What is hypnotherapy and what does a hypnotherapist do?Hypnotherapy is the use of hypnotic techniques intended to move a client toward health and wholeness. The move toward health and wholeness can range from simple behavioral change, such as helping a client remove a bad habit such as smoking or overeating, to more powerful and sophisticated changes such as overcoming psychogenetic or functional medical problems. A hypnotherapist acts as a coach or guide; offering instructions in order to enter a heightened state of suggestibility called hypnosis. A hypnotherapist does not diagnose medical or psychological conditions, nor does he or she provide psychotherapy or counseling for clients. A hypnotherapist simply acts as a guide so that her client can accept hypnotic suggestions that help him or her to make healthy changes in their life. A client will always be able to reject any suggestions they don’t like and can emerge from hypnosis at any time on their own without being guided out of hypnosis by the hypnotherapist.
The mind can be divided into three different parts: the conscious mind, the subconscious mind, and the unconscious mind. There is also another function of the human mind that is called the Critical Factor, also known as the Critical Function.
The unconscious mind is our bodies consciousness. Even though it’s called unconscious, it’s a very active level of consciousness. The reason it’s called unconscious, is because we are not consciously aware of what it is doing. All of its work is done automatically, behind-the-scenes, so to speak, as it operates our autonomic nervous system, reflexes and so on. Some of the bodily functions that it continually manages are as follows: Protective functions such as the reflexes and immune system Breathing, heart rate, perspiration and your circulatory system Physical emotional responses such as tearing up when you cry Smooth muscle responses
The subconscious mind it makes up what we call, ‘the personality’. This is where all the permanent memories that have been compiled from our lives, is stored. The memories we do not consciously remember are remembered by the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind works by association and likes to turn regularly performed behaviors into habits and turns observations and perceptions we have made about the world, into our personal belief systems. Once these habits and beliefs have been created, they work automatically and are resistant to change. Any experience that you have had is held within your subconscious mind and can be uncovered by using hypnosis. The more important or emotionally packed a particular incident in your past is, the more easily it could be found the more easily it could be uncovered through hypnosis in a way that is safe and without re-experiencing the impact of emotions that occurred during the initial experience. Below are the functions of the subconscious mind, which make up who you are:
The protective function of the subconscious mind works to resist incoming information that does not coincide with what we have previously accepted and formed into our belief system. It also resists changing behavior patterns that have been formed into habits. This explains why it is difficult for ‘will power’ alone to work when making new and permanent changes to our already established behaviors and patterns.
- Tends to conserve energy
- Highly organized
- Unlimited in regards to the amount of information it absorbs
- Feeds imagination
CONSCIOUS MINDYour conscious mind is your point of focus. It tends to focus on what’s happening now, but can be re-focused on the past and our imagined future, or into a complete fantasy situation. It is made up of what you are thinking about at any particular time. Whereas the subconscious mind appears to be limitless, the conscious mind can only hold a few things at a time. It can only hold 7 to 9 bits of information at one time. Below are some of the function functions of the conscious mind:
- Short-term memory
- Limited 7 to 9 bits of information
CRITICAL FACTOR OR CRITICAL FUNCTION OF THE MIND:
The important function of the critical factor is that it operates like a filtering mechanism which compares new information coming into the conscious level of the mind with the old beliefs and perceptions held within the subconscious mind. It either allows the information to be stored as data, or to reinforce the beliefs and habits that already exist. Through the process of hypnosis, we’re able to bypass the critical factor. After this bypass is created, the subconscious mind achieves a state of heightened suggestibility. Therefore, we can say, that hypnosis is a heightened state of suggestibility. It is not sleep or unconscious or even in a state of relaxation.
Hypnosis is a very safe and effective method of making positive changes permanent. Whether it is for changing life habits and patterns, pain management or working through life issues, hypnotherapy is a valuable tool.
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