The word hypnosis or hypnotherapy drums up all kinds of different ideas as to what hypnosis actually is. Is it where someone casts a spell on you so that you are totally under their control? Is it the joker on the stage making you do crazy things to amuse an audience? Or is it simply talking to your subconscious mind?
What is hypnosis and why does is it intrigue us so much?
There are many different definitions of hypnosis, the first result in search engines is:
A trance-like state in which a person becomes more aware and focused and is more open to suggestion.
The Oxford dictionary tells us that hypnosis is the induction of a state of consciousness in which a person loses the power of voluntary action and is highly responsive to suggestion or direction.
Many hypnotherapists would disagree with the Oxford dictionaries explanation of what hypnosis means. The idea of losing power over your actions during hypnosis is not what hypnotherapy is about in their opinion.
Hypnotists will tell you that hypnosis is to do with relaxation of your mind and body; however, you are in total control and can not be made to do anything you don’t want to do.
Hypnosis is more about making someone so relaxed that the therapist is able to speak directly to your subconscious mind, which will have a positive affect on your mind when you are fully conscious.
If for example you are afraid of spiders and you went to see a hypnotherapist to overcome this fear, the therapist would put you in a relaxed state, and speak to your subconscious mind about your fear of spiders. They would tell you that when you see a spider, they will no longer scare you etc.
If a therapist spoke these thoughts to you whilst you were fully alert, it would probably make no difference at all, but by speaking to you in a relaxed state of hypnosis, you cannot argue in your mind with the idea that next time you see a spider you will still be afraid.
Our subconscious mind is influence everyday without us really realising. We can hear a tune on the radio and think to ourselves, where have I heard that before? It was probably playing in the background somewhere where you have been.
We used to have a colleague at work who would deliberately walk into our office, whistle a tune whilst sending a fax, no one really took any notice as they were getting on with their work, however, a few minutes after he had gone, someone else (normally me) would hum the tune without really realising why and other people said they had that tune running around their head.
Oddly as it seems, the tune was planted into our subconscious mind without us really noticing.
That isn’t a magic trick, that is someone recognising that although we may be concentrating on one thing, our subconscious picks up everything that is going on around us.
The difference with us and hypnotist is that they have learned the art of this and how this can have an affect on us.
Even the stage hypnotist would like you to believe they have some kind of magic power, but infact, all they are really doing is talking to your subconcious through signs so that you will be more susceptible and amazed when they hit you with their trick.
Genuine hypnotherapists recognise that they can have a positive affect of people by using their skill, whether it be overcoming a fear, loosing weight, stopping bad habits or building up your self confidence, whatever it may be, you can at least know that there is no magic involved, and it is not a tool to make you do things you would not want to do in your normal alert state.