Updated: May 3
A lot of people come to me for the first time saying, "I don't know anything about hypnosis." Then, about ten minutes later, as we're about to begin the process of induction they say something like, "Now, are you sure you're not going to be able to make me do anything I don't want to do?"
And voila! There we have a perfect example of a hypnotic trance.
This person actually had a running script inside her head telling her that hypnosis was about giving up control to the hypnotherapist (it's not). She wasn't even aware of it to the extent that she insisted she didn't know anything about hypnosis at all.
Michael Preston, M.D. says, "Hypnosis is a state of awareness dominated by the subconscious mind." But isn't that really what the woman above experienced in her normal, "non-hypnotic" state?
The thing is, we are all in some kind of hypnotic trance most of the time. Our subconscious mind, which perfectly remembers and holds all of our life experience, is constantly with us evaluating, making judgements, and informing our conditioned responses.
Let me give you another example.
Someone comes to me and says, "I want you to hypnotize me so I can control my overeating. I know I eat too much...but I just can't help myself." What he is unaware of is he is already giving himself a powerful hypnotic suggestion. He repeats this suggestion to himself day after day, month after month, year after year. The suggestion is: "I eat too much and I can't help myself."
The result is obvious: he continues to overeat and feels powerless to do anything about it.
He is literally creating his own problem with his thoughts!
I don't mean to oversimplify here. It is not just a matter of mind over matter (although in some ways it is). Often there are deep-rooted issues of core identity, toxic shame, and early childhood trauma that created the need for the harmful suggestion in the first place. But the underlying mechanism is insidiously simple. As we think, so it is.
Now, what if we were to replace that suggestion with another one? What if day after day, month after month, year after year this man was to tell himself, "I gratefully surrender more and more every day, thoroughly and completely to the innate healing power of my being that wants to nourish my body with appropriate amounts of healthy, natural food"?
How do you think he would act? Do you think it would be likely he would continue to overeat? And what would happen if we went a step further: what if we were able to discover that the original motivation for his overeating was, for example, trauma induced shame? What if we instead got him to believe in the unassailable goodness and value of his being, his True Nature?
By using our natural hypnotic states, we relax mind and body while selectively focusing our attention in order to wake ourselves up from our normal self-limiting, self-sabotaging trances.
Most people say they have no experience with hypnosis. But the truth is, we experience it all the time.
Rather than being what we normally consider "awake" and "conscious", we are actually under the sway of deep-rooted habitual ways of thinking that determine to a large extent how we live our lives. These mental habits are often characterized by gross misunderstandings about our inherent value as human beings. They are riddled with assumptions, prejudices, and half truths that, for the most part, became internalized and fossilized in our subconscious minds when we were small children. They wind up becoming the fixed and rigid views of how we think we are rather than how we truly are.
Without even noticing it we reinforce these erroneous ideas with cutting little slogans that demean our inherently pure nature and severely limit our vast potential.
"I'm not really good at meeting people,", we might say. "I don't deserve success and happiness", "I'm such and idiot," "I'm so ugly." All of these are examples of how we cut ourselves down to the bone. Many of us subject ourselves to such vicious and relentless self-criticism that we would be shocked and horrified to hear it on a recording. We wouldn't even talk that way to our worst enemies! Yet still, we find ourselves abusing ourselves day after day, like a twisted addiction.
So what can we do about it and how can we change?
Hypnotherapy is one powerful method for re-scripting this kind of destructive, negative self-talk. It is an alchemical process where we use the poison as the cure. By using our natural hypnotic states, we relax mind and body while selectively focusing our attention in order to wake ourselves up from our normal self-limiting, self-sabotaging trances.
The process is simple but the results are often profound and even mysterious. Many people report shifts in their lives so positive and transformational that they can hardly imagine engaging in their old behaviors. Smokers become non-smokers. Addicts step firmly on the path of recovery. Those suffering for years from depression, anxiety, and PTSD feel like a great darkness has been lifted and look around in wonder at their new, joyful lives.
This isn't just marketing hype. Study after study show the effectiveness of hypnotherapy in treating all types of physical and mental health issues. And as this art-science continues to gain more acceptance, the sky is the limit as to how it can be used to make our lives better and better. More and more. Every day, in every way.