There are many definitions and explanations of what hypnosis is. The most understandable is the following:
Hypnosis is a
natural, highly-focused state of mind in which the unconscious
mind is free to act without any interference from consciousness
Therapeutic Hypnotherapy, an AMA-approved medical treatment since 1958, induces a state of relaxation similar to the calm, delightful comfortable feeling that comes to you before you drift off to sleep. With proper guidance, you will establish a deep connection with your inner self and your subconscious mind will open, making itself available to positive suggestion for beneficial change. By channelling the power of your mind, you will bring about a more positive perception of yourself. Positive attitude lead to a more productive life, a life free of stress, and addictive self defeating behavior.
FUNCTIONS OF THE CONSCIOUS MIND
First of all, we have this idea of a vague conscious mind. The conscious mind is what we'd like to think of as being ourselves. It is our intellect, it is the choices we make every day, it is the things that we are aware of.
Think of your conscious mind as a little bit like a searchlight in the middle of a dark cave. The search light can only look at one portion of that cave. Wherever the light goes and shines on, you can see a few things, four, five or six object, but then the light runs out and the rest is in darkness.
The darkness, the things that you are not aware of, that is your unconscious mind. And the relationship between the light in the cave is actually quite a nice metaphor for the one between the conscious mind and the unconscious mind.
The conscious mind has certain limitations. For starters, you can only process seven plus or minus two bits of information. What that really means is that if I gave you a random set of facts to remember, by he time I get to six or seven facts, you can probably hold that reasonably easily inside your mind. Eight or nine facts, it starts to be a little trickier.
Ten, eleven, twelve.....you'd have to be a trained memory expert to be able o hold all those things in your mind at the same time. The reason for this is because your focus of attention is limited to how many things you can deal with at a time.
FUNCTIONS OF THE UNCONSCIOUS MIND
The unconscious mind can handle millions and millions of pieces of information at the same time. Many time we experience a problem, it goes over and over in our minds but we cannot find a solution, however, when we sleep on it we find that in the morning the answer just seems so obvious. This is only one of the things that the unconscious mind can do for us, it helps us find solutions to our problems and helps us get through life.
The unconscious mind is everything that is happening in the background. It can be compared to a computer, when you are working on a document that is our conscious mind, that is where your attention is, and the file it ends up in, is the unconscious mind. And just like the computer it has many different things operating at the same time. It runs automatically allowing you the freedom to choose your way through life.
There are many unconscious processes that we are unaware of. Another example, the unconscious mind runs your body. It runs your heart, your internal organs, your blood pressure. You never think "Oh I have to remember to beat my heart 80 time a minute. It also protects us, being in a difficult situation and suddenly you know exactly what to do or say without knowing how you knew.
Likewise there are many unconscious processes we can be totally aware of and have influence over when we choose to focus our minds in a certain way. Right now you are reading this information and maybe thinking about what you are reading. What you are probably not aware of is the sensation of your body sitting in the chair or the temperature of the skin of your back and shoulder. However, now that I have mentioned it , your attention is drawn towards them and something that was not conscious a moment ago suddenly becomes conscious. It is not that they did not exist whilst you weren't paying attention, there was no reason for you to be aware of them until I mentioned them.
When we drive a car we never sit and say "Okay I need to put my foot on the gas, then I will put my foot on the break, then I will hold onto the steering wheel and guide the car, now I will put my foot on the break to slow down," There is no need to do that, because your unconscious mind is creative. Creativity is not a gift that people have, it is a file inside the mind that you can access. And through the assistance of a certified hypnotist you can be guided into the different files and discover abilities that you were not aware of.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE UNCONSCIOUS MIND
- Protect and Survive:- (flight or flight response)
- Emotional Protection:- ( The unconscious mind can protect you from emotional wounds. Fear of making a mistake or being in an embarrassing situation For whatever the reason the unconscious mind is going to protect you from the emotional pain by giving you the fear not to enter into the event to find an excuse not to do a certain thing. Or a repressed memory that still has a strong negative charge, and rather than deal with it, your unconscious mind stores it away to be dealt with when you are able to do so.)
