If you do not have hypnotherapy training and want to understand what hypnosis is, it is important first to understand the role of the subconscious mind – since it’s the via the subconscious mind that we gain access to through the hypnotic state in order to make the desired changes.
The subconscious mind is what makes you who you are. It controls all involuntary bodily functions like breathing, salivating, circulation and digestion. It’s also what holds and creates all our desires, wishes, habits, emotions and imagination. It’s the file cabinets of all our memories, and through those memories, it has designed how we perceive the world around us. It’s what gives our conscious mind the voice it has in our head. It’s that “gut” feeling.
It is the largest and most dominant part of who you are, and it controls the conscious mind. The conscious mind (the one you are aware of and believe you function through) cannot implement decisions or behaviors unless the subconscious mind agrees (by checking back into previous files of experiences) and directs energy toward it. If the subconscious has poor experiences and has setup sub-par perceptions, it will provide us with poor decisions and behaviors.
Since it is the seat of our emotions (and emotions provide the strength for desires), it dominates over our conscious mind, and is what ultimately decides our course of action. Again, read this slowly: Your emotions govern the strength of your desires, and desires are what determine our behavior. Every single decision we make is the result of one desire outweighing another. Your desires come from your emotions. Your emotions come from your subconscious.
The function of the conscious mind is to compare and evaluate every new idea and experience with previously accepted ideas and experiences (by conferring with the subconscious memory bank). If there is no match, the idea is thrown away.
The subconscious mind believes what it is told within our morals and ethics. Because of that, it can be reprogrammed once we bypass the conscious mind by inducing hypnosis. We can then substitute new and constructive ideas in place of the less effective ones. The conscious mind looks to the knowledge of the subconscious, so these newly placed ideas are perceived as truth by the conscious.
It’s important to note that no amount of willpower of the conscious can override the subconscious. Willpower can only slightly dent the surface. Unless the subconscious mind is changed, habits will continue. This is where hypnosis comes in.
Hypnosis is a completely natural state of being that is part of the human condition. It is a state where our focus is relaxed while we maintain our consciousness. It is a state in which access to the subconscious is achieved with techniques that allow the conscious mind to temporarily step aside.
It can be described as an unstrained alertness, and it happens many times throughout our day. The times when we are on the cusp of sleep, either entering or leaving, tend to be moments when we may experience time dilation. A dream that lasted five minutes may seem to have gone on for five hours instead. It’s a daydream when your eyes fixated yet you were very much alert. Those are all states of hypnosis where you were functioning from your subconscious mind, and the conscious mind stepped aside.
It is a state of hyperacuity, receptiveness, responsiveness, and profound relaxation. Hypnosis is not a loss of consciousness or a state of forgetfulness as is sometimes portrayed in the media. It is the exact opposite since you are functioning at a much higher capacity and acuity when in your subconscious mind. By communicating with the subconscious mind during hypnosis, suggestions can be made that will, in turn, become truth to the conscious mind. They’ll then function from those new feelings and beliefs paving the way for more beneficial future decisions.