When something happens to us, our sub-conscious mind remembers it and learns a particular behaviour in response to what happened. Each time something similar happens, our physical and emotional reactions attached to the memory are repeated.
In some cases, these reactions are unhealthy. In some forms of hypnotherapy, a trained Hypnotist guides you to remember the event that led to the first reaction, separates the memory from the learned behaviour, and replaces unhealthy behaviours with new, healthier ones.
Often, the trained Hypnotist will simply address the issue in present time, without guiding to the original event.
During hypnosis, your body relaxes and your thoughts become more focused. Like other relaxation techniques, hypnosis lowers blood pressure and heart rate, and changes certain types of brain wave activity. In this relaxed state, you will feel at ease physically, yet fully awake mentally, and may be highly responsive to suggestion. If you are trying to quit smoking, for example, a Hypnotist’s suggestion may help convince you that you will not like the taste of cigarettes in the future. Some people respond better to hypnotic suggestion than others.
There are several stages of hypnosis:
- Reframing the problem
- Becoming relaxed, then absorbed (deeply engaged in the words or images presented by the Hypnotist)
- Dissociating (letting go of critical thoughts)
- Responding (complying with the Hypnotist’s suggestions)
- Returning to usual awareness
- Reflecting on the experience