Hi, I am Brad Buchanan Clinical Hypnotherapist.
This week I want to talk about hypnosis and how it works in a therapeutic environment.
Hypnosis – What is it?
Hypnosis is the bypass of the critical factor of the conscious mind and the establishment of expectable selective thinking.
What does this all mean? Well basically it means that we bypass that critical judgement part of the conscious mind and established selective thinking and when this happens we then get a doorway to our subconscious mind, our emotional mind.
How does hypnosis work?
It is very important for you to understand basically how your mind works. But you know we really have three very separate and very distinct minds. They do different things and they have a hard time inter-relating and communicating with each other.
First, we have a conscious mind. Well, that’s where we are right now. Below that level of awareness, we have something called the subconscious mind. And yet there is a still deeper part of us, the unconscious mind, that is a part of us that does two things. First, it controls the strength or weakness of the immune system and, secondly, it controls the functions, the automatic body functions, such as; our heart beating, our eyes blinking and things like this.
The conscious mind is where we spend most of our time. I want you to understand that it basically only does four things. The first thing it does, it analyses. That is the part of us that looks at problems, analyses them, figures a way to solve those particular problems bothering us at the moment. It is also the part of us that makes the hundreds of decisions we have to make just to get through an average day, decisions we think are automatic; but in fact, are not.
Now, the second part of the conscious mind is a part that starts to get us into a little trouble sometimes. We call this the rational part of our conscious mind. This part of us must give us a reason why we do the things we do. You see if we don’t have a reason why we do the things that we do, we become anxious, nervous, frustrated and if it goes on long enough, it can lead to serious mental illness. The only problem with the reason the rational mind may give us on why we do the things that we do is number one, it is never original. For example, a smoker says he smokes because it calms him, makes him feel relaxed. Before the smoker developed his habit, he heard other people that smoked say, “I smoke because it makes me feel calm and relaxed. The main problem with the reason the rational mind gives you is that its pretty much always wrong.
Now, the next part of the conscious mind is what we call will power. Now, we are all familiar with will power. You might say, “I’m going to put down this pack of cigarettes and nothing on this earth will make me start smoking again.” Well, we all know how long that lasts! Just until willpower weakens and then the old habit pattern comes back again.
The last part of the conscious mind is what we call working memory. That’s the memory we need every day. How do I find my way to work? What’s my husband or wife’s name? The memory we need just to get through an average day. Now, this is all that the conscious mind does. It does nothing else. So the conscious mind is logical and very analytical and frequently wrong.
Now, where the REAL you, me and everyone else lives is in the level below the conscious called the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind is awesomely powerful. It can make you into anything you would like to be. Rich and famous, thin, happy or sad, it is the real us. To understand how the subconscious mind works, you need to understand that it is very much like a computer and it operates just like a computer operates. Now a computer can only operate based on the programming that is placed in it and it must operate on that programming, it has no choice. You know that if you change the programming in a computer that you buy at a store, it no longer can operate on the old programming and it must operate on the new programming information that has been placed into it. Well, this is the way our subconscious mind works. It is a computer.
What are some of the operational software, if you will, that is in this internal computer? First is all our memory, since the day we were born. We think of things that have happened to us in the past as either forgotten or as retained in the form of memory.
The subconscious mind is like a video camera. Everything that has ever happened to you, that you have heard, seen, smelled or tasted is locked permanently into the memory banks of your subconscious mind. If there is a reason to, in hypnosis we can access that memory bank and it seems like we can actually travel back in time. Now, this is much more than recall, it is actually like you are there, it is happening all over again.
The second programming we have in the subconscious mind is habits. Now, you have three kinds of habits. Good habits, bad habits but most of our habits aren’t good or bad, most of our habits really are utilitarian habits.
Now the next thing in our subconscious mind is emotion. We have good emotions, unhealthy emotions and these can sometimes get us into trouble. The conscious mind cannot deal with emotions in any way, that is not part of its job. Any time we need emotion our conscious mind parts and we deal with this particular situation with our subconscious mind. Sometimes it gets us into trouble, I know that many times in the past you’ve dealt with a situation and it didn’t have to have a lot of emotion, just a little bit. Then after the situation was over and that analytical conscious mind took over again, you heard yourself thinking or saying something like this, “Why did I say that?” “Why did I do that, it was so stupid.”
Now, the next thing in the subconscious mind, and probably the most important part of it is our protective mind. It must protect us against danger real OR imagined. You see something imagined by the subconscious mind is just as if it was actually happening, it can’t tell the difference. And it must protect us against danger.
The last part of the subconscious mind is a negative part of us. Although the subconscious is so powerful, it is also the laziest part of us. It doesn’t like to do the work that is required to accept positive suggestions to give us change in areas where we would like to have changed. It likes to keep things the way they are, it takes too much work to make a change in a positive way. And positive suggestions are one of the most difficult things to get into our subconscious minds. On the other hand, negative suggestions go into this inner part of us like a hot knife through butter, because it doesn’t take any work to accept a negative suggestion.