- Maintain Health:- (Regulating blood pressure, regulating temperature, regulating internal organs, increasing the healing process, decreases blood flow after an accident, The unconscious mind runs your body.
- Stores Memory:- (when you think of a telephone number, where was that number a moment before you thought about it? It had to be hovering there in your mind somewhere. With hypnosis you can retrieve memories that you need to be able to succeed in life. Test taking.)
- Regulate Emotions:- (We do not choose how to feel at any given moment . We respond to something that is going on) All emotions are an unconscious phenomenon
- Wisdom, Experience and Ethics:- (In the same way it stores memory it stores your life experiences and the lessons we learn from those experience develop our wisdom, ethics and moral values.
Many people believe that things that are in the unconscious are inaccessible and repressed. Freud often talked about repressed feelings of the unconscious . However, this is not true. It may be difficult to obtain certain information at times albeit there are many unconscious processes that we can be totally aware of and have influence over when we choose to focus our minds in a certain way.
This gives you some very clear distinctions as a layperson and ease your mind that it is a simple goal to achieve without great difficulty. Knowing that it is a natural state and a highly focused state, you can probably go back to an experience when you were both highly focused and an altered state of consciousness arose totally naturally.
One can see that this state of mind can be very liberating and going into hypnosis is a wonderful way to develop automatic habits, which means you don't have to think about stuff anymore, you can get on with your life and think about the important things like what are you going to wear on your date.
CONSCIOUS -VS- UNCONSCIOUS CONFLICT
The above examples describe the unconscious mind coming to your rescue, doing what it is designed to do. The difficulties arise when there is conflict between the two.
A good example , Imagine that your mind and body are like a ship and the captain of the ship is a bit like your conscious mind. It is there to look into the distance and look at the charts, and then decide, "here is the way we are going to go." These are the directions we want to go in and this is the path that we'll take to get there. The unconscious mind is the ship and the whole of the crew. And whist the crew and the ship is well trained and does their thing, a captain just points the directions and enjoys the breeze, everything is find.
And yet, from time to time, the captain is getting a little bit nervous or loses a little bit of trust in his crew, and what happens then?
Either the captain is so busy running down stairs to check that the coal engine is working and swabs the decks and goes into the kitchen to prepare the dinner, who's minding the ship?
Who's deciding which direction to go? The crew gets frustrated because the captain is interfering and the captain and the ship lose the direction or purpose in life because the captain is too busy interfering with things that are best left to the crew.
This is an example of where hypnosis becomes a tremendously powerful tool. When people interfere in their own lives too much, when they get in there own way to bypass the captain, regulate the crew again, give them a new set of instruction so that they can do their job properly, give them a new set of conditions, and then the captain can get on with happily doing his job which is looking at the charts and deciding which way the ship should go".
ANSWERS TO THE MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Hypnosis is not a magical or mystical state. It does not take any special powers to either be a hypnotist or be hypnotized. It is a natural state that we go in and out of on a daily basis. When doing hypnotic work we want our clients to be in a highly focused state this way they can access abilities that are not normally within their range of conscious responses to have control over. Every day we go in and out of hypnosis, when reading a book, when viewing television, listening to music and many other activities.
Let me give you an example of everyday hypnosis. Have you ever driven your car and you suddenly arrive at your destination without consciously knowing how you arrived . You have no recollection of making any of the turns or any of the maneuvers in the past fifteen miles. You obviously had stopped at red lights, gone forward when the light turned green, and maneuvered your way through light or heavy traffic, yet you arrived at your destination safely.
Something inside you was aware of what was happening , and that something is the unconscious mind. Your unconscious mind was working automatically and was able to drive safely. With restrictions removed your conscious mind was engaged in daydreaming, perhaps about what you were going to do that evening, making a shopping list, mentally preparing a dinner or many other thoughts.
The human mind is a wonderful, complex and sophisticated thing. In order to not overload with all the complexities that exist, as hypnotists we have the advantages that we can use as a simplified model which will allow us to use the power of hypnosis quickly and easily without too much fuss.