Hypnosis. The very word brings to mind, images of strange bearded men, swinging watches, making people ‘cluck’ like chickens and eat onions like an apple. I first became interested in hypnosis when I was ten years old and I read a book on the topic. I told everyone who would listen that when I grew up, I was going to be a hypnotherapist. I certainly got some strange looks. I would even hypnotize my friends to do silly things at sleepovers, I was so obsessed, but as time went on, I dismissed hypnosis as a silly childhood fixation.
It wasn’t until I had a head-on car crash in my twenties and visualized myself healing from my terrible injuries – and healing faster and way beyond what I and the doctors believed possible, did I consider it a career possibility again. I went on to study hypnotherapy, even though everyone told me it was a bad idea, that hypnotherapists don't make any money and it was weird to want to hypnotize people... And you know what? Studying hypnotherapy is honestly the best thing I have ever done and has been my passion ever since! I am so passionate about the art and science of hypnotherapy that I now train people to become Clinical Hypnotherapists at the Integrative Hypnotherapy Training Institute as well teach classes in NLP, Life Coaching, as well as Relationship and Sex Therapy in Auckland, New Zealand and soon online.
Using hypnosis techniques changed my life. I quit smoking, lost weight, overcame my addiction to sugar and unhealthy food, became moderate with alcohol, overcame procrastination and self-sabotage, conquered low self-esteem, became confident within myself, learned to enjoy public speaking, learned to control and be free of anxiety. These are just a few issues I have overcome with the help of hypnotherapy.
Unfortunately, hypnosis and hypnotists have long been portrayed in a negative light by television, films and other forms of media. As a hypnotherapist, I personally can’t stand stage hypnosis. I think it makes a mockery of an amazing tool. I truly believe hypnosis, or guided visualization as I like to call it, will change your life and is the most powerful tool you can use to make positive changes.
Many people have been led to believe that hypnosis is something freaky, weird or involves someone trying to control you. You also may have been led to believe that you aren’t in control of yourself during the process - that while under hypnosis, you are unconscious and unaware of your surroundings. These and other misconceptions could not be further from the truth. People can only be hypnotized if they are willing to be. Your subconscious will reject any suggestion that is against your morals so you are always in control.
The other day while listening to the radio, I heard the radio hosts asking “What secret would you tell under hypnosis, that you wouldn’t tell otherwise?” I was surprised to hear that this belief is still a common misconception. People can lie under hypnosis and will not do anything that they are uncomfortable with. They will also disregard any statements suggested that does not co-align with their belief systems.
So, what is hypnosis? At times, it’s easier to describe hypnosis by explaining what it is not. It's not sleeping. It's not being unconscious or unaware. It's not giving up your control. Hypnosis is a natural phenomenon we all access every day, when you first wake up, while watching TV, reading a good book, Facebooking, surfing the net and when drifting off to sleep.
To understand how hypnosis works, I think it’s important to understand the basics of the conscious and subconscious minds. You have a conscious mind that can think freely and create new ideas. Then there’s the subconscious mind, which is a super computer loaded with an operating system with programs for our behaviours and responses. The subconscious mind also controls your involuntary bodily functions, like your breathing, your heart beating, and your digestion just to name a few.
The subconscious mind does not move outside of its fixed programs. It reacts automatically to situations with its recorded behaviour responses and it works without the control or knowledge of the conscious mind. This is why we tend to behave without thinking and respond in ways we consciously don’t want to.
Imagine if you hadn’t updated the software on your computer or phone since you bought it. They would be running some pretty outdated programs. We invest in updating our wardrobes, cars, furniture and homes, but not our minds...
Take smoking, for example; people consciously know that cigarettes aren’t good for them, but they smoke them anyway. This is a classic example of a conflict between your conscious and subconscious mind. Your conscious mind is logical however the subconscious mind is running on automatic pilot, 95% of the time.
The conscious mind processes around 50 bits of information per second compared to the subconscious mind which processes 11 million bits of data per second. So, the unconscious mind is estimated to be 220,000 times more powerful than the conscious mind, and it’s the unconscious mind which determines how we live our life.
Our life, and how we live it, is a direct reflection of our unconscious programming. The job of the subconscious is to create reality out of its programs, to prove the program is true. We can have many blocking beliefs at a subconscious level that stop us from achieving our goals, even if consciously we really want to succeed in achieving them.
For example, if your parents smoked - you would have a program in your unconscious mind that adults smoke. Or one that believes that if you quit smoking, you will gain weight, not be as fun or cool. Or one that states that it will be uncomfortable to go out socially and hang out with your friends that smoke.
A hypnotherapist or hypnosis recordings help you to enter that relaxed state at a deeper level by giving you suggestions to relax your body and quiet your mind. By doing this, your brainwaves slow down, your subconscious is opened, and it becomes easier to visualize the changes you want to make and the goals you would like to achieve.
The subconscious thinks in pictures and processes things visually, for example your dreams. When you tell it not to do something like smoke or eat crap food, it doesn’t really get it. However, if you show it in pictures why you shouldn’t do those things, it suddenly understands.
Since your subconscious mind can’t tell the difference between truth and fiction, everything you tell yourself personally, your subconscious tries to make true. We all have beliefs we reaffirm to ourselves every day like “I will never be able to quit smoking,” “I will always be overweight,” “I am terrible at public speaking,” “I’m not good enough, smart enough, or will ever make enough money.”
Whatever you tell yourself, your subconscious mind believes and goes about helping you to create situations which reflect those beliefs. The quickest and most effective way to transform beliefs is through hypnosis, which changes them on the level which beliefs are held. What do you have to lose?