What is hypnosis? Hypnosis is a powerful therapeutic tool for accessing the subconscious mind and achieving personal goals or affecting desired changes. It may be used alone or in conjunction with other therapeutic techniques.
Despite its awesome power, there are few procedures less understood, or more plagued by misconceptions. Hypnosis has existed since prehistoric times, and western medicine has been trying to understand it since the 1700’s. But it has only been within the last two decades that we have truly begun to understand what hypnosis is, and what it can do for us.
Unfortunately, many of the misconceptions that have developed over the centuries still exist in people’s minds. If you ask the average person on the street what he or she thinks hypnosis is, they may respond with any number of answers, including:sleep, mind control, unconsciousness, or even magic. All of these ideas are wrong, but unfortunately continue to persist, perpetuated by novels and films. (Many vampire and spy movies – such as Dracula and Telefon, for instance, portray hypnosis as a way for the villain to gain control of his victims.) These misconceptions prevent many people, who could benefit from hypnotherapy, from ever trying it. Those who do try hypnotherapy often spend their first session unlearning their misconceptions.
Hypnosis is not sleep, unconsciousness, mind control, or even magic. In fact, it is a heightened state of awareness. In most cases the subject is fully aware and able to respond to requests, either verbally or by a signal. Ask a hypnotized person to make specific, reasonable movement, and they will comply.
There is no surrender of control, no magic. No one can be hypnotized against their will; and no hypnotized person can be forced to do anything against their will.
Hypnosis is now considered to be a state of selective thinking, where the subject (who is in control) chooses to experience only what is relevant to the task at hand, blocking out everything else. It may also be described as guided concentration. The guidance may be provided by a qualified hypnotherapist, or in the case of self-hypnosis, by the individual.
However you think of it, hypnosis is a method for communicating directly with the subconscious mind. Few people realize the awesome power their subconscious mind has over their lives. The causes for many bad habits are rooted in memories or perceptions that may be forgotten by the conscious mind but retained in the subconscious. Hypnosis helps to access the subconscious and to change those habits more quickly and easily.
Although hypnosis is not a panacea, there are many areas where is has proven to be tremendously helpful for: memory enhancement, improving concentration, relieving insomnia, overcoming phobias (fears), eliminating bad habits (such as smoking and nail biting), pain control, and managing stress.
Hypnosis is a tool anyone can use and everyone should understand.
Dr. Dave Hill, DCH
“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” -Walt Disney