What is hypnosis?

Unfortunately hypnosis has been buried under decades of myth, misconception and manipulation. It has been one of the most misunderstood of the complimentary sciences. Over the years, the accumulation of positive scientific research has become too great to ignore.

Hypnosis research organizations:

American Society of Clinical Hypnosis http://www.asch.net/
Society for Clinical and Exp. Hypnosis http://www.sceh.us/index.htm
Inter Journal of Clinical and Exp. Hypnosis  http://ijceh.educ.wsu.edu
American Psychological Association http://www.apa.org/divisions/div30/

Hypnosis is now consistently validated as one of the leading therapeutic tools for personal positive change. Today’s practicing hypnotists have benefited from all of the dedicated research by these fine organizations.

Knowledge is power for the practitioners and clients alike. Research certainly helps me better understand the science of hypnosis, which in turn helps me prepare and treat my clients. Informed individuals have a good idea of what hypnosis is and how to productively use it are more likely to experience their desired success.

I describe hypnosis as a daydream on demand. During hypnosis, we go to the same level of thought as when we zone out, meditate or practice guided imagery or progressive relaxation. This is when the subconscious mind becomes open and active. With hypnosis, our goal is to positively empower an individual’s inner thoughts to support their goals.

Imagine that wonderful feeling we all experience during a deep daydream moment, when we don’t have a care in the world. It feels like a layer of comforting insulation has been added between us and the stressful assembly line of life. The reason daydreams feel different than our usual reality is because the subconscious becomes a bit more open and active than it normally is.
We are all hardwired with this ability to access the subconscious mind or long-term memory. Unfortunately, until we learn about hypnosis, the only time we usually experience this is while staring mindlessly at a television or computer screen, waiting in line at the grocery store, or on a long drive when we have no conscious memory of parts of the trip.

The reason it is so helpful to visit this level of thought is that it is where we store all of our life experiences, habits, patterns, values and beliefs. With such unique access to the subconscious two important goals can be accomplished: We can remove unproductive values, habits or beliefs and we can also replace them with preferred alternatives With hypnosis, the unproductive connection to past problems can be quickly severed, thereby freeing one to establish a new life path.

You go to the physical gym to increase your stamina and strength. Why not go to the mental gym to positively enhance your thoughts and perception? The repetition of physical exercise tones and strengthens our bodies just as the repetition of hypnosis establishes and solidifies a new philosophy of positive change.

As a hypnotist, I teach individuals to relax in a particular way and then guide them into the depths of subconscious thought where dreams can manifest into a new reality. Clients apply meaning to the message in whatever manner works best for them. Some connect more with the words while others create vivid imagery. Enabling clients to understand this simple truth helps them to own the process which further empowers them to shape the lives they choose to live.

To those who doubt that they can be hypnotized, I ask if they like the idea of becoming so powerfully relaxed that they can easily establish positive change. Who could resist such a notion? If an individual has difficulty entering into hypnosis it is more likely due to inadequate preparation or technique on the part of the hypnotist. In my experience this is never an issue.

Another significant part of the process is rapport. Effective sessions require a relationship of trust and cooperation. If clients feel comfortable with the process and the practitioner, and values what is suggested to them during a session, then success usually follows.

As a baseline, even for those uninformed about hypnosis would agree that we have a short-term and long-term memory. The short-term memory is the conscious mind and the long-term memory is the subconscious mind. The conscious mind is the more active of the two. It is the gate keeper, it analyzes, judges, accepts or denies information for storage in subconscious mind.

The subconscious is a complex and powerful place. Think of it as our storage and control center. It is also the home of our imagination. The subconscious is active when we daydream, zone out, watch television, and when we sleep. It is also active when we’re hypnotized. When clients understand that entering into hypnosis is something we are all familiar with, the process is easier, more enjoyable and productive.

By: Paul Gustafson RN CH