‘Hypnosis’ is perhaps one the most misunderstood words that exists. It is actually the opposite of what most people think, which is often derived from stage hypnotists and movies. The two main myths are: 1) you are not in control; 2) you are not awake and aware. No matter how deep you go in hypnosis, you will be in control and you will always be wide awake and aware. For example, when you are swept up in the drama of a film in a movie theater, you are actually in a fairly deep state of hypnosis. In an engaging movie, you are very focused on the story that is unfolding on the screen to the point that you barely notice the people eating popcorn near you. But of course you’re not asleep…you know that if you wanted, you could get up at anytime and buy popcorn or use the bathroom. The same is true with any form of hypnotherapy – even at the deepest point of the session — if you wanted to you, you could open your eyes and declare that you want to use the bathroom, or write something down, etc. It’s just a different level of consciousness that you’re accessing.
Hypnosis is a relaxation of the body and mind, together with a focusing of the mind. A definition of hypnosis is “a bypass of the analytical and critical thinking factor of our minds.” To apply this to the movie example, it’s when we don’t continually tell ourselves during the film: “what’s happening on that screen is not real, it’s only light images from a projection booth, and besides, those people on the screen are only acting, none of this is real, etc…”. If we continually focused on those facts, we could not let go and enjoy the movie. We go into varying states of hypnosis every day, such as when you are driving down a road while being lost in a daydream. Therefore, anyone can and has been hypnotized.
It’s important to know that all hypnosis is really self-hypnosis. I don’t actually hypnotize you – you hypnotize yourself using my suggestions and your imagination. Therefore, you can allow yourself to go into as deep of a hypnotic experience as you want to be, and you’ll always be awake and aware, knowing that you’re in the chair. During the experience, you may hear a car going by, or a dog barking outside, but none of that disturbs you as you continually focus inward.
The power of hypnotherapy is that we can use it to access and change the subconscious thought patterns that govern our lives. When we dream at night, sometimes those dreams are filled with metaphors that mirror the issues that are going on with us, whether we are aware of them or not. Who gives us these dreams? No one else does, yet we don’t consciously give it to ourselves. It comes from an unconscious, very wise part of us. Using hypnotherapy, we can easily access the same part of us that gives us our dreams, yet the difference is that we are awake and aware during the process. It is a very effective tool in healing because we can access and heal the emotional core of our anxieties or any stuck, limiting pattern where the root of the problem lies – the subconscious mind. We can also access prior life images and information.