Upon learning I am a hypnotherapist, the typical reaction is, “wow that is fascinating!” immediately followed by, “what does it mean exactly?” Although many people are familiar with hypnosis as portrayed on television, throughout media and stage performance, it is often misunderstood. One of the most common misconceptions is that a hypnotist can control the mind of another, forcing the person to do whatever they tell them. For example, if the hypnotherapist tells their subject to cluck like a chicken, that person will cluck forever until they are released of mental bondage. In reality this just cannot happen.
Even the dictionary definition of hypnosis is somewhat mysterious: “A trance-like state that resembles sleep but is induced by a person whose suggestions are readily accepted by the subject” – makes perfect sense right?
Before I lose you by quoting the dictionary, let me give you a digestible explanation of what hypnosis actually IS. Hypnosis is a very calm and relaxing state in which the door to the subconscious mind is open, allowing change to happen quickly and effectively. If your conscious brain is the tip of the iceberg (the part in which thoughts, memories and responses are quickly accessed), the subconscious mind is the vast underwater part that holds deep, sometimes painful, memories and “knowns” about our world that control how we understand and respond.
Hypnotherapy is a process in which a hypnotherapist helps YOU to gain access to YOUR subconscious mind, therefore allowing effective change to take place by aligning the desires of your conscious mind to the knowns of your subconscious mind. Say for instance, that you want to quit smoking. Consciously, you may know all the reasons you want to quit – cigarettes smell, you hate being judged by strangers, you’re afraid of getting lung cancer… but subconsciously the positive knowns about cigarettes are stronger. It could be that subconsciously cigarettes relax you more than anything else, that they allow you to have a break from work or social engagements without question, that you love the ritual of holding them in your hand and blowing the smoke out of your mouth. These are all POSITIVE rewards that your subconscious brain is not easily going to give up!
What I do as a hypnotherapist is take those positive knowns and reverse them in your subconscious mind, aligning the subconscious with the conscious. By suggesting that the negatives far outweigh the positives, you are able to actually quit! Your conscious and subconscious are on the same page. There are so many things hypnotherapy can help with; just to name a few… goal setting, motivation, anxiety, addiction recovery, anger management, pain management, fears and phobias, weight loss, OCD, heart break, public speaking, habit control, confidence, stress release, bed wetting… the opportunities are endless. By aligning your subconscious mind to what you consciously want to achieve, the sky’s the limit on what you can accomplish, you are no longer standing in YOUR OWN WAY.
Hypnosis is a completely normal and natural state we go into everyday – including right before we wake up and go to sleep. It is relaxing, releasing, and an incredible way to connect to yourself. “Visualization journeys” under hypnosis are another way in which I can help my clients to deeply relax, uncover blocks and even create new neural pathways in the brain! By experiencing a situation (under hypnosis) in a different way than you ever have before, you create a new neural pathway – instead of using the same one that has led to the same undesired results. For example, if someone who has unsuccessfully tried to lose weight for years can see themselves actually accomplishing what they are setting out to achieve, this creates a new neural pathway where their efforts lead to success. By seeing themselves subconsciously at their goal weight, physically happy, and feeling what it emotionally feels like to have accomplished their goal, successful weight loss is no longer an unknown in their mind! Moving toward their goal in digestible, bite-sized steps, they have a clear vision of the end result and the road that the new neural pathway strengthens.
Let me leave you with a few tidbits to chew on – 1. Not only will you automatically reject suggestions under hypnosis that you do not believe benefit you, but you also cannot get “stuck” in hypnosis. The worst thing that happens if you are not “counted out” is that you might just be really sleepy and probably shouldn’t drive for awhile. 2. The conscious brain is estimated to make up 12% of the mind whereas the subconscious mind makes up for a whopping 88%! That is a lot of space that we do not have easy access to, but with hypnotherapy we are able to get there and make changes on a deep inner part of ourselves. Last thing, hypnosis is not a magical “cure”. 3. I tell all of my clients that we are co-creators in your success! I will help align the conscious mind with the subconscious mind, making it easier for YOU to do the work to accomplish whatever it is that you want to accomplish!
If any of this intrigues you and you are interested to try hypnotherapy for yourself please reach out. I can’t wait to help you achieve your dreams!