About Hypnosis

Understanding Hypnosis: Myths and Misconceptions

There are many people who have heard of the wonderful results accomplished through hypnosis, and feel that it could also be helpful to them. Some people may be afraid of hypnosis because of misinformation acquired over the years from horror movies, novels, or television. The average person has a misconception of what hypnosis is and what can be accomplished through hypnosis.

If a suggestion that is not appealing is given to a person while in the hypnotic state, one of two things would happen: the person in the hypnotic state will either ignore the suggestion or would bring themselves out of the hypnotic state.

You may have heard or read that the average person uses only three to five percent of their mental abilities. This statement is generally true. However, with the use of hypnosis, a person can rapidly begin to use much more of their mind and accomplish many more goals.

Hypnotism has its roots as far back as the ancient sleep temples in Greece, Egypt, and other cultures. More recently hypnotism was accepted by the American Medical Association in 1958, by the British Medical Association in 1955, and continues to be used in many areas of health, accelerated healing, and behavioral change. New research is continually adding to the substantial body of knowledge now available from reputable and highly respected sources.

What is Hypnosis?

To explain what hypnosis is, it might be easier to say what hypnosis is not.

When a person is hypnotized, they are not asleep or in some uncontrolled state. The hypnotized individual is aware of everything that is taking place. Hypnosis has been given many definitions. According to the American Council of Hypnotic Examiners, hypnosis is “a natural yet altered state of consciousness that allows us to bypass the critical factor of the conscious mind and speak directly to the subconscious.” Simply put, this means we ask the conscious mind to step aside while we speak to the subconscious.

Even after being brought out of hypnosis, a person will be able to recall everything that took place during the session.

Hypnosis is a very normal, natural state that most of us experience every day. An example of daily hypnosis would be driving a car and realizing that you can’t remember the last three or four streets you just passed. Perhaps you drove right by your exit! Another example would be a person watching television. When another member of the family enters and announces that dinner is ready, the person watching the television did not even blink an eye! This is a perfect example of the “dual nature of the mind,” or our ability to be present yet not present. Much the same thing happens under hypnosis.

These are examples of a light hypnotic state. In both cases the conscious part of the mind has been distracted, allowing the subconscious part of the mind to take over. You actually change brain wave patterns as you enter into hypnosis. Your brain’s waking state of normal activity is called the “beta” state. In this state you are fully in your analytical mind and resistant to suggestions. Whenever you relax throughout the day or use your imagination (watching TV or reading a book) you move into the “alpha” state, a frequent state of mind in which you are not only more creative, but more suggestible as well. This state lies just below the Critical Faculty – that part of the brain that questions and analyzes – and is open to hypnosis. A deeper waking state is the “theta” state, in which you are most creative, imaginative and suggestible. Normally we access this upon awakening and as we fall asleep. This state is excellent for affecting deeper changes through hypnosis.

Even though you can achieve profound changes using hypnosis, you remain in complete control. No one can ever make you do something you don’t want to do. Even during stage shows, the subject must be willing to be the star of the show, but would never do anything that violated their morals or values. And even though you attain a state of deep relaxation, you still hear everything. Hypnosis is the opposite of sleep, so you actually remain hyper-alert with increased sensitivity. Also, no one can become “stuck” in hypnosis. Positive suggestions are received by your subconscious mind and last a lifetime, but you naturally return to beta consciousness after each session.

During a hypnotic session, an individual will achieve a very deep and successful state of hypnosis. While you are undergoing hypnosis, all extraneous data is shut out and the focus is on one goal or image. This intensity of thought and emotion has the effect of channeling all our energy towards change, cutting through limiting beliefs and summoning powerful energies on our behalf.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

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