Hypnosis Defined: Do you know how hypnosis is defined? What part do the conscious and subconscious mind play? People new to this form of self help, whether it's called deep relaxation, trance or hypnotherapy, always have lots of pertinent questions...and that's good. The more you know, the more effective any self improvement program will be, and the more satisfying life will become. Study how hypnosis is defined and you will get a clearer picture of how hypnotherapy can help with your self improvement plans and how you are already being hypnotized in your daily life.
The definitions of hypnosis are as numerous as there are practitioners - everyone has their favorite way of describing or defining what exactly happens. Some hypnosis definitions describe it as 'an altered state', others talk about the 'functioning of the conscious/subconscious minds', others still define hypnosis as a state of 'heightened suggestibility'. Everyone is right in some way, at least.
Hypnosis Defined: A.M.Krasner
A.M. Krasner in his book, The Wizard Within has defined hypnosis in a particularly clear way. His concise definition of hypnosis is:
"a process which produces relaxation,distraction of the conscious mind,
heightened suggestibility, and,
allowing access to the subconscious mind through the imagination.
It also produces the ability to experience thoughts and images as real."
Hypnosis Defined: Belief and Expectation
Another part of the definition of hypnosis is: Belief and Expectation:
Two components must be present: Belief and Expectation
If we have the belief that we can achieve trance and the expectation that we will, then we will achieve trance.
Hypnosis Defined: Hypnosis or Hypnotherapy
What is Hypnotherapy?
The definition of hypnosis and hypnotherapy are similar yet different. Hypnosis, remember, can be used for purely entertainment. Hypnotherapy is hypnosis used in a therapeutic 'setting', creating a therapeutic 'situation' as outlined above. It is the use of hypnosis to achieve simple or profound healing or changes. After watching a hypnosis stage show, you might be inclined to think there is a super power at work, but no.
Hypnosis Defined: Magic or Reality?
Is it magic? No, the work of a hypnotherapist involves skill and knowledge at bringing into play the parts as outlined in the definition of hypnosis above: creating a safe, relaxing atmosphere, partly by building trust and confidence (by our standard of performance and ethics), guiding a client gently into trance, using appropriate positive statements or techniques.
The most important part of a hypnotherapist's work may rest in the very beginning - which although not outlined in the how we define hypnosis - may be the most important step of all, and that's, listening to you. You are the one who does the work. If anyone creates magic, it’s YOU!
Hypnosis Defined:Is Hypnosis safe?
Generally, it is considered very safe and very effective. It is natural and non-invasive. There are a few circumstances where hypnosis would not be appropriate. If you are taking strong medications or experience hallucinations, hypnosis may not be for you. In these circumstances,especially, any self improvement program should be discussed with your doctor. Your hypnotherapist will discuss this with you also when they do an assessment.
Hypnosis Defined: Step by step
First, there's the relaxation (everybody this part) and then, secondly, the relaxation 'quietens' or 'distracts' the conscious mind.
The conscious mind is that busy part of our mind that we're aware of most of the time, the part you're using right now to read this.
Remember the definition said "quieten" or 'distract' your conscious mind, not put it out of business! It's still there. Some thoughts may even float in and out of your mind while you are in trance, you may be perfectly aware of your surroundings, hear every word spoken or just a few: your mind will still be perfectly aware of everything that is going on around you.
Hypnosis Defined: Will I be aware of what's happening?
Yes, everything! Let me say this again. You will hear everything that is said. You'll still be able to make judgments about what you hear - and accept or reject them. You can bring yourself out of trance anytime you wish.
You still have choice: you may decide to focus on the voice of the hypnotherapist or the music playing quietly in the background. So it may seem as if you're not hearing everything, but as you allow yourself to relax and narrow down your focus, outside noises will pass by and you will choose to give full attention to the hypnotic experience.
So now you're relaxed, and your busy mind is quiet. This is when you have 'increased awareness' and 'heightened suggestibility'. Suddenly, you become aware of the vast capabilities of your mind.
Hypnosis Defined: How do I get access to my subconscious mind?
Think of it this way. Picture a bowl of clean, pure water. See yourself adding a few drops of oil. See how the oil floats on the water. Now pretend or imagine that you add a drop of detergent to that water.
All the oil instantly clears away to the sides of the bowl. (If you haven’t seen this happen, try it at home). Now think of the pure water as your subconscious mind and your conscious mind as the oil.
