There are a lot of misconceptions about what ‘hypnosis’ really is. Often people think that to be hypnotized means allowing the hypnotist to use mind control, however this is in fact incorrect. A lot of this misinformation comes from 100+ years ago when individuals were superstitious and afraid of the unknown, afraid of being ‘mesmerized’ by another, afraid of being offered ‘suggestions’. A persons mind will never accept any thought that it isn’t in agreement with. During hypnosis a person is always in control, if they choose to open their eyes and walk out they can, that is the truth. And yes that even includes the people on the ‘stage’ at a hypnotist show.
When I first went to school for hypnotherapy I went in with the attitude that I could not be hypnotized, I was cynical and also a bit arrogant and ignorant as to what hypnosis really was. I also didn’t want to receive any silly suggestions. I was correct in the assumption I could not be hypnotized because if a person doesn’t ‘agree’ or ‘allow’ themselves to be hypnotized then they won’t be. However, once I ‘allowed’ it I went in to a deep state of hypnosis and it was absolutely wonderful.
Years previous to studying hypnosis I had tried to by hypnotized, but didn’t have a great experience. The therapist was male, he had his office in the basement and his office was in a bit of disarray. I immediately began to doubt my decision and being a young female you can see why this scenario wouldn’t be conducive to building rapport and trust. Rapport is key to allowing yourself to let go and enjoy the experience. If you don’t trust the person taking you’ in’ then it’s probably not going to work out. (I use the word ‘in’ because the word ‘under’ infers that the person is under the others control which is incorrect.)
Every day people are in a natural state of hypnosis whether they know it or not. For example, have you ever driven to work, pulled up in your parking stall and couldn’t remember even driving to work? How did you get there? Who did the driving? Or maybe your children ‘zone’ out in front of the TV like zombies and you have to call their names several times to get their attention. Or you’re in a classroom and the instructor is terribly dry, the material doesn’t resonate with you so your mind takes off on a wild adventure, ‘day dreaming’ about your next vacation and your eyes give off that blank stare. Or you’re reading a book and you are so engaged in it you lose all track of time? All these are examples of natural hypnosis….people just get caught up on the vernacular.
So why do we all possess this ability to go into a state of trance or hypnosis or daydreaming or zoning out? I believe it’s just a natural part of our make up just like breathing. When we slip in to that state naturally our bodies are relaxed, our mind is either creating, or thinking about solutions to a problem or imagining the characters/scenes in a book, or visualizing something you wish to have in the future. It’s a delightful gift especially when you learn what it’s capable of.
The majority of people don’t know how to make this creative faculty work for them, instead they allow the mind to chatter like a hamster running in a wheel or like a viral program, thinking many thoughts at a time. This can lead to insomnia at night or anxiety, worry, distraction etc. simply because they haven’t learnt how to manage their own consciousness.
The subconscious mind doesn’t know reality from illusion it is impersonal, it responds to the consciousness, the thoughts/images you focus on and helps you achieve your objective. If your focus is negative you achieve negative results, if your focus is positive you achieve positive results. The hypnotherapist can be very beneficial because they teach you how to direct your own consciousness.
I will end with a personal story that will summarize what I am trying to get across. I had a young teenage client who believed that he was poor in mathematics. Somewhere in his history he was told he was ‘slow’ and was put in remedial math, this was the negative program he had been running. I hypnotized him and offered suggestions of a different ‘self-image’ a different ‘story’ if you will and because he trusted me, rapport had been built and he believed the words, he allowed the suggestions. I am happy to report he is an ‘A’ student in math; his only issue was his belief that he was poor in math which was in fact not true.