HYPNOSIS: WHAT IS IT EXACTLY?
That's the problem, exactly! It's very difficult to describe, exactly.
For instance, how do you describe some beautiful music to someone who
cannot hear? Or the taste of sugar to someone who has lost the faculty of taste.
Or how your love for someone feels? It's tough. So this is my lazy guide to
Hypnosis is an altered state of consciousness. When you watch a good movie,
listen to music or read a good book that appeals to your emotions, you are
in an altered state of consciousness.
Hypnosis, meditation, conscious relaxation -- all involve altered states of
consciousness. Something interesting happens in these states. The conscious
mind is bypassed, and the sub-conscious mind, your marvelous inner creative
mind, focuses on that movie, book, music or whatever. It's known as selective
thinking. When you daydream, you
are in an altered state of consciousness, selectively thinking about a specific
When you are in an altered state -- hypnosis -- you can introduce suggestions for
positive change to the sub-conscious mind. In such an altered state, the sub-conscious will,
if the suggestion is repeated regularly, accept the suggestions and bring about
change in your habits. This can apply to quitting smoking, losing weight, building
self confidence, being more assertiveness, adopting better sleeping habits, and much
Most people are unaware of the existence of the sub-conscious mind. It is the
general manager of your body--breathing, heart and circulation, digestion,
glandular and organic functions and much more. If you had to consciously do all
these critical functions, you would probably be dead by evening. The
sub-conscious mind does it for you, automatically.
The sub-conscious systematically
memorizes everything you do, particularly actions with intense emotions, or
repetitive actions. Its functions are habitual. Once it adopts a habit--such
as smoking, over-eating, an allergy, irrational fears, and any behavior, it is very
difficult to change. When a person is in an altered state -- such as
hypnosis -- selective thinking or focusing can be applied, and
suggestions can be given to bring about change. The sub-conscious does not take to
change easily--suggestions need to be repeated in periods of hypnosis spread out
over 14 to 21 days to be completely effective.
People say: "I didn't hear the self-hypnosis tape because I was asleep."
I ask: "What brought you back to full consciousness as the taped program
ended?" "You told me to wake up," said the client. At this point the client
realizes that there is something more than the conscious mind listening
to the self-hypnosis tape -- the sub-conscious mind.
The sub-conscious mind NEVER, repeat, NEVER sleeps. It
absorbs all sounds--which is why it will wake you up if some emergency occurs.
Contrary to popular mythes, mainly generated by misinformed Hollywood writers,
you do not have to be "asleep" for hypnotic suggestions to work. Most clients
in hypnosis are fully aware of what the hypnotist is saying, and can respond to
the hypnotherapist quite easily. As a hypnoanalyst, most of my clients are expected
to talk while in hypnosis.
Another Hollywood myth that needs debunking, is that a hypnotist can make you
do something you don't want to do. If the suggestion is unnatural to you--such
as being told to stand on your head in the corner, it will not happen.
"But," you say, "what about those people on stage imitating ducks?" Good
question. Watch the stage hypnotist, and he/she will ask for volunteers, give
them a series of suggestibility tests, before having the selected two or three to provide the entertainment. Each one is highly suggestible and easy
to work with. The clinical hypnotherapist does not have that luxury. He or she
has to accept most people who come in the door.
So what does hypnosis feel like? Well, it's similar to that Sunday morning
feeling when you're half awake, half asleep. You know the world is out there,
but you simply choose to relax and stay in bed.
It is one of the best feelings in the Universe. Some people feel they are
floating, others feel they are simply heavy and warm. Frequently there is an absence
of all stress, all tension, and many discomforts can disappear. It is
very difficult to describe -- exactly -- like trying to describe
a sunrise to someone who cannot see, or describing beautiful music to
someone who cannot hear. You have to experience it yourself. And you can do
it without drugs or chemicals. It is in ability that lies within each
and everyone one of us. Once you have experienced hypnosis, you will
know what I mean, that you cannot explain it -- exactly.
Instruction: Relax and Let Go
Self Hypnosis and Relaxation CD Programs
Creating Self-talk for Wellbeing
Exercise: Improving Your Memory
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