it is a part of you. One would not do anything under hypnosis or after they emerge from hypnosis which goes against their moral values or good judgment. In order to go under hypnosis, one must be somewhat intelligent, be a willing volunteer, be able to follow instruction and must have the desire for change.
What is the clinical definition of hypnosis? Hypnosis is the bypass of the critical faculty of the conscious mind and the establishment of selective thinking. You see, the critical faculty of our mind exists to protect the vulnerable nature of our subconscious mind. It takes all incoming information and compares it with the information already being held. If it’s not in harmony with the current perception, it rejects it. The hypnotherapist’s job is to bypass the critical faculty of the mind so that’s its uninvolved with the flow of data into the subconscious mind. It is in the subconscious mind that all learning behavior change takes place. It was in the subconscious state when the mind first accepted those negative emotions and limiting beliefs, so it’s there we must go to release them.
But most of the time we are in a conscious state of being that is logical, judgmental and thinking. The subconscious mind has no logic, judgment or thinking, it is childlike.
Is there a difference between Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy?
Yes, there is a difference. Simplified, hypnosis is great at modifying one’s behavior, getting rid of symptoms. It is relaxing and tranquil. Hypnotherapy deals with the cause. For example: if you have a migraine headache, an aspirin may rid you of the symptoms of the migraine, but the cause is still there. This could be any number of things, such as unresolved anger, grief, resentment, or any other repressed emotion. Your subconscious mind is a perfect memory bank and holds everything that you’ve ever thought, done, felt, dreamed, said or fantasized about. Sometimes it represses traumatic memories for our protection. One can get to the root cause with regression by going back to the memory of the event that initially caused the problem. Once this event or memory is desensitized or transformed, the negative emotion or limiting belief will most likely disappear. A successful hypnosis intervention usually leaves the client feeling as though they have seamlessly moved on to a happier chapter of life.
If you’re serious about your personal development, want to make significant changes to your physical, mental and/or emotional state, in a relatively short amount of time, hypnotherapy is the tool of choice. Hypnosis is safe, natural and effective. And that’s why I love it!
Jean Conway has been Certified Hypnotherapist by the National Guild of Hypnotists, is certified in advanced hypnotherapy techniques and lives and works in Greenfield, MA. She has been practicing hypnotherapy for nearly six years. She can be reached at Blue Moon Hypnotherapy, 413 774 7171, or firstname.lastname@example.org.