I’ve been reading your site and was wondering exactly how hypnosis works.
There are two parts to our minds, the conscious and the subconscious. The conscious mind is our awareness, the thoughts and feelings we experience everyday. It experiences the world based on what comes through our five senses during the time we are awake, but it doesn’t take everything in. While we can control most of our actions and feelings through our conscious decision-making, we can’t always — such as when our will power is too weak to stop us from eating things we shouldn’t or emotions boil up that we have no control over.
Below that is our subconscious mind which we are not directly aware of except when thoughts “jump” into our mind. This is where our imagination lies and is the seat of our creativity. It registers all the information we receive more quickly and completely than the conscious mind, but without a sense of time, logic, or reasoning. In it are established all our central beliefs, conditioning, and every kind of habit from behavioral to emotional. Its processes are closely tied to the brain itself, which is why we sometimes call hypnosis “retraining the brain.” Unlike our conscious mind, the subconscious “thinks” in images.
When the client is in hypnosis, they are in a semi-awake state – a form of trance — where there is direct access to the subconscious, better known as suggestibility. The hypnotherapist phrases his or her suggestions using the images and words he or she has discovered that are most meaningful to the client. These go directly to the subconscious mind which, as long as it doesn’t violate the client’s core moral belief system and reinforces what the conscious mind wants to believe, is seen as true and accepted. This then changes how the brain actually thinks so that it changes associations such as when cigarettes no longer seem pleasurable or comfortable, but make you feel sick. Or instead of triggering a panic attack, a once fearful object creates feelings of calm and comfort.