What Is Hypnosis?

by Paul Gustafson RN BSN CH
BurlingtonHypnosis.com

Thought Process

In order to explain hypnosis it helps to understand how we process the endless stream of information we are bombarded with everyday. Our conscious mind acts as the gate keeper. It judges, critiques, accepts or denies information for storage in our long-term memory or subconscious mind. With repeated exposure or repetition to the same information or experiences, our thoughts can evolve into actions.

The subconscious stores all of our habits, patterns, values and beliefs. It’s also the home of our imagination as well as our body’s control center. It tells our heart when to beat, our lungs when to breath and controls every step we take every day of our life. It’s a very powerful place.

Once a subconscious pattern is established it’s pretty tough to break. Think of the subconscious mind as the hard drive of your computer. Once you down-load a program it automatically repeats every time you run it. The more often we repeat an action the longer the root of this pattern becomes. For example, by repeating an action 36,000 times it’s likely to become a consistent part of your life routine. This is the number of times a ½ pack a day smoker reinforces their habit over a ten year period.

Gardening Techniques

Think of the subconscious mind as a greenhouse. Roses or poison ivy will both flourish in this fertile environment. Even though the conscious mind’s job is to keep track of what gets stored, it’s only human and makes mistakes. Hypnosis offers the unique opportunity to not only do the weeding, but to also plant the seeds of positive, healthy alternatives.

The reason people have such difficulty attempting to make conscious level change with long-term patterns is because they don’t reside in the conscious mind. Long-term patterns reside in the subconscious mind or long-term memory. It’s like weeding your garden by clipping them off at the ground level. It looks great for a while but they always grow back. When changes are made on a subconscious level, patterns can be yanked out by the root so they never grow back.

Hypnosis 101

Have you ever driven to the store and wondered how you got there because you remembered no details of the drive? Or stared at your computer screen for what you thought was an hour only to be surprised that most of the afternoon had disappeared? These are examples of naturally occurring hypnotic trance, which we all experience several times a day.

Hypnosis is the formal process of accessing subconscious thought and then directing it to support intended goals. Think of a hypnotist as a tour guide. They point out wonderful vacation spots in your mind, which you may visit if you choose.
They create a safe, relaxing environment and are prepared to direct the client toward the still, peaceful depths of subconscious thought. For most clients hypnosis is the deepest level of relaxation they have ever experienced.

Then the hypnotist offers the clients subconscious mind the help it needs. They assit the client to relax and focus inwardly and then gently give the subconscious mind the new direction it needs. Also, because the imagination is part of the subconscious mind the hypnotist will help clients create vivid imagery involving goals and desires, which can offer dramatically positive results.

The hypnotist should tailor all sessions to the specific needs of the client. A typical session might be 15-25 minutes long. Often there is soft music or nature sounds playing quietly in the background. Some hypnotists may have clients wear headphones, which allows them to blend music and voice while blocking out any extra sounds that may interfere with the process of relaxation. It’s also ideal if clients go home with a reinforcement recording of the session.

What a Deal

Not only can you create positive healthy changes with hypnosis, but you are involved with the process. You choose to enter this level relaxation, accept the suggestions and create the images supporting your success. Hypnosis is also an empowering tool you can use on your own. There is no withdrawal, patches or gum, no medications, prescriptions, interactions or allergic reactions. And once you know the technique, it’s yours for life.

Paul Gustafson, R.N., C.H. is a Clinical Hypnotherapist in Burlington, MA. His 11 years of acute cardiac and hospice experience offer a solid foundation supporting his empowering and creative use of hypnosis. Visit BurlingtonHypnosis.com or call toll free at 888-290-3972.

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