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Hypnosis and the Mind

By Michelle Beaudry

The human mind may be subdivided into three parts: the Unconscious, Subconscious and Conscious. These compare to a computer:

  • Unconscious - operating system
  • Subconscious - hard drive
  • Conscious - RAM

Each part has separate and distinct tasks. The Unconscious mind operates your automatic body systems such as the circulatory system, much as a computer's operating system includes its basic functions. The Subconscious mind operates like a hard drive by storing files of all kinds, from a full memory bank of your past to your emotional spectrum, to its most vital task: protecting you at all costs. The Conscious mind is our everyday mind, making immediate day to day decisions like what to wear, eat, and drink. It is the gatekeeper, choosing what information is to be acted upon moment by moment. It's the mind you're reading this book with right now, and its tasks include comparing, reasoning, and explaining. These abilities are called the Critical Factor and are bypassed in hypnosis.

Importance of the Subconscious Mind
To update a file on your computer, you must open the original file and make the changes. In the human mind, original files are stored in the Subconscious. To gain access, we must reach the Subconscious directly, bypassing the Conscious mind. In other words, one way to gain positive changes in the present is to neutralize the negativity in the past. We do not change the memories, we upgrade how you feel about them. This upgrading can only be accomplished in the Subconscious, for that is where memories are stored, and it can only be reached through bypass of the Conscious mind, and that can only be done through hypnosis. Why? It's what works. Hypnosis specifically sets the Conscious mind aside temporarily.

Your Mind Must Protect You; Good News, Bad News
All levels of your mind work to protect you as best they can at all times. And this especially applies to the Subconscious. It must protect you at all costs, and to do so, it may even lie to you, or more to the point, to your Conscious mind. It may lie about you, about others, it may even lie to your hypnotist while you are in trance. It may hide memories from you. And much, much more. This is because once it accepts negative behaviors in the name of your safety, it hangs on to those behaviors. Some examples are:

  • smoking anything
  • being obese
  • declining success
  • biting your fingernails
  • spending compulsively

You may well ask, how can compulsive spending possibly protect me? It distracts you. Misdirection is one highly effective way your Subconscious protects you by keeping a lid on overwhelming emotions. Ergo the addict. You may well ask, how can declining to be successful possibly protect me? It limits you. Limiting exposure to risk is another way to protect you. It is when such protective efforts do not meet your current needs that you desire change. Hypnosis sets aside the Conscious mind, makes changes via the Subconscious mind, and change is achieved.

How Hypnosis Upgrades Your Files
Hypnosis is able to change your perception of your memories, and thus of yourself. We do not change the events themselves, we upgrade how you feel about them, and thus your daily life is upgraded. By accessing the original files stored in the Subconscious, you are able to see all of the reasons why your mind specifies your behaviors in the name of protecting you, and together we upgrade those behaviors since, typically, the need of that protection is gone. You are no longer in the middle of the event that had such impact on you.

Your Conscious mind does not have complete access to your memory files; that is not its job. This is why merely talking about change is such an ineffective means of getting any. Talking happens in the Conscious mind. Change happens in the Subconscious. And here's the rub: the Subconscious outvotes the Conscious mind. It is far, far larger, stronger, and more powerful. This is why willpower fails so miserably for the dieter. Unless the Subconscious agrees to a healthy diet and a normalized body weight, your finest of intentions are shortlived, having been overridden by the Subconscious mind.

Emotions are a function of, and are stored in, the Subconscious. When you have had an emotional reaction to danger, for example, real or imagined, those emotions are felt and stored in your Subconscious. Hypnosis accesses those stored emotions, upgrades your perception of them, and results in changed behavior. You must give yourself permission to make changes. You must want to change. You must want to enter into hypnosis. And this means not being afraid of hypnosis. So, let's define what hypnosis is in several ways, as there is no single perfect way to phrase it.

What Hypnosis Is
Hypnosis is the bypass of the critical factor of the conscious mind combined with the establishment of selective thinking, says the US Government. Hypnosis is a blend of physical relaxation and extreme mental alertness. Yes, I said extreme. Hypnosis is a state of focused concentration. This is why a few minutes of emotional expression in trance is worth hours in an alert state. Humans are so easily distracted, and the Conscious mind is forever making excuses for everything. In hypnosis, the conscious mind is set aside, and excuses are seen for what they are.

Hypnosis is guided imagery combined with specific suggestions to effect desired change. Ah, there's that phrase: guided imagery. Many hypnotists dislike the connotation of the H word, hypnosis, so they call themselves practitioners of guided imagery. Be not fooled, they are hypnotists. Guided meditation? Hypnosis. Relaxation techniques? Hypnosis. Hypnosis is the state you enter into every time you watch a favorite tv show, see a film you like, or sit down at the computer intending to only be there for 10 minutes... and suddenly it's two hours later. Hypnosis also happens when humans fall in love, literally entranced.

