About Hypnosis & Hypnotherapy
Ever since I first discovered the book 'The Complete Book to Hypnosis' when I was travelling in my younger years I have been completely fascinated by hypnosis and what it can offer. In the early days there was often a lot of mysticism and skepticism surrounding its practice, but these days there has been quite a shift in perception by the general public and science/medical communities at large. There is now more than 100 000 academic reports and research papers that outline the efficacy of hypnotherapy as an effective treatment for many types of issues.
Hypnosis - This is a state of parallel detached awareness/consciousness. Importantly - it is just a state of mind - not a process. Interestingly enough we all enter into hypnotic states at times during the day - like when you are daydreaming and didn't realize the teacher was talking to you as an example :).
Hypnotherapy - this is the act of using the hypnotic state for therapy purposes by a hypnotherapist. Such is the nature of trance that it lends itself to be used as a platform for initiating personal change emotionally, mentally & sometimes even physically.
The State of Hypnotic Trance
What happens when we go into hypnosis? Well first of all our brainwaves begin to slow down from normal 'Beta' levels into Alpha, Theta and sometimes even Delta levels. This basically means our thoughts slow down and are accompanied by feelings of relaxation, wellbeing, and drowsiness (although hypnosis is not the same as sleep). Sometimes this happens naturally (like when you pull in the garage after driving home from work and don't even remember the last 20 minutes of your journey) or can be onset by a hypnotist using different induction methods. In a state of hypnosis your conscious mind switches off more, leaving greater influence/receptiveness from the subconscious parts of the mind - the same parts of the mind responsible for getting you home because it had done the journey 100's of time before in the example above. It is this phenomena that becomes very interesting...
How Hypnotherapy Works...
As explained above, it is the switching off of the conscious part of the mind and reliance on the subconscious that is central to how hypnotherapy works. When we enter a hypnotic trance the subconscious becomes more receptive to new ideas and suggestions. So what a hypnotherapist does is use spoken suggestions, metaphors, and other techniques on the client under hypnosis, which are readily absorbed into the subconscious processes of the mind. These bypass the normal conscious analysis processes, therefore slipping straight through into the deeper levels of subconscious patterns which have so much effect on our daily decisions and actions - without us even being aware of it most times. This allows the client to override any negative patterns, processes, or deep-seeded memories that are causing a particular issue.
Say you want to lose weight. You know that you became overweight because you don't exercise enough, eat the wrong foods etc. What you may not know is that these actions are the direct result of subconscious processes that have formed conscious patterns. So the hypnotherapist here will override those processes subconsciously and embed suggestions like you will 'want to' eat healthy or you will always 'want to' go for a walk to the shops instead of driving etc. What this does is create new patterns from the 'ground up' at a subconscious level, which are then automatically executed in daily life consciously.
How Does a Hypnotist Put the Client in Trance?
The first role of a hypnotist in person with a client (or like me on the recordings) is to do an induction. An induction can be any number of techniques verbally or even physically designed to take the client into hypnosis. These can include spoken instructions/stories/visualization/creative/relaxation techniques designed to relax the client or make them think of many things at once (if the conscious mind has too many things to process at once it 'shuts off' so to speak). Other inductions used can also include physical methods as well as spoken. These include things like the handslip, stiff arm, hand to face, handshake induction etc techniques. What happens here is that the clients senses become overwhelemed and they switch off consciously. This is typical in what we call rapid inductions - which is essentially putting someone into hypnosis very quickly - often in 10 seconds or less. Whatever the method, so long as the client goes into the right level of trance for them, the hypnotist can then use that state to bring about some quite amazing changes.
I want to touch upon this here quickly because it is a pretty common perception people have on hypnosis. This is of course the same as what I have spoken about above - the stage hypnotist puts the person into trance - gives them suggestions to do silly things - the person carries them out without hesitation. It is the same process as hypnotherapy, just a different purpose/outcome. Stage hypnosis illustrates how a person's conscious rationale is bypassed under hypnosis, and subconsciously they carry out certain tasks (even those they would not normally do in everyday life). I feel this is a bit of a mockery and hypnosis is best used for more positive purposes.