No one is completely sure what the phenomenon of hypnosis is, in my pre-talk that I give clients before a hypnotherapy session I tell them, “Hypnosis is not sleeping but it is a deeply relaxing state in which change can occur”. It is thought that hypnosis utilises the R.E.M state, the R.E.M state is part of the sleep cycle and the place where dreams occur. Dreams are thought to be our minds way of making sense of reality and processing what has happened during the course of a day, dreams are extremely important to a person’s mental health.
Our limbs often become heavy and deeply relaxed when we sleep, this is known as catalepsy, cataleptic limbs stop us sleep walking and acting out on our dreams when we are hypnotised or in the R.E.M state but you will not become unconscious when you are hypnotised. When we are hypnotised our subconscious mind takes over and we are still fully aware of our surroundings and always in complete control.
I usually give my clients the suggestion that everything I say will be for their own good and if they should dislike anything I say they can simply ignore it. Some people are worried about doing things against their will or telling all their personal secrets but this is not possible, tests have shown that people cannot be made to do anything that goes against their personal values when hypnotised.
The hypnotist leads the client into a trance state, trance states have been used therapeutically for thousands of years. The earliest documented example of hypnosis and trance being used therapeutically is in the sleep temples of ancient Egypt, sleep temples where used to heal a variety of physical and mental ailments. Stories are also hypnotic in nature and they have been told for thousands of years, stories can be therapeutic and they can also be used as a means of entertainment and passing on knowledge. Have you ever noticed yourself zoning out whilst watching T.V?
We all go into trance several times during the course of a day, Richard Bandler is a co-founder of NLP and considered by some to be the World’s greatest hypnotist his theory is that we are all always in a trance state. It has been proven that we all have different parts, different states or realities for different situations. To help us learn and do things effectively our brains create patterns that allow us to do things unconsciously such as walking, driving or shaking hands. Hypnotists can utilise these trance states to induce hypnosis, these are known as pattern interrupt inductions.
Hypnosis Doesn’t Have To Be Relaxing
When done therapeutically we usually try to make hypnosis a pleasant and relaxing experience but it doesn’t have to be, many of us have limiting beliefs and negative self-images because as children inept teachers, parents and other family members have shouted at us and told us we are lazy or stupid. Research has shown that children use trance as a defence mechanism to retreat from a threat they cannot get away from physically. Children frequently enter trance states when they visualize “imaginary friends”.
Hypnotherapy is actually used to de-hypnotise the client, we guide the client into a trance state and use a number of techniques. In a trance state the client can vividly visualize the outcome they want and anchor a feeling they want to have or use internal resources to break unwanted patterns, phobias and habits are patterns that we develop and for the reasons described above hypnotherapy is very effective at undoing them.