Perhaps you have seen the stage hypnotist doing a show and making innocent people bark like a dog for entertainment. This is what a lot of people bring to mind when they think of hypnosis. But while it is intended to be funny as an act on stage, hypnosis has many benefits for everyday applications.
So, how does hypnotherapy work?
Hypnosis is a natural, yet altered state, where the critical faculty is relaxed and selective thinking is established. The “guard” between our conscious mind and our subconscious mind is off duty for awhile, meaning that while we are in this hypnotic or trance state, we have access to our inner mind, our subconscious mind.
When we have access to our subconscious mind, we have the possibility to establish new ways of thinking about certain situations or to shift our negative thoughts to positive thoughts. Perhaps we may introduce new beneficial programming instructions to be carried out by the subconscious mind; maybe we simply silence the conscious mind for awhile and relax into a place of inner peace.
How to Use Hypnotherapy
There are many practical applications for hypnotherapy in our lives. One wonderful benefit is the sense of deep relaxation that is present in hypnosis; it can feel good to just let go of any stress or tension of the day.
Some of the more well-known ways hypnotherapy is used is to alter an addictive behavior, such as smoking, or to create healthier eating and exercise habits resulting in weight loss.
By reinforcing positive beliefs about ourselves, we can also improve our self-esteem and self-confidence. Other beneficial uses include discovering programming associated with unwanted patterns in our lives and easing grief and depression.
Hypnosis can also lead to an improvement in our performance at work or in sports. For instance, have you ever watched a competitive downhill skier at the top of the run before they start just close their eyes and visualize how they want the run to be? Believe it or not, statistics show that visualization improves performance almost as much as actually practicing!
Hypnotherapy as a Treatment Support
Using hypnotherapy is approved by the American Medical Association (AMA) as a complementary treatment to traditional medicine, and by the National Institute of Health (NIH) for use in working with chronic pain.
Some patients even use it in preparation for an upcoming surgical procedure, providing the subconscious mind with appropriate suggestions and instructions for the procedure and accelerated healing afterwards.
Many even consider hypnosis as an option in preparation for childbirth. Diagnosis of a disease sometimes brings trauma into our lives, and hypnotherapy can help to ease that trauma so we focus on getting better and healing. There are many more possibilities for using hypnotherapy as support for medical conditions.
The Subconscious Mind
In our everyday lives, we live in our conscious mind, analyzing data, making choices, and using our five senses. Yet there is another part of our mind that is busy at work all the time -- our subconscious mind, or our inner mind.
The subconscious mind is where we store all our programming, similar to computer software if you will, in charge of running our body. In other words, we don’t have to think consciously about when our heart should beat, or how our organs should function. Our subconscious mind takes care of all those instructions for us.
In addition to the automatic functions of our bodies, the subconscious mind is the seat of our emotions and our imagination, and keeps all our memories.
Not only does it store all of our programming, but also our beliefs and scripts. Programming consists of ideas we accept or decide about ourselves, others, or the world. For every event that occurs in our lives, we develop an associated belief, emotion and behavior.
Here's the way it works: each time an event occurs that is similar to one we have experienced before, we have “automatic” programming that responds to the event in the same old way. Any thoughts and emotions we have associated with the event are activated and carried out as instructions to our conscious mind and body; these can be positive or negative beliefs and self thoughts.
Did You Know?
Each of us has most likely already experienced a hypnotic trance state at some time in our lives.
Have you ever been daydreaming by looking out the window at school, lost in deep thought, until all of the sudden you realize the teacher is standing next to you asking you a question? Have you driven to work and when you arrived, you realized you had no idea how many red lights you stopped at along the way? You know you stopped for them, but you were on “autopilot.” These are both examples of a trance state; you have an awareness of all the sounds and activity around you, but you are focusing on a specific thought or thoughts.
Now that you have a new sense of what hypnotherapy is and some of the many benefits it may offer, I encourage you to try it at your local Whole Health Center. The Center offers hypnotherapy throughout the week, as well as on Saturdays, for your convenience. Come and see the infinite possibilities in your life.