The Art of the Science
Hypnotherapy to the uninitiated person’s mind, which is influenced with pop culture, refers to a magician / mesmer, with a pendulum in hand, making an unassuming member of the audience cluck like a chicken. It’s funny how my mind just takes me back to those visions of this happening. I’m not even sure where I saw it, was it a Tom and Jerry cartoon or was it one of the cool magic shows. Truth is that I believed that Hypnotherapy may just be a bunch of hocus pocus for a mind that is weak and cannot deal with its own issues.
Definitely not the case – in my need to understand how it works, I came across a lot of material which made me understand the truly scientific application of Hypnotherapy. This article discusses and draws parallels to those basic premises which we use everywhere else in our lives and identifies how hypnotherapy uses those very tools to reinforce beliefs, drive clarity and help resolve issues in the mind of every individual.
Before I jump into the science let me briefly touch upon what Hypnotherapy is NOT –
- a) It is not a miracle which will change you overnight; it is merely a tool, a very handy one at that to help you use the full power of your mind
- b) It is not a technique with which a third person can control your actions – it’s hard to believe that anyway – but you can be assured no one can hypnotize you if you do not want to be hypnotized
- c) A state in which, you are unaware of your, surrounding or actions, during a hypnosis session you have full control of your actions and can very easily chose to come out of it if you wanted to do so
Now that we got the basics out of the way lets move onto the science and how logical approach is the reason why Hypnotherapy can be very simplistically and effectively used to bring about change in our lives
The power of the mind
We have all heard of the myth that humans only use 10% of their brain and the rest if harnessed can unleash powers beyond our imaginations, well that definitely is a myth – humans definitely use over 95% of their brains but the interesting fact is that we do not normally differentiate the brain from the mind – the mind is much more than just the physical brain – it encompasses our lifelong experiences, our judgement and our ability to take decisions.
When it comes to the mind it is split into the conscious mind and the subconscious mind – now 12% of the mind is the conscious decision making, logical mind and a whopping 88% of the mind is the subconscious influencing mind. This is the kicker – Hypnotherapy actually focuses on accessing, opening and influencing the subconscious mind.
Let’s take an example – If you have a bias or an opinion about someone – it is based on an experience with them or second hand information given to you by someone else, this influencing factor is then saved in your subconscious – like your computers RAM – you are aware it is available somewhere but you do not access it directly as an actual file on your hard drive.
Now when you have another experience with this said person then your RAM – the subconscious mind sends out information to your conscious mind and while you try to take a rational, logical decision with your conscious mind the bias still influences the decision and that’s how a bias sets in, showing that the subconscious mind even without our using it has a strong influencing power over us
Now think if 88% of this influence of archived experiences and emotions can be accessed, explored and channelled, how easy it would be to help someone who is fearful of flying on a plane or to reinforce the confidence of the person who, in an anxious situation, ends up stuttering.
If you look at it objectively the approach to dealing with issues is the same – at a conscious level if you have a fear you will try and put yourself in that situation and try and face it so that it doesn’t bother you anymore, similarly at a subconscious level you access the first time/ times which make your mind apprehensive and change that into a position of strength – the only difference is that some guidance is required to access the subconscious mind hence a hypnotherapist gets involved
The subject of hypnotherapy
A real life example – An average teacher in a classroom has typically 30 students to teach. Out of the 30 there are on average 10 who do really well – 10 who are in the middle – and 10 who don’t do so well. Now the questions here is all of them had the same teacher – assuming none of the kids had other elements affect them in their performance the only factor that can lead to a result like this is each individual students RECEPTIVITY and SUGGESTIBILITY
Now what does that really mean? In absolutely simple terms it means how willing were the students to accept the teaching imparted by the teacher. Now each student would probably be influenced differently based on the kind of teaching method was used. This is where the science in hypnotherapy kicks in – most practitioners have the tools to determine what kind of messaging you are open and receptive to Also to measure if your personality has a high suggestibility factor or not – based on this analysis, hypnosis delivery changes and modifies itself to the person you are.
Pretty scientific if you ask me!
I believe in meditation!
Do you believe that meditation helps? If yes, then ask yourself why? You will typically come to the conclusion that meditation is useful because it helps you focus your mind and for a period of time let go of your stresses. Now self-hypnosis works on the very same principle except that it helps you build that focus and provide yourself reinforcing ideas at the tip of the subconscious level.
Meditation works when you do it repeatedly and work on getting into a meditative space faster, similarly with self-hypnosis – it only works once you have a strong belief in what you are doing and you practice it. It’s like playing the piano if you keep doing it you will definitely get better at it.
Cows go “Moo”
One of the most fun games to play with kids is the association game – a funny looking toy will make animal noises and the child will tell you which animal makes that noise. By the time you get to the 15th Moo and your child screaming COW!! You have a headache. Now every time you hear a cow go moo – you are taken back immediately to the headache. That is Association on 2 different levels – 1st the child’s association of the sound with the animal which they probably have not heard in real life but they know which Animal it is – 2nd the feeling of the headache every time you hear the Moo!
The mind is very receptive to associations and makes connections to feelings and emotions with the external stimuli. Remember that one song you had on repeat while reading a book – now every time you hear that song you remember the characters of that book – again association.
Association is one of the foundations of hypnotherapy and is used to influence the subconscious mind to tap into positive and supportive emotions. An association is – feeling confident every time you put your hands in your pockets or feeling peaceful every time you step on grass. These are built through a typical hypnotherapy session and can work wonders to help the mind.
The act of putting your hands in your pocket or stepping on grass can be referred to as an anchor or trigger. These anchors and triggers are physical actions to practice and train your mind to remember how you feel. Just like singing your favourite song over and over again so that you remember the lyrics and feel good every time you sing it.
These are just a few of the techniques and scientific tools used to enhance and effectively support the mind. So now every time you hear the word Hypnotherapy, think about the clucking chicken man, laugh and remember it probably was a gimmick for entertainment not actual hypnosis. Actual hypnotherapy sessions can lead to a much calmer, peaceful and happier you.