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All About Hypnosis

Learn what hypnosis really is, how it works, and how it can help you achieve your goals

What is Hypnosis?

Hypnosis is often shrouded in mystery and misconceptions, particularly in the media. You may have witnessed a movie scene where "hypnosis" is used to manipulate someone's thoughts or attended a stage show where a "hypnotist" encouraged participants to perform peculiar acts. While entertaining, these portrayals misrepresent the true nature of hypnosis.

Did you know that hypnosis is a natural, everyday occurrence? Its name is derived from the Greek word hypnos (meaning sleep), but hypnosis is not technically sleep. It actually refers to a pre-sleep state in which the brain generates alpha and theta waves, the mind and body are at ease, and imagination flourishes. 


Hypnosis occurs naturally during moments of daydreaming, deep relaxation, or meditation; and we enter hypnosis just before we fall asleep each night. You may have experienced hypnosis in other situations, too.


Have you ever been engrossed in a movie and found yourself physically reacting to the characters' emotions? Did you flinch during frightening scenes or beam with joy at a heartwarming ending? If so, you were in hypnosis! These reactions occur when our minds seamlessly shift into a hypnotic state, allowing us to immerse ourselves in the story as if it were our own reality.

Hypnosis also has tremendous power as a learning tool. In a hypnosis session, clients learn to effortlessly relax their minds and access the hypnotic state. This simple skill unlocks our ability to quickly learn new ideas, discover new perspectives, and make positive life changes.


Hypnosis is a Way of Learning

You might already know that our minds process information on both conscious and subconscious levels. The conscious mind is where our rational, critical thinking happens; but only a small amount of our mental activity is conscious. Most of what goes on in the mind is subconscious, and we are totally unaware of it.

The subconscious is like the brain's computer programming: it runs automatically in the background. It controls most of our reactions and behaviors. Every person's "programming" is different because the subconscious learns its reactions from our life experiences in a process called association.

We can understand how association works with a simple example:

Imagine that two people are walking down the street and both spot a dog coming toward them. The first person is delighted to see the dog; she wants to pet it, and her mood (perhaps even her entire day) is improved just by seeing the dog.


The second person, on the other hand, sees the same dog and begins to experience rapid breathing, his body tenses up, and he might even run away.

How does the same dog cause two people to react so differently?

This happens because each person's subconscious mind contains different associations about dogs. That is, they have each learned to respond to the presence of a dog in different ways. The first person may have had only positive experiences with dogs in the past, so her associations are all positive. The second person may have been bitten or chased by a dog as a child, and then his subconscious learned a negative association to dogs.

We act on our subconscious associations automatically and without thinking. When we see a dog, we do not stop to choose how we will feel about dogs today. Our subconscious simply feels what it has learned to feel about dogs in the past, and that shapes how we react in the present. The same is true in nearly every situation.

Can't we change our behaviors by changing our thinking?

Well, yes and no. It's very difficult to consciously change the associations we have learned. Let's imagine, for example, that the person who was fearful of dogs told himself, "I will stop feeling afraid of dogs right now." Of course, that rarely works.


That's because the subconscious does not easily forget what it has learned. The job of the subconscious mind is to protect us from the unknown. It does this by sticking to what it knows (dogs are scary, run!), even if we try to use our conscious thinking to tell ourselves otherwise.

The subconscious mind resists anything that is unknown, even if the new information is very good and makes sense to our rational minds. This is why we can sometimes want to make a change but fall back into our old behaviors. The subconscious continues to motivate us toward those trusty known patterns.

The purpose of hypnosis is to replace those old, unwanted patterns that are holding you back. We do this by speaking directly to the subconscious mind to help it learn new associations that are beneficial to your goals. 


How Hypnosis Works

During a hypnosis session, clients are taken through a learning process to uncover the underlying associations standing in the way of their desired goals.

Then, by relaxing the mind and body into hypnosis, we reach a state of increased suggestibility where we can speak directly to the subconscious. We use this state to build new, positive associations that will benefit the client and help them succeed. This kind of learning is very effective, and it can happen very quickly!

Positive changes can occur during the very first hypnosis session. A particular discomfort may suddenly disappear forever. Other times, changes will show up days or weeks after, when suddenly you notice that your feelings and reactions to situations have improved without thinking about it.

Either way, hypnosis brings lasting changes, even in cases of the most stubborn issues. Hypnosis is therefore a powerful way to motivate and support self-improvement.

And most importantly, hypnosis is an enjoyable experience! You will find your sessions comfortable, relaxing, and fun. It is very common to hear "I feel great!" and see a big smile on a client's face after hypnosis.

If you are curious to learn more about hypnosis, our practice at HypnoMotiv, and what happens in a typical hypnosis session, check out the list of Frequently Asked Questions below.

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