The unconscious mind is the part of our mind that exists largely outside of our everyday awareness.
It’s the part of our mind that was shaped significantly by our early experiences and has the ability to influence our judgments, feelings, and behaviors without us fully realizing.
It’s the repository of all our accumulated knowledge, learning, and memories.
It’s also the seat of a great deal of untapped potential and internal resources.
This is why its utility is so greatly emphasized in hypnosis.
Whereas the conscious mind tends to get stuck in patterns of limiting thoughts and beliefs, the unconscious is a place of possibility and expansion which needs only to be mobilized so that healing and internal change can take root on a deep level.
Though I understand why people may fear this is the case.
The media’s coverage of stage hypnosis has perpetuated the idea that hypnosis has the power to make people go unconscious, act against their will, humiliate themselves, and feel generally out of control.
Unfortunately, what most people don’t realize about the exploitations of stage hypnosis is how the powerful effect of:
-And the pre-existing desire of most attending these shows to allow themselves to be controlled manufactures these types of sensationalized outcomes.
Social pressure is a powerful thing.
Its ability to amplify suggestibility is exponential.
As I mentioned above most folks who enter into a trance state remain fully alert and aware throughout a hypnosis session.
Much like when you’re zoned out driving or daydreaming if you need to become alert you will.
Will hypnosis make me lose consciousness or fall asleep?
During a clinical hypnosis session, or when listening to a tape, you will most likely be awake, alert, and able to recollect everything that occurs.
Very few people are capable of entering into a somnambulistic state–the sensationalized sleeplike-trance that stage hypnotists are infamous for.
Though it is estimated that some 2-4% of the population is capable of going into a deep almost sleep like trance state–again most people do not and will not.
Most don’t even realize that they’re in a different state of consciousness because of how alert they feel while in trance. Often, the primary signal that they are in trance is the intensity of how calm they feel.
If I can be hypnotized, does that mean I’m weak minded?
Quite the opposite actually.
Those who enter the most easily into trance during hypnosis possess several qualities
-the desire to enter into a trance state
-the belief that they can
-an active imagination
-a deep trust in their therapist
If these elements are missing a person may still enter into a light trance, but their mind will not allow for engagement in a way that could be deeply altering due to a natural mechanism to self-protect.
Your mind knows how to protect itself.
However, this self-protecting mechanism, if taken to an unhealthy extreme, can become a barrier to change on many levels.”
Isn’t hypnosis just a gimmick that can’t effect lasting change in people?
So this is actually quite true if hypnosis is used as a quick fix/cure-all.
Unfortunately, a lot of hypnotherapists out there are neither licensed or credentialed mental health professionals and thus aren’t informed by the years of focused study intrinsic to these professions.
They may be talented hypnotists, but they will overlook certain psychological complexities and complications about an individual that a trained counselor or psychologist wouldn’t miss. Then, without considering the nuance or complexity of their client, they promise the world in just a few sessions.
Then, inevitably, they’re unable to deliver much by way of lasting change.
This leads to a sort of split vision of hypnosis.
Some will swear to you that it’s a miracle cure that’s changed their lives!
And it likely has.
Hypnotherapy can mobilize some seriously powerful forces within us.
But then there’s that other group for whom those few sessions, simply weren’t enough.
Then these people make the assumption that hypnosis simply isn’t effective, and through word of mouth, others come to believe this as well.
How can hypnosis be used to help people make lasting changes?
As a counselor and coach, I take the time to get to know your individual situation and depending on your needs I will either offer stand-alone hypnotherapy, or I’ll integrate hypnotherapy into our counseling or coaching sessions as needed.
This type of grounded approach to utilizing hypnosis has been increasingly shown by research, to accelerate positive changes.
Because in reality, for most people, hypnosis is not a miracle cure that needs only to be administered a few times to effect serious change.
I believe treating hypnosis like a quick-fix is a pretty reductive way of working with people.
After all, the psyche is complex.
There are those fortunate few who can receive a few sessions of hypnosis and move beyond stuck problems forever.
But for the vast majority of us, it’s taken a lot of time to develop and maintain unhealthy ways of operating.
So likewise it often takes a bit of time and hard work, both in and out of session, to undo those negative patterns.
Why is it important to see a hypnotherapist who is also a credentialed mental health professional?
It’s a protection for you.
Because hypnotherapy is potentially a powerful tool.
Make sure the person you work with has had the in-person training and supervision to know how to properly wield it.
Mental health professionals are trained in behaving ethically with clients.
They’re taught how to become aware of their own biases, how to respect the cultural values of others and how to avoid imposing their values onto others.
Perhaps most importantly a mental health professional who belongs to a professional organization, or who has a license can be censured if a client reports that they have acted unethically toward them.
Working with a credentialed mental health professional provides a safeguard and a guarantee that the person you are working with has been properly trained so they will not unintentionally do something that is not in your best interest.
And if the unfortunate situation arises where they do do something that is inappropriate or unethical you have recourse to petition for them to receive professional censure or to have their credentials revoked.