About Hypnosis

Since the American Medical Association approved Clinical Hypnosis in 1958, hundreds of thousands of people have improved their lives through this valuable therapeutic tool … quickly, privately, painlessly and permanently. Over the years it has come to be widely recognized as one of the most effective and rapid means of behavioral and habit control known to man, particularly in the areas of Weight Loss and Smoking Cessation.

A simple definition of hypnosis is that it is a pleasant state of mental and physical relaxation characterized by increased alertness, enhanced awareness, heightened suggestibility and pin-point concentration. It enables us to capture, harness and utilize the unlimited potential of the subconscious mind. Indeed, it is the ultimate means of heightening motivation by programming the subconscious mind to work in active cooperation with conscious desires.

WHAT IS HYPNOSIS?

As popular and publicized as hypnosis is, there are still some people who don’t understand it and thus are wary of it. They think of it as entertainment, magic or some mystical form of mind control. In reality, it is none of these things. Actually, you are already familiar with hypnosis although you may not realize it. Perhaps you’ve heard of meditation, visualization, Relaxation Therapy, Guided Imagery, NLP (or NeuroLinguistic Programming). These are all what are known as “Altered States of Consciousness” or ASC. It’s all hypnosis under a different name … and it’s all a matter of brain wave activity.

Brain waves are oscillating electrical voltages in the brain measuring just a few millionths of a volt. We all go through these ‘altered states of consciousness’, or brain wave levels, at least twice each day – upon awakening in the morning and crossing over into sleep at night. We can most easily explain it in this way. Researchers have divided brain functions into four separate levels of cycles per second activity:

Beta

This is the critical thought level where alert behavior and concentrated mental activity occur. Most of our waking hours are spent in Beta. Beta is associated with a good sense of alertness, logic and critical reasoning and is important for effective functioning throughout the day. States of heightened emotion, such as fright or pain, may jump the Beta level up into the high 30’s. This is also a “back door” to hypnosis, since it is generally recognized that a person is more suggestible when in a highly emotional state.

Alpha

This is the relaxation level. This state is characterized by a relaxed alertness. Although Alpha is best achieved with the eyes closed, it also exists with the eyes open. Alpha allows us to access the subconscious mind along with greater imagination, memory, learning and concentration. Whenever the imaginative processes of the mind are engaged we automatically “dip down” into Alpha. Alpha corresponds to a light state of hypnosis.

Theta

The theta level is characterized by a drowsy, dream-like state. This is also the creative level. Scientists and inventors often function at the Theta level where they receive sudden inspirations and insight. Theta brain waves are present during deep meditation and light sleep, including the REM dream state. It is the realm of your sub-conscious mind and only experienced momentarily as you drift off to sleep from Alpha and/or wake from deep sleep (Delta).

Your mind’s most deep-seated programs are at Theta and it is where you experience vivid visualizations, great inspiration, profound creativity and exceptional insight. From a meta-physical perspective, it is believed that a sense of deep spiritual connection and unity with the universe can be experienced at Theta. Depending upon the depth of Theta, this level corresponds to medium to deep stages of hypnosis.

Delta

The Delta frequency is the slowest of the frequencies and is experienced in deep, dreamless sleep and in very deep, transcendental meditation where awareness is fully detached. From a meta-physical perspective, some believe this state is the gateway to the universal mind and the collective unconscious, where information received is otherwise unavailable at the conscious level. In general, Delta corresponds to the deeper stages of sleep and, depending upon its level, it can also represent the deep somnambulistic or plenary stages of hypnosis.

That’s it! There’s no place else to go! Hypnosis can’t put you into any place other than those brain wave levels. For most people hypnosis is mid-alpha range activity and although you are definitely in hypnosis you remain fully conscious of everything that is going on. Hypnosis is simply a matter of setting aside the conscious mind, to one degree or another, and selectively focusing one’s attention on either a particular point or a whole range of experiences. Because of the hyper-suggestibility inherent in the alpha and theta levels, positive programming is extremely effective in helping to create positive change. Hypnosis is a perfectly safe programming technique that can benefit anyone!

SOME COMMON MYTHS ABOUT HYPNOSIS

1. A hypnotized person goes to sleep, loses touch with reality and becomes unconscious.

Untrue. Although some hypnotherapists traditionally use the term “sleep” or “deep asleep” when inducing and deepening the hypnotic state in their subjects, they do this in order to take advantage of the emotional connotations engendered by that term. But hypnosis is not sleep. The subject is aware of everything going on around them. Most people don’t recognize the state of hypnosis, expecting to become unconscious. Unless they are the one in ten who easily achieves the deep – or somnambulistic – level of hypnosis, this is not at all what the experience is like. This does not mean that they weren’t hypnotized. It simply means that they are experiencing a hypnotic level somewhere between a light and a medium state which, for purposes of behavior and habit modification, is generally more effective than deeper level hypnosis.

Although everyone experiences the hypnotic state differently, when asked to describe the physical feeling of hypnosis, many people who have experienced it liken it to the “twilight state.” This is the sensation experienced upon going to bed and/or awakening when one is neither fully awake nor fully asleep. It’s a peculiar frame of mind characterized by awareness of external physical stimuli, such as smells and sounds. Yet it also carries with it a certain listlessness, lethargy and disinclination to move or be disturbed until one is fully ready to awaken.

2. Hypnosis means being controlled by someone else.

Most people base this erroneous assumption about hypnosis on stage acts. The truth is, those members of the audience volunteer to get up on the stage; so, they are volunteering to have fun. They willingly allow themselves to participate in silly suggestions. You cannot be made to quack like a duck or cluck like a chicken … unless you want to!

3. Only weak-minded, gullible, un-intelligent people can be hypnotized.

In truth, the more strong-willed, intelligent and imaginative an individual is the better subject he or she tends to be. Research indicates that while virtually everyone is capable of being hypnotized, those subjects with above average intelligence are the more readily hypnotizable. This is probably due to a greater capacity to concentrate and an ability to use their imagination.

4. You can get “stuck” in hypnosis.

This is one of the more absurd myths about hypnosis. If, for some reason, the subject chooses not to come out of hypnosis when instructed to do so, they will, in every case, do one of two things: 1) come out on their own in a very short time, or 2) fall into a normal sleep until they awaken naturally.

5. Not everyone can be hypnotized.

Contrary to popular belief, everyone can be hypnotized. A hypnotized person is not asleep. They’re just exceptionally relaxed, intensely focused, aware and always in control.

Since, as we have seen, hypnosis is a naturally occurring phenomenon, which we all experience, there is no such thing as not being able to be hypnotized. Once an individual overcomes their initial apprehension through understanding the truth about hypnosis, it is an easy experience … one in which the subject will awaken feeling more relaxed, at ease and more positively motivated than before going into hypnosis.

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