Most of the time the conscious mind (the oil) covers our subconscious mind (the water), when we add relaxation and a quietened conscious mind (the soap), we can have access to (see) our subconscious mind (the water). So, you see, the subconscious mind is always there, just hidden from view.
Hypnosis Defined: Understanding the subconscious mind
We see from how Krasner has defined hypnosis that the subconscious mind plays an important role. Your subconscious mind is the boss - it runs our bodies. All those things our bodies just do automatically without us thinking about them, well, the subconscious looks after them all - our memory, our breathing, our heart rate, perspiration, and so on. It does everything it can to protect us and keep us alive.
It also holds onto bad habits. And runs our emotions. And it does it the best way it knows how. And that might not be the way you want it to behave at this point in your life. So after you reach the point of relaxation and trance (clearing the oil), your subconscious mind can accept new positive suggestions and with the power of your imagination make those images real. The image in your mind is what your subconscious mind will perceive as the truth. The more real that image is in your mind, the more powerful will be the change effected. Hypnosis Defined: Is it normal?
When we examine Krasner's definition of hypnosis, we can see in a glance, that it is a simple process. A lot goes on, yet it’s very simple to achieve most of the time. And when we reach the last few steps outlined in the definition of hypnosis or trance, you can see that we can accomplish a lot with it. Whether we use hypnosis for self help and self improvement - or whether we allow anything and everything to be embedded in our minds - the choice is ours.
Hypnosis Defined: Daily dose of Trance
People are thought to go into trance maybe 6 or more times a day. Think back to how hypnosis was defined above. Anytime you become so focused on something, for instance a tv show, videos, repetitive advertising, driving, anytime that you aren't aware of what you're doing - maybe you don't hear someone calling you or you arrive somewhere without being aware of how you drove there, you were in trance. Those are the same conditions as defined for hypnotic trance above.
So you can see it's something quite natural and normal - something that happens on a regular basis without our conscious decision. When you understand the real definition of hypnosis, you realize that as you only use hypnosis by choice, you, and only you, take control over what goes into your subconscious mind. Go back and read how hypnosis is defined for a moment and then think about the music you listen to, the colors around you, any form of art that you constantly see, books you read and shows you watch. Are they feeding your mind with the thoughts and feelings that you want? Or is some part of your surroundings contributing to the very problems you are seeking to improve in your life? Are there changes you can make? Understanding the definition of hypnosis helps you to "see" the big picture: what goes into your mind affects the everyday you. Understand this and you will be able to develop this skill to use at will.
Hypnosis Defined: Children
Some people say little children are always in trance! Think of their open minds,and vivid imaginations and you'll see how they fit how hypnosis is defined. And that's why we need to be so careful how we speak to them, what shows they watch or they read. Even the color of the paint on their bedroom walls or the artwork displayed may affect them. And it gives us some insight into how we may have inadvertently been programmed into some of our own thought patterns ("if you don't eat all your dinner, you won't get dessert" – so now you eat it all up whether you’re full or not).
The belief is that little children do not have, what some call, the Critical Factor in place until around the age of eight years. Up until then they are highly susceptible to outside suggestions. A child will believe everything he is told; he believes it to be true, with all the deep emotion of a child. Again we can gain some understanding now of why some of our fears and phobias have such a profound impact on us even in our adult years.
Some child psychologists believe that we develop our strongest personality traits and behaviours during these early years. This is when we learn to trust or not trust; have self-confidence or self-doubt; become friendly or alienate ourselves; reinforce our sense of initiative or fear of failure. Some neonatologists even believe that some of those characteristics are set before the child reaches the age of one.
After the age of eight years, the Critical Factor develops and our option to choose comes into play.
Hypnosis Defined: Is there any Hope?
So is there any hope? Are we stuck with our habits? No! The old computer that is us can be reprogrammed! The old data can be replaced. Our bodies are just like robots, acting on command. By accessing our subconscious mind, we can re-program ourselves the way we want to be. The same ability that accepted all the negative programming, can accept new, positive suggestions. With the aid of Hypnosis (to bypass that Critical Factor), new beliefs and behaviors can be established; we can change bad habits, remove fears and phobias (and gain insight into their cause), we can reduce stress and anxious feelings, even boost our immune system. That is, if we want to change. We do need that desire.
You need that desire because nobody can make you do anything you don't want to do. You always have Choice. So let's add that to our definition: You must want to change.
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