What Hypnosis Is Not

  • Hypnosis is not mind control. Svengali is fiction! As is that Bugs Bunny cartoon where he walked like a zombie, claiming to be hypnotized. Fiction!
  • Hypnosis is not a royal proclamation. We don't just say to the tranced client, You are a nonsmoker, and emerge her. It can take anywhere from one session to a dozen to get the changes the client wants.
  • Hypnosis is not sleep. We use relaxation, not sleep, to enter hypnosis. You do not wake up from hypnosis, you emerge. And you already know exactly what emerging from hypnosis feels like! Remember the last time you went to the movies, loved the film, and at the end when the credits rolled, you suddenly came to? You just emerged from hypnosis. That's exactly what it feels like, because that's exactly what happened.
  • Hypnosis is not being unconscious. You can hear everything that goes on around you during trance; you're just not interested in it. You already know what this aspect of hypnosis feels like, too. Ever been in the middle of your favorite tv show when someone calls your name? Oh, you hear them calling, alright, you're just not interested. Then it takes a few seconds of emerging from the hypnotic effects of television to bring back your Conscious mind to full alert.
  • Hypnosis is not relaxation. That's just an optimal starting point.
  • Hypnosis is not being drugged. Although a trance state is what drug and alcohol addicts strive for, hypnosis is not addictive. However, one can easily mimic a drugged state in hypnosis, provided you have previously felt the effects of that drug. Your body remembers. This is useful for pain control.
  • Hypnosis is not involuntary. Just as no one can make you enjoy a movie that fails to entrance you, no one can make you remain in hypnosis. The state is fully voluntary. You can not enter it without your consent for more than a few seconds, and more importantly, can not remain in hypnosis without your full consent. If you become even the slightest bit uncomfortable, you will automatically emerge. Hypnotists know this. I typically teach my clients self hypnosis on the very first session so that they know for certain that they can emerge whenever they like. Anyone can emerge from hypnosis instantly by making that their intention.

Hypnosis Can Not Override Your Standards
Hypnosis can not make you do things that make no sense to you or that are against your moral standards. Should you object to any of the work while in trance, you will react one of two ways: you will either emerge or you will ignore the suggestion. This is easily proven by observing stage hypnosis. Go see a show, and you will see people emerge and leave the stage throughout. Why? They rejected a suggestion. Perhaps it was too silly, or it confused them, or it was beneath their dignity. So, they either left the stage fully alert or sat in their chairs without responding to the suggestion. And there is nothing the stage hypnotist could do about it except continue the show with the folks who were responsive. Of course the fun people on the stage are those showoffs who would pretty much do all the same silly stuff without the benefit of being in trance; they are the same people who put lampshades on their heads at parties under the influence of half a wine cooler.

You Can Not Get Lost in Hypnosis
Hypnosis is never a permanent state. Should the hypnotist stop talking long enough, you will notice and emerge automatically. Even more to the point, it is easy enough to assign yourself a time limit when going into self hypnosis, and your subconscious mind will automatically emerge you when your time's up. Even the hypnotic trance of television eventually gets boring, and we've all pushed the off button of the remote while yawning.

All Hypnosis Is Self Hypnosis
The hypnotherapist is your guide, not telling you what to do, but telling you what you want to do. You choose to enter the state, to remain in the state, and to do the work. This is why, ultimately, all hypnosis is really self hypnosis. So why, then, would you need a hypnotherapist? It's better and faster to have the help of a skilled professional.

How Does It Actually Happen?
Hypnotists use methods we call techniques. These include Direct Suggestion, Regression To Cause, The Forgiveness Pyramid, Parts, The Spa of Your Inner Mind, The Recording Studio, Progression, and Higher Mind.

The Last Word
The media uses hypnosis on you all the time. ALL the time. Advertisers have been known to employ hypnotists to assess the hypnotic potential of a given advertisement, and pay good money for it. Everytime you watch tv and enjoy it, you go into a state of trance. Ditto listening to music, going to the movies, watching a DVD, hearing talk radio, reading a magazine, and so forth. When you don't like a particular type of music, that is expressly because it fails to put you into the trance you listen to music for. So here comes the big duh. Why should media have all the fun? Please visit your friendly neighborhood trance specialist and use hypnosis to further your own goals.

Ah, hypnosis. So easy you can do it with your eyes closed.

Michelle Beaudry, CHt, fulltime clinical hypnotist in the Orlando, Florida area; member National Guild of Hypnotists, Hypnosis Education Association, Conscious Awareness Network.
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