What is hypnosis…. really? And why does it work? Why does it work really fast sometimes and other times seems to not be working until we look back months or even years later and see that it really did work?
These are just a few of the questions that I field on a daily basis from people who want to quit smoking, lose weight, stop panic attacks or anxiety, reduce stress, increase success and attract and keep great relationships in their lives.
A few answers:
Q: What is hypnosis?
A: Hypnosis has been defined various ways over the years. For me the simplest explanation is that hypnosis is the process of consciously directing your unconscious mind.
Q: Why does it work?
A: Hypnosis works because your unconscious mind is hardwired to follow directions. From the earliest ages of our brain development as children we are installing directives into our subconscious. This is really helpful so that you don’t have to consciously be bothered to remember certain things like looking both ways to cross the street. You Unconscious mind holds that information once it is installed so you can be free to do other more interesting things with your conscious mind. Like crossing the street to meet a friend. Safely.
Q: Why does it obviously work sometimes and not others?
A: Hypnosis always works. That is a fact. The challenge is that there are multiple hypnotic influences all around you (and within you) at any given time that may secretly conflict with the desired change you want.
Here are some examples:
- Your childhood parental and educational instructions. For example: “Finish everything on your plate.” “If you are good you’ll get ice cream”, “Nice girls don’t do that….” “Big boys don’t cry.” etc.
- Your animal instincts and desires... sex is a biggy. Your physical desire for food and comfort and soothing is also. Quite often the more we try NOT to be ruled by it or the more we resist it, the more it has. It defies our logical, conscious mind. We find our selfs either obsessed or just engaging in a behavior and almost not having conscious control or even memory of “who ate all the potato chips?”
- Cultural beliefs and moral teachings.
Example: A lot of my clients who grew up in religious households have a never ending stream of commandments that are well intentioned but often misinterpreted as children like “original sin – You were born bad. You should feel guilty all the time.” This can lead to unconscious behaviors that either play out the belief, “I’m bad” or install a weird striving for being “good” or perfect, that can be just as much a problem as engaging in a lot of risky behaviors. For many others the constant stream of messages on TV and other forms of media have a huge influence. Just watching the news every day can have a huge and powerful influence on your unconscious mind and how it filters your experience of reality.
- Limiting decisions or beliefs that are threatened in some way by the proposed change.
If you want to lose weight and we give your unconscious mind appropriate and proven suggestions to that effect but you have a conflicting “program” running deep in the background that trumps it, it will appear that hypnosis is not working. The reality is hypnosis is in effect. But the older, more powerful suggestion that you may have adopted without question as a child IS the hypnosis. The old suggestion is not going to allow the new one to take hold.
Here’s an example with a recent client. She comes from a family where everyone is heavy. For three generations everyone in her family has been heavy. We identified an old decision/belief that in order to be a part of her family and ensure their love, she had to be like them. Another belief running along with this one was that the weight around her was a form of protection from people outside of her family who were needy and threatening.
So in order for our new hypnosis to be allowed to take effect and replace the old program we have to first be aware of the old one. Sometimes that takes a bit of detective work. Which takes some time. Then we have to remove the old program and install the new one and test it to make sure it is working.
There is so much mis-information out there about hypnosis and how to create positive, lasting change. I encourage you and all my clients to get curious not only about hypnosis and other mind centered approaches to transformation (NLP, EFT, New Thought Churches etc) but to get curious about this amazing puzzle just waiting to be solved…. You!
If you Have questions I welcome them! please feel free to call my toll free number: 888 598-7709 or email me at HypnosisAlbany [at] Gmail.com or use the handy form below and I’ll contact you!