A special state of mind...
. . . hypnosis is as natural as waking up in the morning.
The part of your mind that filters and makes sense of what you see and sense around you is like a pair of glasses you wear most of the time when you're awake. Sometimes those glasses are perched on your forehead or in a pocket. Mostly they are right there, helping you. Also known as your reasoning conscious mind, it applies up to the minute analysis to the more or less arbitrary permanent records and set reactions of your subconscious. It also like a kind of referee between your subconscious and your imagination with it's endless stream of what-ifs, possibilities and fears. Ideally anyway.
Driving home on a piece of highway you've driven a hundred times your mind wonders. This is when those glasses are perched on your forehead. The slightest change from normal road conditions, without missing a beat, the reasoning centers of your mind slide right down into place. Conditions normal, you resume your other thoughts. This happens in one way or another, all day, every day.
Sitting in front of an engrossing video game or at the movies with a big screen and an array of speakers, you are swept away into the action. This is when those glasses are in a pocket. At the end or a break in the flow, it takes a moment for the real world to come into focus, a moment to pull the glasses out of the pocket and put them on.
What I do as your hypnotist is talk you through steps of relaxation and, with the skills I posses, remove the glasses that filter what you see and sense. We slip the reasoning part of your mind safely into a nearby case, always close at hand. My words speak to your imagination. Sometimes using a manner of speech developed over time to draw up thoughts in a way that reset the permanent records and habitual reactions of your subconscious. Mostly I use plain speech to encourage your imagination to picture you as a person with new improved ways of thinking. New automatic reactions and reasoned responses that you have decided are behaviors you prefer to have.
Hypnotic sessions are not always about change and behavior modification. You can use hypnosis to explore what your imagination is capable of. How, by simple thoughts, your physical, even emotional sensations and responses, can be altered, enhanced or ignored. Some find it empowering to know that such experiences can be only things of the mind, under their control.
For decades, dentists in all parts of the world have used hypnosis to control pain. Hypnosis is used similarly in child birth and with cancer patients. Recently I was asked to walk clients through their own past, into lives they have lived before. Is this just imagination? Is it a manifestation of suppressed memories of the life they are now living? Is it some kind of psychic or spiritual phenomenon? It is not for me to say. I only act as a guide. What you learn and your conclusions is what makes it an exploration.
Setting a you free with the power of metaphor
The right story at the right time can facilitate psychological and even physical healing.
It’s possible that the ancient traditions of storytelling so rich and rife in all cultures may have been the earliest form of therapy as well as vehicles for passing on patterns of wisdom.
Using story therapy isn’t new, but it’s becoming more popular again. Dr Milton Erickson used to tell his patients stories from his own and other people’s lives.
So why does story therapy work?
Stories bypass the shredding effects of over-analysis and conscious reasoning. Stories are inherently hypnotic in that they fixate attention and appeal to the imagination. This makes story therapy the perfect device for delivering fresh patterns of hope as well as more specific suggestions for change.
How story therapy got rid of a boy’s warts
The unconscious mind deals in patterns. A therapist used the story of ‘blocking the food supply of an invading army’ in a story he told to a boy with warts. This ‘mirrored’ the pattern of ‘blocking the blood supply to the warts’. Neither warts nor blood were mentioned in the story, but the boy’s warts began to disappear soon after he heard this story.
Stories are not meant to be consciously picked apart. You don’t have to know exactly how a medication works in order for it to take effect and heal you from within.
And if a story doesn’t immediately ‘work’ for someone, no harm is done. They have simply heard an entertaining story! Change can come quickly or slowly.
People from all cultures, living in all parts of the world meditate every day.
Guided Imagery is similar to both hypnosis and meditation; a kind of Storytelling.
Guided Imagery is a way of using our imagination, and it has countless potential benefits. The problem is that without learning how to use our imagination skillfully, most of us use it to worry ourselves silly! In a way, worry is probably the most common use of the imagination — the repetitive focusing on images and thoughts of trouble, problems, disasters waiting to happen.
All of us worry at one time or another: It’s natural, and sometimes worrying even allows us to solve problems by examining the situation over and over. But some of us worry habitually, and that creates a condition of chronic stress. If you are a worrier, you can break that habit and replace it with a new habit we might call “positive worry” — taking time to focus your imagination on thoughts and things that create calm, peacefulness, relaxation and a sense of security. This shift in focus allows your body and mind to refresh themselves and lets you use your coping and problem-solving abilities better.
Relaxation and More
The first skill to learn with imagery is using it to relax — we describe how to do that and even offer you audio clips you can listen to. Regular interruption of chronic stress with relaxing mental “mini-vacations” can sustain your energy, your positive mood and your ability to cope with challenges.
Beyond relaxation, imagery can be used to stimulate our creativity and help us reach new solutions to difficult problems. One technique is to imagine having a conversation with a wise and helpful figure and see what it has to tell you about an area of concern.
Imagery can be used to develop qualities in yourself you’d like to have — it’s like emotional body-building — and using a technique called “Evocative Imagery” you can cultivate courage, patience, tolerance, humor, concentration, self-confidence or any other quality you’d like to embody.
Imagery can also be used to stimulate our immune systems, to increase or decrease blood flow to areas of the body, and thus to influence healing. See the Academy for Guided Imagery Web site for more information.
Whether it’s for relaxation, problem-solving, healing, or self-development, learning to use your imagination skillfully can be one of the best investments you’ll ever make with your time.
The placebo effect is proof positive that the body is brilliantly equipped with natural self-repair mechanisms that can fix broken proteins, kill cancer cells, fight infectious agents, and retard aging? And don’t they realize that even if a clinical trial fails to demonstrate that a drug or surgery or alternative medicine treatment is better than a placebo, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t “work” when 18-80% of the time, the body heals itself when given a sugar pill or saline injection in a clinical trial. And that’s GREAT NEWS!
While thoughts, beliefs, and feelings originating in the mind can activate placebo-like “self-healing effects” in the body, the placebo effect doesn’t just make people feel better; it effects measurable outcomes in the mind and the body’s physiology.
All of us are susceptible to placebo effects. In fact, some studies suggest that people with higher IQ’s may be even more susceptible than average. The only ones who seem to be relatively immune to placebo effects are those with Alzheimer’s.
The talks we will have and the processes like hypnosis, meditation and storytelling are all and effort for your natural healing ability to do what it was evolved to do. Make your life turn out well.