What is Hypnosis?
Hypnosis is a heightened state of awareness and focus when you are open to new thoughts, ideas and suggestions. It is a natural state of mind that you experience at various times during the day. Our goal is to teach you how to intentionally initiate hypnosis for a specific purpose you wish to achieve.
Model of the Mind
Let’s explore how the mind works to better understand how it relates to hypnosis.
The conscious mind is home to logic, ideas, willpower, affirmations, short term memory, and all of our “shoulds”. Approximately 5% of our processing ability occurs in the conscious mind. On our best day we can work with 7 – 9 things at a time before we start to get overwhelmed or things fall through the cracks.
The rest of the mind consists of two parts: the unconscious mind, primarily home to regulating our bodily processes; and the subconscious mind, housing emotions, imagination, beliefs, values, rules, filters, long-term memory, life stories, intuition and all of our ‘wants’. Approximately 95% of our processing occurs in these parts of the mind, at a speed of hundred of thousands of items per second (Dr. Bruce Lipton, author of The Biology of Belief). In the hypnotic or trance state, it is the subconscious mind that is accessed.
Formed somewhere around the age of seven, the critical factor forms and blocks instant communication from the subconscious to the conscious mind, to protect us from overload.
- Most of our life stories are given to us before the critical factor is formed
- The critical factor opens to some degree when in trance or the theta state
- You go into trance daily, sometimes several times. Some examples of trance are highway hypnosis (when you don’t recall how you got from point A to B while driving), you get “lost” in a book or TV show, or you take a “mini vacation” during the middle of a conversation. These trance states are our mental escape or recharge that gives our conscious mind a rest when it is feeling over loaded or processed
- In trance, you are more in control because you are using the power of your subconscious mind
- Everything that passes through the critical factor must be approved by you. Your subconscious mind will only take the information given in the best way for you
Most people spend 80% focusing on their problem and 20% on the solution. In hypnosis, that is reversed. We spend just enough time on the problem so we can focus 80% on the solutions. Remember, whatever you focus on will expand in your life, so you want that to be solutions!
The Science of the Brain in Hypnosis
For those wanting a more technical explanation of what happens in your brain:
Trance happens in the Hippocampal Cortex, which produces chemicals that saturate the corpus callosum, making the cells more conductive, resulting in better information flow between both hemispheres of the brain. When neurological activity in both hemispheres has equalized, trance occurs.
Trance is not so much relaxation, but a focused concentration in which information is processed democratically by both sides of the brain. Biochemically, the hypnotized brain is almost identical to the REM state. When in trance, nerve cells in a neural network begin to release their charge and the mind becomes more subject to change.
The brain cannot distinguish between what is real or what is imagined, so imagery and suggestions are used to create new nerve connections and networks – in other words, habits, thoughts and feelings are changed. It seems also possible to create new interconnections quickly using powerful emotions, explaining why abreactive hypnotic techniques such as ‘regression to cause’ or ‘regression to strengths’ are effective.