Hypnosis is a state of mind: It’s what we do in hypnotherapy that matters. Whenever you see a product or service that claims to fix anything and everything, it’s natural to be skeptical. Hypnosis for therapy is a process – not a treatment or a cure. As such, it can be applied to anything: it’s a bit like cooking.
When I say, “I can cook any kind of food,” you understand what I mean. With the right ingredients, the right techniques and the right amount of time, I could probably make just about anything. When I end up with a delicious cheesecake (the best EVER is from the Cooks’ Illustrated recipe) I don’t say the cookbook made dessert.
Hypnosis is a natural state
Hypnosis is a natural yet altered state. Although its name stems from the Greek word for sleep, it’s not quite the same thing. In hypnosis, your conscious attention is diverted or relaxed. It’s more like the twilight before and after sleep — you’re aware of everything going on around you, you are just more focused on the inner world than the outer one.
A good example is when you are so engrossed in watching a movie that when it ends you’re surprised to find yourself in the theater.
Most people have experienced “highway hypnosis,” which is when you get in the car and then suddenly arrive at work or home with no recollection of part of the drive. You were aware of your surroundings – you didn’t crash – but your attention was diverted. If there had been an emergency, like a siren sounding or a car cutting in front of you, you would have snapped back to the present.
In hypnosis, too, your conscious attention is napping, but still aware. If someone gives you a suggestion that bothers you, it won’t pass unnoticed.
You’re in control
Some people associate hypnosis with a lack of control, but it’s really the opposite. You may already be hypnotized into believing all sorts of illogical things about yourself and the world around you.
With hypnotherapy (the therapeutic use of the hypnotic trance) you can take back control of your mind.
Your brain is like a computer. Most of the time you’re running off programming from childhood – that’s when you were most suggestible and when most of your basic associations were formed. Let’s say, for example, that as a kid you got it in your head that if you speak in public you’re likely to be laughed at and humiliated. You can tell yourself all day long to be calm on stage, but if you have that fear you are still going to shake and sweat. Willpower just won’t work. In hypnosis, you can reach inside and make a different emotional link to being on stage. You don’t have to be brave, or feel the fear and do it anyway — it just won’t bother you any more.
That’s how powerful your subconscious mind is. The links you have there are much more deep and long-lasting than the thoughts you have on a conscious level.
If you’ve ever been frustrated while quitting smoking or losing weight you know what I mean. You can decide what to do, but when it comes to making yourself want to do it, that’s another story. In fact, you may be trying too hard.
Willing yourself to change is just like trying to remember that name on the tip of your tongue: the harder you try, the more you resist. In hypnosis, you send your conscious mind to go nap in the corner. While it’s out of the way, in a hypnotic state, or trance, communication with the subconscious is open.
What is trance?
There are many ways to go into trance. Meditation and prayer can induce trance. So can music, drumming, and rhythmic breathing. Drug-induced trance is different and much less useful because it’s harder to control, although some of the most popular street drugs (LSD, ecstasy) were first used in therapeutic settings.
A hypnotist helps you send your conscious mind for a rest while you access the subconscious. Stage hypnotists use the trance to help people engage their playful sides. Volunteers access their creative, child-like imaginations and cheerful play along in skits. Because they’re so relaxed and suggestible, they often find they’re more creative than usual and their inhibitions are lowered. Still, no one can make them cluck like a chicken if they really feel strongly about not doing it.
A hypnotherapist uses trance to help anchor positive suggestions in the subconscious. You can become motivated to exercise, for example, by linking the idea of exercising with a powerful, positive emotional state.
Free Hypnosis Consultation
If you’re ready to learn how you can improve your quality of life with hypnosis, contact clinical hypnotherapist Stephanie Voss at (323) 478-1920 to discover how effective hypnotherapy can be to help people stop smoking, lose weight, reduce pain, improve performance, and enhance wellness.