What Is Hypnosis

Definition of Hypnosis

A lot of people have a misconception of the word hypnosis: the magical pendulum watch being swayed side to side and you handing over your money, or even the stage hypnotists making you go in to a DEEP SLEEP and you do some ridiculous or funny act.

But hypnosis is being more and more accepted in the medical world of today. It's a fact that you can only do things that you're willing to do and you would soon dismiss suggestions which are harmful and your unconscious mind prime directive is to keep the body safe, you safe and would once again reject any harmful suggestions.

Read more about the uses of Hypnosis

Do I have an unconscious mind?

Everyone has an unconscious mind and it does many things for you, for example:

  • The unconscious serves as a memory bank or computer: With the help of billions of tiny inter-connecting nerve cells everything we have ever seen, heard, smelled, tasted, felt or experienced in any way is permanently stored in the brain, which when activated feeds back information back into the conscious mind.
  • The unconscious controls and regulates the involuntary functions of the body such as breathing, circulation, fight or flight.
  • The unconscious carries out our habitual conduct: It manages and controls the activity we have reduced to habit. After you have learned such customary activities as driving, walking or dressing yourself, you no longer have to direct them with your conscious mind, as it lets you're unconscious mind take over.
  • The unconscious is the dynamo that directs our energy, that energy that drives us to fulfill our goals in life.
  • The unconscious is the seat of our emotions and imagination.

What Is Trance?

Everyone has experienced a trance many times, but we don't usually call it hypnosis. All of us have been so absorbed in thought - for example while driving a car on a motorway and not realizing that you have driven the car for 10 minutes because your mind has wondered off on what you have to do that day, but you were kept safe and did not crash because your unconscious mind took over to keep you safe. Or it could be while reading a book, or riding the bus to work- that we fail to notice what is happening around us. While we were zoned out, another level of consciousness, which we refer to as our unconscious mind, taking charge in looking after us. These are very focused states of attention similar to hypnosis.

Hypnosis is a state of inner absorption, concentration and focused attention. It is like using a magnifying glass to focus the rays of the sun and make them more powerful. Similarly, when our minds are concentrated and focused, we are able to use our minds more powerfully and achieve our goals. Because hypnosis allows people to use more of their potential, learning self-hypnosis is the ultimate act of self-control.

Clinical hypnotists do essentially three things with hypnosis. They encourage the use of imagination. Mental imagery is very powerful, especially in a focused state of attention. The mind seems capable of using imagery, even if it is only symbolic, to assist us in bringing about the things we are imagining. For example, a patient with ulcerative colitis may be asked to imagine what her distressed colon looks like. If she imagines it as being like a tunnel, with very red, inflamed walls that are rough in texture, the patient may be encouraged in hypnosis (and in self-hypnosis) to imagine this image changing to a healthy one.

Another basic hypnotic method is to present ideas or suggestions to the patient. In a state of concentrated attention, ideas and suggestions that are compatible with what the patient wants seem to have a more powerful impact on the mind.

Finally, hypnosis may be used for unconscious exploration, to better understand underlying motivations or identify whether past events or experiences are associated with causing a problem. Hypnosis avoids the critical censor of the conscious mind, which often defeats what we know to be in our best interests

Myths About Hypnosis

People often fear that being hypnotized will make them lose control, surrender their will, and result in their being dominated, but a hypnotic state is not the same thing as gullibility or weakness. Many people base their assumptions about hypnotism on stage acts but fail to take into account that stage hypnotists screen their volunteers to select those who are cooperative, with possible exhibitionist tendencies, as well as responsive to hypnosis. Stage acts help create a myth about hypnosis which discourages people from seeking legitimate hypnotherapy.

Another myth about hypnosis is that people lose consciousness and have amnesia. A small percentage of subjects, who go into very deep levels of trance will fit this stereotype and have spontaneous amnesia. The majority of people remember everything that occurs in hypnosis. This is beneficial, because the most of what we want to accomplish in hypnosis may be done in a medium depth trance, where people tend to remember everything, so you know what you've learnt.

In hypnosis, the patient is not under the control of the hypnotist. Hypnosis is not something imposed on people, but something they do for themselves. A hypnotist simply serves as a facilitator to guide them.

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