Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy Explained ...


Does hypnosis work and what does it feel like?
by Lou Ravelle

With hypnosis we are working with the subconscious mind and this mind is located in the right side of the brain. The conscious mind is located in the left side of the brain. This is an obvious simplification of a complex system but for a simple over-view it will suffice. So let's consider the properties of these two hemispheres.

The conscious mind, the part we use during our waking day functions in a critical and logical way with the information that it processes. It does not accept information without first assessing it to decide if it is logically verifiable or 'true'. The subconscious functions in ways that seem almost the opposite of this. This mind accepts all the information it receives without unquestioningly. For the subconscious mind everything seems true.

It is this characteristic of uncritical acceptance which we can exploit in hypnotherapy to bring about changes in behaviour, banish fears or change habits.

It's important to know that the subconscious mind controls all our habits, emotion and feelings, and if we can access the subconscious and give new suggestions and ideas we can bring about the needed changes.

The hypnotist plans to 'plant' ideas in the subconscious and give suggestions that enable the desired changes. For instance one could hypnotically condition the smoker that he is now a non-smoker and that cigarettes are revolting and dangerous. One could hypnotically persuade the overweight person that they no longer enjoy bread, potatoes, rice, sweet foods etc. These new ideas can become embedded in the subconscious and lead to the desired changes.

What does Hypnosis feel like?

Hypnosis doesn't have any particular atribute of feeling and it tends to be reported differently by different people. There is no 'special' sensation or feeling that can be identified with it but there are general feeling that are reported by the majority of people that have experienced it.

After a session some people report that during the trance they felt very heavy & perhaps there was a feeling of numbness. Others say they felt like a baloon, floating & weightless. Some, not many, say that they felt nothing at all. They just had their eyes closed.

The majority of people experience time-distortion in trance. They are usually surprised to find that what seemed like five minutes of restfulness was in fact a period of 40 or 50 minutes

Most people don't realise that they have been hypnotised until they are coming out of it at the end of the session. Coming out of hypnosis is a bit like coming out of an afternoon nap or siesta. Perhaps with a sort of, “Where am I?”, feeling.

The important thing to note is that the subject has NOT been asleep, or unconscious. No, hypnosis is neither of those two things - it is a state of deep relaxation and suspension of the critical faculties, nothing else. In this state the barriers to the unconscious are down and the therapist can plant the necessary suggestions and ideas.

In my practice I always explain the above in what I call my pre-induction talk. I also say,” During the session you will be aware of everything that is going on, like the sound of my voice, passing traffic in the street etc. Because you will not be asleep and you will not be unconscious.” However, in spite of all this there is a goodly percentage of people who come out of the trance state and the very first thing they say, sometimes a bit indignantly, is, “I was aware of everything that went on - I remember everything!” Or, something like, "You didn't put me out.” They usually say this as though it were something exceptional, even though I have told them in my pre-talk that it is quite normal to be aware of everything that goes on during the trance.

Some people are nervous or apprehensive at the thought of going into hypnosis. Normally my pre-induction talk does much to alay these fears, especially when I explain that hypnosis is not a state of sleep nor unconsciousness but simply deep relaxation.

During the session some people find that they drift off and start thinking about other things that have nothing to do with the problem being treated. They may feel that they have spoiled the session through lack of concentration. In fact it doesn't matter because it was only the conscious mind that was thinking about something else but the therapist is attempting to communicate with the unconscious mind.

I always advise people that if they want to get the best out of their treatment they should just go along with and accept everything that the therapist says. Don't try to analyse what his words mean, just focus intently on them.

Lou Ravelle of www.hipno.info


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