When you hear the word “hypnosis”, you might think of stage hypnotists and cheesy movies, but in fact hypnosis has been used for years for deep inner healing. There are many different types of ‘trance’, (which is the altered state of mind required for hypnosis). Every day most people find themselves in a trance state – daydreaming, irrational fears or anger, glued to the television, driving on ‘automatic’ – to name a few examples. In fact, as a practicing counsellor and hypnotherapist, my job is not so much to hypnotise people, but to de-hypnotise them!The most effective hypnotists in life are the ones you didn’t know were hypnotising you – and usually they didn’t know either! Who are they? Parents, teachers, leaders, film makers, and, of course, advertisers!
Think about the following scenario: A four year old child is carrying a glass of juice across the room. Mum notices and says loudly “don’t spill that!” Instantly the child focuses on the glass, stumbles and juice goes everywhere. Mum explodes with some choice words of admonishment and the child bursts into tears. This is a classic example of hypnosis. The authoritative voice (mum), creates and utilises an altered state (trance) through indirect suggestion (“don’t spill”), and follows up with a direct post-hypnotic suggestion (“you are an idiot! You never learn”). It is post-hypnotic because, if the child accepts the suggestion, he or she will always see themselves as an idiot who doesn’t learn. You may wonder why the command “don’t spill” is an indirect suggestion.Let me illustrate by having you try a little experiment. For the next few seconds do not think about your breathing.
Don’t think about whether you are breathing up high in your chest, or down low in your abdomen or whether you are taking deep or shallow breaths. Okay .. be honest. Did you start thinking about your breathing, if only for a moment? Oh dear! You see, in order to *not* think about something, your brain first has to represent it in your mind, and then try to somehow erase the image. The subconscious mind does not process the negation. Notice how different it might have been had the mum said “That’s right, love, be careful.” Of course, this is only one type of trance. Stage hypnotists utilises many different psychological tricks, and everybody concerned knows that the entire act is for purely entertainment purposes
Hypnotherapy, on the other hand, is always for the positive healing or growth of the client. Very few people are able to go into a deep somnambulistic state (where they appear to be in a coma and don’t remember the proceedings).There are also different types of ‘inductions’ (the method for putting a person into trance). Some are fast – mostly the type used by stage hypnotists, or sometimes by hypnotherapists where it is useful. Mostly, though, the slow ‘relaxotherapy’ method is used, as it allows the client to feel fully in control and really enjoy flowing with the process. Most therapy only requires a light trance state where the conscious mind is fully aware of what is going on and the client is fully in control.
Some people believe that they cannot be hypnotised – and if you reject the suggestions, then that is absolutely true! However we don’t realise that in many ways we are hypnotised every day – as I mentioned before – when we just obey suggestions without even thinking about it! Most people know that hypnotherapy is used to help people to stop smoking, or for past life regression, but don’t realise that it is incredibly effective for many more issues such as depression, anger management, pain, weight loss, insomnia, addiction, stress relief, anxiety, panic attacks, fears and phobias, confidence and self-esteem, exam nerves and many others too numerous to mention.
It can even help you to increase your concentration and learn more easily! The subconscious mind is extremely powerful, and hypnotherapy helps us to access that power with the full co-operation of your conscious mind.Have you ever wanted to do something but there just seemed to be a ‘block’ that stopped you? Or have you ever wanted to *stop* doing something and seemed unable to control the habit? Of course you have – we are all victims of our pre-conditioning.
Hypnotherapy helps you to undo these unhelpful behaviour patterns. Sometimes standard suggestion therapy is sufficient – as for smoking (barring any deep seated reasons for not quitting) and pain management. This is the type of therapy most hypnotherapists are trained to do. A good hypnotherapist, though, will be able to find the triggers and anchors that cause various behaviours or thought patterns, and then help you to process them positively.