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The Subconscious Mind

Question:

What do people really mean by the subconscious mind?

Answer:

In the 1880s hypnosis revealed that we were more than just our consciousness because something had to be guiding people’s behavior while they were hypnotized and not aware of the world around them.  It was called the unconscious mind or, as we now more commonly refer to it, the subconscious.  It had always been believed that the conscious mind made the decisions that directed our actions; but, in the past 35 years, research from cognitive neuroscience to social psychology, is demonstrating that the subconscious plays the dominant role.

Evolution-based studies show that we rely primarily on our subconscious mind to develop successful ways of surviving in an unpredictable world.  We learn in the form of habits, such as behaviors, values, and beliefs, from infancy on by copying how the people around us respond to specific stimuli in our environment.  Then we develop our own personal habits based on the unique events in our lives.  We usually don’t know that we are learning these responses.  As we grow older, we begin to learn other tasks consciously that are then completely taken over by the subconscious like reading or riding a bicycle.  While our knowledge grows, we develop an imagination to help us survive unanticipated situations.

When things in the outside world trigger specific reactions from our subconscious, the conscious mind thinks it has chosen to act or think certain thoughts, but they are actually initiated by the subconscious.  Though as a person matures, the conscious mind can control some actions stimulated by the subconscious, it has no power over the thoughts or emotions that have been triggered.  Deeply connected habits can be almost impossible to change despite logic, reason, or will power.  However, hypnosis is a method of directly contacting the subconscious and modifying the triggering process.

One way to take control of the subconscious mind is through hypnosis.  Hypnotic suggestions substitute the original habit for another, more desirable one, such as in smoking when being exposed to a cigarette no longer elicits a sense of attraction but makes the person feel disgusted.  The conscious mind is only aware of the change in its feelings, not the change in the subconscious mind that has created the new response.

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What if things come up in hypnosis that I don’t want to know about or I’m not ready to deal with?

Question:

I had a really bad childhood and I don’t remember it all. What if stuff comes up during hypnotherapy that I don’t want to know about or I’m not ready to deal with?

Answer:

One of the advantages of hypnotherapy is that you and your hypnotherapist are always in control of the situation.  A difficult or painful memory will not come up until you are absolutely ready to — and want to — work with it.

Hypnotherapy’s object is to change behavior.  To do that we are changing habits by “retraining the brain.”  It doesn’t matter what caused the habit to change it.  Events like panic attacks can be removed without ever bringing up what caused them.  In any case, we always ask the subconscious first if it is ready to handle any memories and scary memories will never surface until you are ready for them.  When you are, we’ll examine the memory while keeping you completely blocked from the emotions.  You’ll know what you felt, but without feeling scared, pained, fearful, or any sort of negative emotion.  Then the emotions themselves are removed.  The memories remain, but not the emotions that used to be connected to them.

Can Hypnotherapy Help With Smoking?

Hypnosis is all about changing habits, getting your subconscious to stop associating something with a behavior that you don’t like — like smoking.

Question:

I cannot stop smoking and would like to know if hypnotherapy can work for me.     Sam

Answer:

In nearly every case, yes.  The techniques I use have about a 90% success rate and usually take from 2-8 sessions, depending on the situation.  Obviously, someone who has been smoking since they were ten takes longer than a 28 year-old who started in college.  Ultimately, however, the only deciding factor is if you are really ready to quit now.

First ask yourself “WHY DO I WANT TO QUIT?”  If the answer is that my doctor told me to or my wife did, it’s going to take longer because we’re going to be spending a few sessions getting you to want to quit for your own sake.

No matter what, smoking cessation will require you to do some work.  I’ll have you cutting down regularly, smoking in unfamiliar and uncomfortable places all while we replace the habit with something positive.   If you smoke for social reasons, I’ll teach you to be comfortable without anything in your hands.  Breakfast is coffee and a cigarette?  You need a better start in the morning to begin with and this is a great time to take control of your health in every way.  If your cigarette is your best friend, well, there are a lot healthier ones out there and we’ll find one you like even more.

We’ll need a check-in session three months after we’re done and three months but the six month can easily be done by phone.