What exactly is the hypnotic state/trance?
Let’s talk a little about trance. Trance is a state of awareness where it becomes possible to tap into those deep unconscious resources we all possess, allowing us to make desired changes. To be in a trance does not mean to be asleep, although it can sometimes look that way, but in fact the opposite is true. Studies of the brain activity of people in trance have revealed an increased level of alertness. So rather then it been a sleep it is actually a state of focus. Everyone has experienced trance many times, though most people don’t know it as trance. We all go in and out of this state several times a day. Have you ever found yourself so engrossed in the storyline of a movie or book, to the complete exclusion of the room and people around you? That is an example of trance that most people can relate to.
Healing by trance is among the oldest phenomena known to man and is found, in one form or another, in virtually every culture throughout the world. It is an enormously useful therapeutic tool. Once in a state of hypnotic relaxation, the subconscious mind is able to absorb information, suggestion and other content which bring about therapeutic changes. Suggestions (direct and indirect), therapeutic interventions, visualisation and language structures are utilized in this state, so you can achieve something you want, or something that will benefit you, and in this hypnotic state, that acceptance goes even deeper than it would in non-hypnotic states. Since the subconscious mind is a deeper-seated, more instinctive force than the conscious mind, when accessed, therapeutically, many desired behavioral and cognitive changes are achievable. Stress/anxiety, depression, OCD, fears & phobias and quitting smoking are some of the most commonly treated conditions with great success.
So we can see that really hypnosis, in the therapeutic context, is the focused use of trance to reprogram self-limiting unconscious patterns. It is a perfectly natural, relaxing and enjoyable state that can make the world of difference to breaking the cycle of habits, conquering phobias, reducing anxiety, lifting depression etc.
To understand how our subconscious mind can get things wrong, and how hypnotherapy can help, let’s look at why we suffer from phobias.
Irrational fears and phobias are actually very common and do not always present a major problem in peoples’ lives. For example someone might be scared of heights but feel no need to address the fear because they do not have to climb ladders or mountains very often.
With that in mind, naturally, the main reason a person wants to get over an irrational fear or phobia is because it directly inhibits them in one way or another from living a normal life. Examples could include freezing on the spot when a spider is spotted, running across a road when a dog approaches or not visiting relatives that live abroad because that requires air travel.
So why does a panic response set in so powerfully that in an instance all rationale goes out the window? You may have already worked out that it is a subconscious response. One of the roles of the subconscious mind is to ensure our safety and it is instinctive in nature. If faced with a real danger our subconscious, instinctive mind will trigger a sequence of events in our mind and body to prepare us to either run or fight. This is known as the fight or flight response.
Using cynophobia (fear of dogs) as an example, the subconscious mind has developed the idea that DOG=DANGER. So every time you see a dog, alarm bells go off and the response is triggered. The subconscious mind can apply the same reactive sequence to anything it perceives to be a danger. This can be anything in our environment or even a particular environment itself e.g. a dental surgery or airplane.
The good news is, using hypnotherapy and NLP fears and phobias are generally dealt with in two or three sessions. The process is very simple and the changes lasting. Once the subconscious mind has things in true perspective you can retain control, comfortably and calmly, when faced with your old fear. Why? This is because by reframing the fear the subconscious will not perceive the stimulus, in this case a dog, as been a direct threat to your well-being. Once this has been achieved then the panic response, triggered by the primitive, subconscious mind, will no longer be deemed necessary for your survival.
I am a clinical hypnotherapist dedicated to helping people take control of their lives. I am based in Bristol and I specialize in the treatment of anxiety disorders, depression and related conditions. Please leave any comments you may have.
For more information visit [http://www.hypnochanges.co.uk]