Hypnosis: The Power of the Mind
by Lorri Heller, C.Ht.
Hypnosis and its uses in the practice of hypnotherapy is widely recognized by researchers as a safe, natural state of deep physical and emotional relaxation. The ethical and practical uses of hypnosis has been recognized in many fields including medicine, dentistry, law enforcement, professional sports, education, self-improvement, and behavioral modification. In 1958, The American Medical Association approved the practice of hypnotherapy, calling hypnosis a “viable and beneficial health alternative”.
Most people don’t realize it, but they are in a state of hypnosis many times during the day. Reflect, for example, on what happens if you are in a movie theatre. At first, you are aware of your surroundings, who you are sitting next to, and the feeling of anticipation waiting for the movie to begin. Within fifteen minutes after the start of the movie, you are so absorbed in the action on the screen that you are essentially in an altered state of consciousness, you have become unaware not only of your environment, but any problems or concerns you may have had before you walked into the theater. This altered state is called hypnosis. Daydreaming is another state of hypnosis experienced by everyone as a natural everyday occurrence. In this state, one quite naturally loses consciousness of his or her surroundings and allows the mind to wander, mimicking the state of disassociation experienced by the movie viewers. Reading, painting, working on your car are all defined as states of hypnosis, if your attention becomes disassociated from your present surroundings during the act.
All hypnosis is, in reality, “guided self-hypnosis”. One of the best times to experience self-hypnosis is right before bed or upon waking up. This wonderful, dreamy state is an excellent time to imagine reaching your goals because the conscious mind has relaxed and the subconscious mind becomes accessible, thus giving us expanded possibilities for change. Daily affirmations of experiencing yourself the way you want to be will allow your subconscious mind to accept this information as truth. This process makes it easier to transform your desires into reality.
Hypnosis doesn’t hurt or harm us in any way. When we are hypnotized, our bodies become physically relaxed. As in meditation, the awareness of the person in the state of hypnosis is considerably altered. In fact, a more accurate definition of hypnosis would be guided meditation or guided daydreaming. When used therapeutically, hypnosis is a powerful way to help people reach their potential. The subconscious mind is very alert and focused when the body is relaxed, and therefore responsive to positive suggestions. The subconscious mind is also self-protective; it will only accept what is true for the individual.
When using hypnosis to eliminate a habit such as smoking or overeating, the subconscious mind responds to a new way of being, making it easier to maintain control. The same is true for emotional concerns. Fears, phobias, and anxiety can be minimized or eliminated as the subconscious mind accepts more appropriate ways of responding to the situations that trigger these feelings.
When choosing a hypnotherapist, it is important to find someone who is responsive to your needs as a client, and one who explains the process of hypnosis in a way that makes you feel safe, comfortable, and fully prepared to proceed. This will afford the best opportunity for success.
The subconscious mind is a powerful tool for self-change. Hypnosis is one of the vehicles by which a person can access this power and effect radical and long-lasting changes in the psyche, thereby opening the path to a more fulfilling life.