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In straightforward terms, hypnosis is a state of consciousness in which we are very focused and attentive. We are able to filter out a lot of the world and the ‘bustle’ around us and give our attention to something very specific. Actually, we can experience this hypnotic ‘state’ everyday –
How often do we get lost in a daydream?
How often are we driving and reach our destination only to have no recollection as to how we got there?
Imagine the mind has two parts.
There is our conscious mind – this is the part of us that judges, where our logical thoughts happen. It is the ‘critical’ part of our brain. The other part is our subconscious mind. This is where our learned habits are and it enables us to have automatic reactions and actions (like daydreaming and driving). The subconscious level is where our behaviours, values and beliefs are formed. The subconscious mind can be open to accepting suggestions.
It is important to mention that our subconscious mind is always acting in our best interests and none of us can be made to do anything that goes against our moral ‘compass’. Our subconscious mind is responsible for the vast majority of what goes on ‘in our heads’ – like the bulk of the iceberg hidden beneath the waves.
Sometimes, even though our subconscious is acting in our best interests its way of doing this can have a negative impact on our lives. For example, many years ago I had a panic attack in a cinema. I had no idea what triggered it but from that day on every time I went into a cinema, theatre or a large space, I would become anxious. This was because my subconscious mind had wrongly associated my panic with where I was.
To protect me from what it saw as a danger it would trigger a flight response in me to get me away from the ‘risk’. It was acting in my best interest as it saw it and was influencing my conscious mind with this too. Eventually, I decided to seek the help of a hypnotherapist who supported me through reframing my subconscious mind’s approach. I no longer have panic attacks and can control my anxious feelings.
Hypnotherapy is used to bring about positive change.
It is best achieved through a state of very deep and calm relaxation. When we are deeply relaxed and focus our attention we dismiss the distractions of the world around us. This allows a hypnotherapist to bypass the critical conscious mind and offer suggestions to the subconscious. You can even be taught to do this yourself using self-hypnosis techniques.
Many people are concerned about what hypnosis feels like.
Having worked with people and having experienced it first hand I find that people all have different experiences. Broadly it is best described as a very pleasant sensation of relaxation and peace. You are not unconscious and you are always in full control of your actions. If something was to happen e.g. a fire alarm or something that requires you to respond then you would be able to. You may not recall everything that is said during a session but that’s perfectly normal because it is your subconscious mind that is being offered the suggestions.
It is important to stress that no absolute guarantees of success can be made. Genuine impact is achieved when we are willing and committed to work with a hypnotherapist to achieve a positive change. We are all different and that’s why it’s important that I have the opportunity to get to know as much about you as I can.
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