What Hypnosis Can and cannot do…
To start with, I must emphasise that hypnosis isn’t magic and it cannot do magic. Furthermore, by itself, it can achieve absolutely nothing at all other than a sense of calmness and relaxation – useful for a temporary relief from stress, but for precious little else.
However, that in itself isn’t a bad thing, given the fast paced world in which we now live, but what is actually done while in hypnosis that produces change is what is important.
Hypnosis is a tool, like any other tool, say for woodworking, and it is only a tool. Its power, or usefulness, depends on who’s using it, again, just like a woodworking tool. If I have a saw, I can cut a piece of wood which is useful, whereas a well trained, professional carpenter can use a saw to construct just about anyting. In other words, the saw is a powerful tool in a carpenter’s hands, but limited tool in mine, and the same principle applies to hypnosis.
Hypnosis is a state of awareness dominated by the subconscious mind.
OK, further explanation.
The mind consists of the conscious and the subconscious, and you can think of them as a set of scales. During our waking hours, the conscious mind keeps us informed and aware of what is happening around us and is in the up position, while the subconscious mind is working in the background, making sure that all our bodily functions such as breathing are carried out correctly, and is in the down position. But, whenever we concentrate on something to the exclusion of all else, our conscious mind takes time off and the subconscious mind takes over as the dominant force. The conscious mind goes into the down position and the subconscious mind goes into the up position, and this is the altered state of awareness which we call hypnosis.
It’s a perfectly natural occurrence, experienced hundreds of times every day by everyone, without us even being aware of it. For example, you go through it every night just before you fall asleep, and again every morning just before you wake up. It’s also a common phenomenon that a motorist when driving a familiar route will arrive at his destination, yet have no conscious recall about parts of the journey. This is because the familiarity of the journey caused his conscious mind to ‘switch off’ and he was coasting along on auto-pilot.
You can think of Hypnosis as your friend; 100% natural and a good friend to have. And like most good friends, it enjoys nothing more than helping you by bringing you a sense of calmness and relaxation. Also, it doesn’t impose itself where it’s not wanted. However, it’s real strength comes when it joins with its partner ‘therapy’ to form that well known double act ‘hypnotherapy’, because together they can bring you a shed-load of good things, from a simple confidence boost for such things as a driving test, exam or best man’s speech at a wedding, through quitting habits such as smoking or nail-biting, to the development of healthy, enjoyable and nutritional eating habits, and improvements that can be brought about in personal motivation, getting fit, concentration, business skills, goal achievement, language skills, study skills, stress management, sporting performance, sexual performance, public speaking, memory enhancement, creativity in all fields, tenacity…. in fact, it can be used to improve or enhance almost all areas of human activity.
It is also extremely useful in the medical world. For example, it can be used to aid recovery from an illness and lower pain, and at the highest level, hypnosis can replace chemical anaesthesia for operations. But I must emphasise, and I cannot say this strongly enough, that when you are suffering medical problems you should always see a medical doctor first, and then, and only then, armed with the proper diagnosis, and knowing it’s safe, should you consult your local hypnotherapist to assist you.
No Can Do
Hypnosis can’t change anybody’s basic underlying personality, it can’t repair congenital damage or genetic problems, it can’t make anybody live forever (although it probably can help to extend useful and enjoyable life), it can’t help to achieve anything that is truly physically impossible, like growing body parts and it cannot do anything that the client resists happening.
I think that last point deserves being repeated, only louder.
Hypnosis cannot do anything that a client resists happening.
In other words, you cannot be hypnotized against your will. Hypnosis is a two-way street. The hypnotist only facilitates the hypnosis in the client if the client wants it, or doesn’t resist it, and it only occurs when he or she is concentrating really hard on something to the exclusion of all else.
You are reading this article, and having got this far, presumably that means you are totally focussed and interested in it to the exclusion of all else, which also means you are currently in a light state of hypnosis that has come about because you are concentrating on what you are reading.
Myths and Humbug
Well, I guess this is probably as good a time as any to explode the most common myths surrounding hypnosis:
- You cannot get stuck in hypnosis – this is quite impossible.
- You do not become in any way unconscious or semi-conscious.
- You cannot, at any time, be made to do things you do not want to do.
- You are totally aware of yourself and your surroundings at all times.
- You do not go to sleep.
- You are not in anyone’s power, and nobody can take control of you.
- You can leave the hypnotic state whenever you want.
- You cannot lose your mind.
- Hypnosis cannot permanently remove memories or thoughts from your mind.
- You will not suddenly blurt out your ‘dark’ secrets.
- Hypnosis cannot bestow psychic abilities or supernatural powers.
- Hypnosis cannot make you act against, or abandon, your moral code.
- There is no such thing as a ‘hypnotized feeling’.
- You do not say or do ‘funny things’ unless you want to.
- Hypnosis is a truly natural state of mind and body and is therefore perfectly safe.
So now you know!