Let me show you how this works. You take a very heavy person and they get out of the shower. They’re standing in front of a mirror towelling off, what do you think they are saying to themselves as they are looking into that mirror? “Boy, I am overweight.” Now that idea or thought of words go right into the subconscious mind and the subconscious mind says, “Yes, that matches the programming that I have in here, that matches my perception of you.” Therefore, it accepts that suggestion so the perception of that individual being overweight becomes stronger and they become heavier. On the other hand, if you take that same heavy person and stand them in front of that mirror and have them say, “I’m thin, I’m trim and I’m attractive.” That goes toward the subconscious mind and the subconscious mind says, “No, that does not match the programming,” and it’s not allowed in.
How do we get suggestions into the inner mind? Now, it is so important for you to understand this, if an idea, a thought or a concept is allowed to go into the subconscious mind, it must happen. You are changing programming and that inner mind must respond to new programming. But it is not that easy.
Let me explain how it works. You make a decision, oh, let’s say to stop smoking. You make your mind up at the conscious level that nothing in the world is going to stop you from ending the smoking habit. Now, your conscious mind says, “That’s wonderful and I support you one hundred per cent. But, to have change, you have got to get it down into your computer in order to change that programming. And so you say fine, and you start to send that idea down to the subconscious mind. But here is the problem.
There’s one more part of the conscious mind. I want you to think of this part of your conscious mind as kind of an employee of the subconscious. It does exactly what it is told and it only has one job. That job is to stop and to put on hold, any suggestion of positive change that we give ourselves or receive from an outside source. It stops it.
And then in a way, we don’t understand, but we do know it happens, there is a communication between this part of us called the critical factor of the conscious and the subconscious mind. The critical factor says, “Well, this person wants to stop smoking, can I let this suggestion in?” Now, remember, if that suggestion goes into the inner mind, it must happen. But the subconscious mind says, “Wait a minute. He’s been smoking for twenty years, he needs cigarettes for security.” Or whatever reason there may be for that person. So reject that suggestion.
Well, that’s the critical factor’s boss, so the critical factor of the conscious mind kind of turns into a mirror and rejects that suggestion and it can not go into the inner mind.
How do we get suggestion into that subconscious mind?
We use something called hypnosis. Now, what hypnosis does is this. It by-passes the critical factor, that is blocking part of our conscious mind. Now, this is what most people think hypnosis really is. If this was all hypnosis was, then some of the stories you may have heard about hypnosis might be true. Things like a hypnotist can control you. Well if this was all it was, that would be true. But we were not left that defenceless. But the instant this critical factor of our conscious mind is bypassed, what happens is this, we go into a very deep state of hypnosis.
Now, when we are in the state of hypnosis, it is not what you expect it to be. Our bodies are very relaxed, but, the more we go into hypnosis, the more our conscious mind becomes alert. In the deeper levels of hypnosis, your conscious mind is two to three hundred per cent more alert than you are at this very moment. All of your five senses, including hearing, smelling, tasting, and seeing are hundreds of times better than they are right now.
So when you are in hypnosis, you are not asleep, you are extremely alert, probably more alert and clear-minded than you have ever been before. Now the important thing to understand about this is that the conscious mind takes on a different role when you are in hypnosis. It takes on a protective role. When you receive a suggestion in hypnosis, you hear it loud and clear.
When you hear that suggestion with your conscious mind, you must, and you really do have no choice, make one of four decisions about that suggestion. Which decision you make determines whether that suggestion is allowed to enter your subconscious mind or whether it is rejected. If it is allowed to enter, the client will have the change they desire, if it is rejected, there will be no change.
What are those four decisions or choices? Well, the first one could be, when you hear the suggestion, you think to yourself “I like that suggestion, I know that one is going to work great for me!” Now, that mental attitude at the conscious level allows that suggestion to go into your computer, the subconscious mind, and change begins. You have three other choices. The next choice could be, that suggestion is uncomfortable for you. Well, if that suggestion sounds uncomfortable to you for any reason, it is automatically blocked with the conscious mind and it is not allowed to enter the computer.
The next choice could be that you are neutral about the suggestion, you don’t care if you get it or you don’t care if you don’t get it. It is kind of a meaningless suggestion to you. The conscious mind automatically blocks that suggestion.
The last choice you have is probably a choice which causes more people to fail with hypnosis. When you hear the suggestion, you say to yourself, “I like that suggestion, I hope it works for me!” The word hope is the twin sister of the word try and try means automatic failure. If you look back on your life being honest with yourself, anytime you tried to do something, you failed. If you look back at your life, anytime you have said to yourself, “I’m going to do it,” you did it, and you probably did it very well.
Now, let me give you some real truths, we go in and out of hypnosis all day. For a lot of people they spend a majority of their time in Hypnosis. All hypnosis is self-hypnosis. You don’t need a hypnotist to take you into a beautiful, deep state of hypnosis and you certainly don’t need a hypnotist to give you suggestions of positive change. You can do that all by yourself. The reason you go to see a hypnotherapist is only that you do not know how to do it.
If you have any questions or would like to know how hypnotherapy can work for you, I offer a free 15-minute phone consultation, where I will be happy to answer any of your questions.
Please call me with any questions you may have 07 5571-0001.