The reason hypnosis works so well has to do with the way it transforms the subconscious mind’s perceptions and beliefs. To begin with, hypnosis works from the assumption that the subconscious mind (the veritable source of all of our internal power) is the storage space of all our past experiences and emotions. In this incredibly vast warehouse, traumatic experiences are filed away on both physical and emotional levels, the stimulus of which can affect our immune system and health. Processing old traumas and the emotional charges attached to them allows a patient to find internal resources that begin the healing process.
Think of your mind like a computer: the unconscious mind operates automatic body systems in the same way as a computer’s operating system; the subconscious operates like a hard drive by storing information; the conscious mind functions like RAM choosing what information is to be acted on moment by moment. Immediately, the supreme importance of the subconscious mind becomes apparent. In order to update any files, the subconscious must be engaged. We cannot change memories, but we can update how we feel about them. In order to do this, the critical factor of the conscious mind must be bypassed. This is achieved through hypnosis when the conscious mind is set aside during the so-called trance state.
The subconscious is the part of your mind burdened with the job of protecting you. It will do anything – even adopt negative behaviors – in order to keep you safe. When these protective measures no longer serve us we feel the need to change. This change is difficult to bring about because the subconscious mind is devoted to its imprinted perceptions. In its bypass of the conscious mind, hypnosis brings the subconscious to the forefront so that changes can be made via suggestions.
Hypnotherapy helps change perceptions of memories, which in turn helps change perceptions of the self and hence, behavior. It’s all a very neat little package. The past cannot be changed or escaped, but our emotional and intellectual attitudes toward it can be radically altered. Change happens in the subconscious. Since emotions play a large role in our activity, thoughts and actions, they are an intuitive seat of transformation.
The truth is, we all go in and out of hypnotic states throughout the day. When you read, watch TV, drive or stare at the horizon you automatically slip into a hypnotic trance.
A few key things to know about hypnosis:
Throughout the entire session you will be awake and aware.
You can choose to come out of hypnosis at any second.
Hypnosis is about choosing to relax to such a degree that the conscious mind lets down its defenses and the subconscious mind engages in change.
Neuro = the nervous system through which experience is received and processed through the five senses.
Linguistic = Language and nonverbal communication systems through which neural representations are coded, ordered and given meaning.
Programming = the ability to organize our communication and neurological systems to achieve specific desired goals and results.
The brain filters stimuli and stores it within a large network of sensory representation systems, including sight, sound, touch, smell, feel and taste. An example of how this works: there’s a song you listened to often during the first time you ever fell in love. Now, whenever you hear that song you feel 1) a flush of happiness if the relationship went well, 2) a surge of sadness and remorse if things ended poorly.
All of our memories are coded this way. When something reminds us of trauma the brain immediately searches inside itself for associations and then represents back to you what it finds in the way of mental pictures and emotions that create behaviors and reactions. The more often these pathways and connections are fired the more they gain strength. For people struggling with the effects of trauma this means their own minds continue to reinforce the negative neural pathways.
The good news is that the brain is very open to change. In fact, every experience you have creates new neural pathways, which means the opportunity to change your brain literally exists in every second. Together we can use the properties of NLP to help you:
isolate personal thought and representation strategies
identify where they are counter-productive
redirect them for more positive effects
The goal of NLP treatment is to assess where the representational strategies are not positively functioning and evolve them so that new neural pathways and actions are formed. NLP does this by:
focusing on the present
determining desired outcomes for the future
teaching people to use their brains to make change
eliciting behavioral strategies and making modifications
engaging the power of the subconscious mind and imagination
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