Hypnosis can produce an altered state of consciousness, similar to day-dreaming or being engrossed in an activity. When engrossed in a TV show or while driving on a highway we experience this altered state. In light to medium hypnosis a person is aware of their surroundings, and is receptive to positive suggestions. Hypnosis is used to change habits or to alleviate certain symptoms.
During hypnosis you enter a relaxed state, in which breathing, heart and metabolism slows down. The conscious mind can rest, leaving the unconscious or subconscious mind open to suggestion. The subconscious mind is where our emotions, dreams, hopes and motivations reside.
Ordinarily we use only 10% of our conscious mind for daily tasks, the greater part of our mind is composed of the subconscious mind, which can create lasting changes for well-being and health.
The use of trance states to facilitate healing dates back to ancient practices in healing temples and shrines. Modern hypnotherapy developed from Anton Mesmer’s in the 1800s. Later psychologists and neurobiologists expanded our understanding of hypnosis.
Psychiatrist Milton Erickson (1901-80) used therapeutic metaphor and story to help clients. In my own work as a hypnotherapist, I have successfully used Erickson’s techniques with clients. His style offers a permissive style of hypnosis suitable for most people.
For most therapeutic uses of hypnotherapy a light or medium-trance is sufficient, in which the client remains fully aware of their surroundings. Some people decide to go into deeper trance states without conscious awareness. The state of hypnosis is induced by your own mind listening to the suggestions given by a hypnotherapist. After people have experienced hypnosis, I train them to use self-hypnosis to direct their own healing.
Self-hypnosis involves self-induction using four stages of relaxation: deepening (mentally counting down from ten to one into an increasingly relaxed state), application of suggestions, and formal ending (mentally counting up from 1 to 5 into a fully alert consciousness).
In self-hypnosis, the individual plays a dual role of giving and receiving suggestions. Therefore, a person needs to remain consciously aware in order to give themselves suggestions for improvement and healing. Suggestions are positive statements given to the subconscious mind during the relaxed state.
What’s it used for?
Hypnotherapy is used for anxiety, mild depression, phobias, addictions, weight problems, pain and insomnia. Any illness with psychosomatic roots can be helped through hypnosis. The relaxed state offered by hypnosis also promotes healing and deep relaxation.
Arvind Singh is a trained hypnotherapist, speaker and writer who uses hypnotherapy along with guided visualization and breath therapy to help clients. His experience as a Hypnotherapist along with Deborah Morrison’s experience as a Counsellor has offered them insights for writing NEXUS: A Neo Novel.