Hypnosis is one of the oldest forms of Western psychology. The Hindus in ancient India, for instance, made self-hypnosis a tenant of their religious practice, and Avicenna, a Persian physician, first documented the hypnotic state in 1027. After decades of misrepresentations and falsehoods in TV and movies, hypnosis is finally regaining its credibility.
Today, a growing body of research suggests that hypnosis does, in fact, have therapeutic benefits. The research is so compelling, in fact, that The Mayo Clinic – one of the world’s most respected healthcare networks – offers hypnosis alongside its traditional medical treatments.
So what is hypnosis?
In the simplest terms, hypnosis is a relaxation technique, in which practitioners follow steps to reach a state of heightened concentration and relaxation. This is called the “hypnotic state,” and it’s similar to daydreaming, or that feeling of losing track of time you get after driving for long periods of time (which is called “highway hypnosis”).Under hypnosis, you remain conscious and in control. But you’re relaxed and highly focused. This allows you to tune out stimuli around you and reach a heightened state of awareness.In this state, the mind is highly responsive to suggestions in the hypnotic state. And that’s why hypnosis is so powerful.
Many of our bad habits, phobias, or negative preconceptions are triggered by our automatic, unconscious thoughts. A smoker experiences automatic cravings throughout the day, which trigger the conscious mind to reach for a cigarette.
But through hypnosis, the smoker can reframe these unconscious urges.First, he or she would examine why these automatic thoughts were there to begin with. And then, the smoker could begin to delete, update or replace them with more positive associations. In other words, the positive thoughts get pushed to the front of the unconscious and they drown out the old way of the thinking.
That’s why hypnosis works. It helps you get to the root cause of your habit or fixation.Ok, so that’s a very broad overview of what hypnosis is.You likely have many questions left unanswered. This guide will help you research hypnosis at a deeper level, including providing insights into what is hypnosis, what is actually taking place in the brain during hypnosis, and what you can do to get started.
Part 1: Understanding What Hypnosis Is
A range of terms may be used to describe hypnosis, and they’re sometimes used interchangeably. But each one refers to a different part of the process. As you begin to research hypnosis, it will be helpful to decipher between these different terms. They include:
Hypnotherapy: Taming the Unconscious MindYou can think of hypnosis as meditation with a goal. Both are similar in that you will be seeking to reach a state of relaxation and concentration.But with hypnosis, you take it one step further. In this state of heightened awareness, you begin to examine your subconscious mind, and you’re provided with suggestions that can help you reframe, improve and enhance how the subconscious operates.
The process typically includes three steps:
information credit Grace Space.