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Changing your mind on the subconscious level


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.

The subconscious is also responsible for:

  • long-term memory

  • emotions

  • imagination 


Using these core elements, hypnosis facilitates the change of perceptions of memories, which in turn changes perceptions of the self and hence, behavior. It’s all a very neat little package. The past can be neither changed nor 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.


How hypnosis works is very simple. You simply choose to settle yourself comfortably and follow the suggestions of the hypnotist to shift your mind in such a way that you have direct access to your subconscious mind, which is ready and waiting for your guidance.


A  few key things to know about hypnosis:

  1. Throughout the entire session you will be awake and aware.

  2. You can choose to come out of hypnosis at any second.

  3. Hypnosis is about choosing to alter your state of focus to such a degree that the conscious mind sets aside its critical factor and allows the subconscious mind to engage in change.

Science backs hypnosis to support trauma and PTSD recovery. Multiple studies have proven the efficacy (often above other more conventional interventions) of hypnosis in creating substantial and long-lasting change.

"...only the hypnosis patients maintained significant treatment effects at followups. [And], only the hypnosis group showed significant positive effects from pretreatment to all post treatment measurement periods."

M, B. A. (2013). Hypnosis for PTSD: Evidence Based Placebo-Controlled Studies. Journal of Trauma & Treatment, S4. doi:10.4172/21671222.s4-006

Hypnosis can be used to help patients face and bear a traumatic experience by embedding it in a new context, acknowledging helplessness during the event, and yet linking that experience with remoralizing memories such as efforts at self-protection, shared affection with friends who were killed, or the ability to control the environment at other times. In this way, hypnosis can be used to provide controlled access to memories that are then placed into a broader perspective.  

Spiegel, D. (n.d.). Hypnosis in the Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Casebook of Clinical Hypnosis., 99-111. doi:10.1037/11090005  

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WSH288 Michele_Rosenthal_on_Trauma_RelPART 1
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WSH288 Michele_Rosenthal_on_Trauma_RelPART 2
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