Hypnosis is a totally natural state of mind. Under hypnosis you will feel very relaxed,
just like that wonderful feeling when you are tired, lying in your bed and you are
so overcome with comfort that you wish the moment could last forever.
Hypnotherapy is a way of helping you to feel very relaxed, however, it's not the
same as being asleep. When you're asleep, you aren't aware of what's going on around
you. During hypnotherapy, you will find that you are still aware of everyday noises
but they fade into the background and don’t seem to matter which helps you to relax.
Hypnotherapy is a perfectly normal, altered state of consciousness in which the subconscious
mind plays the dominant role and we naturally enter this state at different times
during the day. You probably have experienced driving your car somewhere and wondered
"How did I get here?" Do you sometimes get so absorbed in a book, listening to a
CD, or watching TV, that you are unaware of what is going on around you? Maybe when
you are on the train or tube you are just gazing at 'nothing?' These are all times
when you are simply in a different natural state of consciousness.
Hypnotherapy works by recognizing, and making use of the subconscious part of the
mind. Your subconscious mind stores an enormous amount of information and emotion,
something over which you will probably have no conscious knowledge. However, although
you have no conscious knowledge of your subconscious, it still causes your conscious
mind to think and react in the way it does. Sometimes, there are conflicts between
the way these parts of your mind see the world, and this can give rise to problems.
Hypnotherapy reaches the subconscious mind. Our behavioural patterns are based on
associations we have made from our thoughts to our emotions. Certain thoughts trigger
certain emotions, and certain emotions can trigger certain thoughts. Using hypnotherapy
you can learn to tune into your feelings and associate your thoughts with your feelings,
and then learn to be more discerning in your conscious waking state when a certain
feeling or thought arises. In this way, by recognizing the connection between thought
and emotion, you can stop the automatic, or triggered response, which is essential
when bringing about behavioural changes.
To give an example: smoking.
The conscious mind wants to stop smoking and knows all the health benefits but the
subconscious mind has attached a good feeling to smoking, and the subconscious mind
overrides the conscious logic. The two parts of the mind are separated by the conscious
critical factor. The conscious critical factor constantly monitors information and
rejects an idea or concept which it does not agree with, because previous experience
taught it to accept it as valid. Hypnosis helps us bypass the conscious critical
factor and reach the subconscious to affect change.