The first thing you should know about hypnosis is that it is a natural state that everyone has gone through many, many times before. Sometimes we enter the hypnotic state naturally, enjoy it for a while and then either fall asleep or come back to fully waking consciousness, often unaware that anything unusual has happened.On occasion, we do notice the shift in consciousness, but usually this realisation does not come until we are back to full conscious awareness.
Have you ever driven or walked somewhere and suddenly realised that you are unsure of which route you took? It’s almost as though you are on autopilot, you know you were safe, yet your focus was elsewhere. This naturally occurring state is often cut short because of external events that require your conscious awareness, such as stop lights or potentially hazardous circumstances.
You also enter a trance state while day dreaming, again this is often cut short as work colleagues wave their hand in front of your face and call your name!
These are just two examples of how we drift in and out of altered states of consciousness without direction, the difference between these experiences and hypnosis is that with hypnosis you control the state and make productive use of it.
During the hypnotic state something very special and rather unusual happens. The subject becomes increasingly suggestible and is able to gain access to the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind works very much like a computer processor, obeying the programs it receives without question, however, during normal waking consciousness, any program that you attempt to install will be checked, and if it conflicts with programs already running, it will be rejected.
The hypnotic state allows you to reprogram your subconscious mind without scrutiny. This means that you are able to install new programs that conflict with your existing ones. When this happens people change. Changes at the subconscious level are usually very long lasting; an example of a negative program at this level would be a phobia or an addiction.
The goal of hypnosis is to elicit positive change by removing undesirable programs and replacing them with helpful ones. This is only possible because hypnosis allows access to the subconscious, if it didn’t; hypnosis would be nothing more than relaxation. There have been many attempts to explain what makes this communication possible and experimentation has revealed a number of ways that we are able to program our subconscious, the most notable of which are repetition, relaxation, focus, shock and confusion.
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