All About Hypnosis
Learn what hypnosis really is, how it works, and answer frequently asked questions about clinical hypnosis for healing and self-enhancement.
What is Hypnosis?
Hypnosis is often misunderstood and misrepresented, especially in the media. Perhaps you have seen a movie where "hypnosis" was shown to control a person's thoughts; or maybe you went to a stage show where a "hypnotist" got audience members to bark like a dog or act in other bizarre ways. These are amusing forms of entertainment, but they're false depictions of hypnosis.
Did you know that everyone has experienced hypnosis before? Every day, in fact! The term hypnosis (from the Greek word hypnos, meaning sleep) actually refers to a natural state when alpha and theta waves are produced in the brain. This happens, for example, when we are daydreaming, deeply relaxed, or in meditation.
Hypnosis also happens quite naturally right before we fall asleep and in the morning when we first wake up. At those times, brain activity is in the alpha/theta range, the mind and body are relaxed, and imagination is more vivid.
You might have experienced a similar kind of hypnosis at other times, too. Have you ever been watching a movie and felt your body reacting to the emotions of the characters? Did you jump at the scary parts or smile or cry at a happy ending? We have these physical reactions when our minds have shifted into hypnosis, naturally, and we begin to feel the story as if it were happening to us.
At HypnoMotiv, we apply hypnosis in much the same way. We teach our clients how to relax their minds and enter the hypnotic state quickly and easily. You can then use that heightened state of imagination as a powerful way of learning.
Hypnosis is a Way of Learning
You might already know that our minds process information on both conscious and subconscious levels. The conscious mind is where our rational, critical thinking happens; but only a small amount of our mental activity is conscious. Most of what goes on in the mind is subconscious, and we are totally unaware of it.
The subconscious is like the brain's computer programming: it runs automatically in the background. It controls most of our reactions and behaviors. Every person's "programming" is different because the subconscious learns its reactions from our life experiences in a process called association.
We can understand how association works with a simple example:
Imagine that two people are walking down the street and both spot a dog coming toward them. The first person is delighted to see the dog; she wants to pet it, and her mood (perhaps even her entire day) is improved just by seeing the dog.
The second person, on the other hand, sees the same dog and begins to experience rapid breathing, his body tenses up, and he might even run away.
How does the same dog cause two people to react so differently?
This happens because each person's subconscious mind contains different associations about dogs. That is, they have each learned to respond to the presence of a dog in different ways. The first person may have had only positive experiences with dogs in the past, so her associations are all positive. The second person may have been bitten or chased by a dog as a child, and then his subconscious learned a negative association to dogs.
We act on our subconscious associations automatically and without thinking. When we see a dog, we do not stop to choose how we will feel about dogs today. Our subconscious simply feels what it has learned to feel about dogs in the past, and that shapes how we react in the present. The same is true in nearly every situation.
Can't we change our behaviors by changing our thinking?
Well, yes and no. It's very difficult to consciously change the associations we have learned. Let's imagine, for example, that the person who was very fearful of dogs told himself, "I'm will stop feeling afraid right now." Of course, that rarely works.
That's because the subconscious does not easily forget what it has learned. The job of the subconscious mind is to protect us from the unknown. It does this by sticking to what it knows (dogs are scary, run!), even if we try to use our conscious thinking to tell ourselves otherwise.
The subconscious mind resists anything that is unknown, even if the new information is very good and makes sense to our rational minds. This is why we can sometimes want to make a change but fall back into our old behaviors. The subconscious continues to motivate us toward those trusty known patterns.
The purpose of hypnosis is to replace those old, unwanted patterns that are holding you back. We do this by speaking directly to the subconscious mind to help it learn new associations that are beneficial to your goals.
How Hypnosis Works
During a hypnosis session, clients are taken through a learning process to uncover the underlying associations standing in the way of their desired goals.
Then, by relaxing the mind and body into hypnosis, we reach a state of increased suggestibility where we can speak directly to the subconscious. We use this state to build new, positive associations that will benefit the client and help them succeed. This kind of learning is very effective, and it can happen very quickly!
Positive changes can occur during the very first hypnosis session. A particular discomfort may suddenly disappear forever. Other times, changes will show up days or weeks after, when suddenly you notice that your feelings and reactions to situations have improved without thinking about it.
Either way, hypnosis brings lasting changes, even in cases of the most stubborn issues. Hypnosis is therefore a powerful way to motivate and support self-improvement.
And most importantly, hypnosis is an enjoyable experience! You will find your sessions comfortable, relaxing, and fun. It is very common to hear "I feel great!" and see a big smile on a client's face after hypnosis.
If you are curious to learn more about hypnosis, our practice at HypnoMotiv, and what happens in a typical hypnosis session, check out the list of Frequently Asked Questions below.