What is Hypnosis - really?

Hypnosis in its simplest form is a deep state of relaxation that often increases access to some of the beliefs, memories, attitudes and emotions that are stored in the subconscious mind. Our conscious mind is that part of our thinking that we are aware of, and our subconscious mind is that part of our thinking that is below our awareness.  The theory suggests that it's our subconscious mind that is more important in determining our behaviour.

We are all hypnotised already

To a varying degrees we are all hypnotised and have been since birth. Hypnosis occurs when we accept somebody else's ideas without questioning them.  That happened a lot when we were kids because we trusted others around us. And now, some of us have stuff in our subconscious minds that we didn't put there and may not want.

But as we grow older, our conscious minds become like sentinels standing guard over our subconscious minds. It only allows thoughts in that are consistent with what we already believe.  In order to slip in a new belief we have to lull the guard to sleep.  That's what a hypnotist does.

During hypnosis in therapy we tend to focus on the more 'important' and serious issues, like recovering a deeply suppressed memory or 'planting' positive beliefs to improve self-concept.  But the power of the subconscious mind over the conscious mind is most clearly seen in stage hypnosis.

When a hypnotised young woman is told that the person in the audience is her favourite sexy movie star, Tom Cruise for example, she rushes toward him when she hears a cue word - even if the man looks like Danny DeVito - or is a woman.  She has painted a picture with her mind which overlays the actual reality before her. No amount of evidence to the contrary will convince her because her illusion is so convincing.

What does it feel like to be hypnotised?

When we are hypnotised it's somewhat like being a fish in the deep blue ocean.  The fish doesn't SEE the water.  That's its medium - it's whole world.  It sees other things, fish, plants, food, fishing boats, etc. but being in water isn't a concept it understands.  Being hypnotised is like that - not some groggy, sluggish, sleepy state.
It doesn't feel like anything.

Can people be harmed with hypnosis?

There are very few reported cases of psychological damage with hypnosis when conducted under the supervision of an experienced practitioner. And there are some circumstances (for example with some psychiatric disorders) where hypnosis may not be appropriate.

Since during hypnosis we implant only positive ideas that support a healthy self-mage there are rarely negative consequences.  Furthermore, because of our own moral codes and survival instinct, it is virtually impossible to implant directions to harm someone else, or ourselves.

We don't often use hypnosis in therapy because we find that the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) and the Sedona Method are very effective for any situation where negative emotions are experienced.  When we break the link between specific thoughts and behaviours and the negative emotions that go with them, we find that clients see the world in a different way.  In other words, the emotions seem to be the key to the subconscious mind.

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