Myth-Conceptions About HypnosisWritten by Linda-Ann Stewart, Ct.H.
Much of my initial work as a hypnotherapist is to dispel some of myths about hypnosis. Many people, even when they come in to see me, have a lot of misconceptions about process. They think I'm going to wave my hand in front of their face, and they'll go into never-never land. Then they think I'm going to take control of their mind, and erase all their problems in one session. Some people want me to do this, and some are afraid of having me in control. So first thing I do is explain what hypnosis is, what it isn't, what it can and can't do. Periodically, I even hold a free hour long mini-class, open to public, to educate about hypnosis.
Some years ago, I was at a party. A man came up and we started talking. What do you do? he asked. I'm a hypnotherapist, I replied. Oh. Well, you can't hypnotize me, he said, as he began scanning party for someone else to talk to. You're absolutely right. I can't hypnotize you. I don't hypnotize anyone. By following my instructions, they actually hypnotize themselves. That got his attention.
That's first thing I tell my clients. All hypnosis is self- hypnosis. If they don't follow my instructions, they won't be hypnotized. And if they try too hard, they won't be hypnotized. It's sort of like falling asleep at night. If you try to will yourself to fall asleep, you'll just wake up even more. Hypnosis is a letting go. Letting go of details of day. Letting go of concerns. Letting your analytical mind let go of its hold on you. Just being in here and now. Some people are afraid of letting go. They think it means that someone else will be in control. I reassure them that they are always in control of process, and that they only go as deeply as they feel safe doing. Generally, a client will drift into a light state first time. The second time I see them, they go deeper because they realize that I'm not going to do anything weird, like make them cluck like a chicken.
In hypnosis, I'm merely a guide. I can lead a client where they want to go, but only if they want to go there. If they're not dedicated to change they want, then I can't help them. I've had smokers come to me and say, I'd really like to want to quit. But I still love smoking cigarettes, even though I know I should quit. Take away craving. I send them on their way and tell them to come see me when they've decided to quit. Hypnosis is a tool that can help them through process of quitting, but it can't make them quit. It's not a magic wand. I can help a client move from point A to point B, but they're one that gets to walk path. Hypnosis can make it infinitely easier. It can make a mountain into a molehill, and make changes happen very quickly. But person has to really want change, and be willing to deal with all of other aspects of that change. For instance, a woman wanting to lose weight decides to reduce her consumption of sweets. After hypnosis, she loses her desire for them, but finds that it was an enjoyable part of meal with her husband. She gets mad at me because I took away enjoyment.
Many people erroneously think that hypnosis is some other dimension of consciousness. It's not. It's a very normal, natural awareness that we're moving in and out of all time. When you're driving down road on autopilot, and your mind drifts off, and all of a sudden you're aware that you've driven past your turnoff. Or when you're at movie theater, and get so involved with action on screen that you're barely aware of rest of people in audience. Or if you're an artist or writer, and when you get so focused on a project that time just speeds by, and outside distractions fade away. These are all examples of state of mind that we call hypnosis. It's just that I know how to help a person reach that level of consciousness deliberately, and know what to do once we get there.
Hypnosis is really just being able to focus on one idea. Back in mid 1800's, Dr. James Braid coined term hypnosis after Hypnos, Greek god of sleep. But after more experience with it, he realized that word hypnosis was inaccurate. Dr. Braid then tried to rename it to mono-ideaism, for one idea. But it was too late. Hypnosis had already caught on, and other really is a mouthful to say.
So many people think that hypnosis is magic. Strange things happen with hypnosis. If a subject is told that an ice cube is a hot coal, a blister appears. A person is told that they're stiff as a board, and their head is placed on one chair, and their feet on another. Then several people stand on person's stomach, and he doesn't collapse. These things look like magic. They aren't. All that happens in hypnosis is that we access abilities we naturally have, but that we don't seem to be able to connect with while in our normal analytical state. For instance, a stage hypnotist may ask a shy woman to perform by singing "Over Rainbow." Generally, she'd shrink into a corner. However, because her self-imposed inhibitions have been circumvented, she belts out song. The critical part of us that says, "I can't do that" moves onto a shelf in corner, and lets power within us come out to play. Hypnosis simply frees us from self-imposed limitations. Hypnosis is a process of allowing subconscious to be more in control than our conscious mind. Our subconscious is storehouse of all our thoughts, actions, beliefs, attitudes, memories, decisions. In other words everything. It's been programmed like a computer. We've been conditioned with our beliefs that "I can't." Our conscious mind is logical part of us. It sifts and analyzes information, draws a conclusion on that information, and then passes conclusion to subconscious mind. The subconscious then processes information, comparing it with all other information it has. Then subconscious takes strongest, most powerful idea, and acts on that. For instance, two smokers want to quit. The first one decides "That's enough. I don't want to do this anymore. I have a lot of reasons to quit. No matter how difficult it becomes, I'm done smoking." He's made a final decision to quit, and knows that nothing is going to talk him out of it. He throws out his cigarettes and that's that. He has very little trouble. We've all heard of people doing this. The second smoker wants to quit, but thinks "I want to quit, but I really like to smoke. And it's going to be so difficult. I don't know if I can do it." He puts his cigarettes in a drawer. As soon as craving hits, he's digging them out.
The Ducks - Did They Forget?Written by Monique Rider
In Michigan we were having an unusual warm spell. For about six weeks, since November, it had been in 40's, 50's, and even 60,s - with rain, not snow. That was quite unusual and we were all expecting to get blasted with a blizzard any day. But until then, people were still mowing their grass, doing yard work, and taking walks without coats on – it was great. Especially for me, because I really detest Michigan winters. I love nature and outdoors, but in winter I become a recluse. I also become very afraid to drive on ice, slush, and snow packed roads. So, I was totally thankful for our weather situation. Especially knowing that we would be in Utah in two weeks and they already had over a foot of snow in mountains. We live across street from beautiful Lake Bella Vista. From our second floor master bedroom we have a gorgeous view and can see all way to other side of lake. It was one of those 50 degree days and water was so blue you'd think it was still summer. The sun was out and shinning down on water, making it sparkle. A slight breeze was causing small ripples in lake and it really felt peaceful. However, entire sight was really weird for December! It kind of seemed like a movie where someone spliced in wrong scene. My mind was telling me it was December but my eyes were seeing something from, maybe, July! I stood there (in a bit of confusion) watching scene, trying to get either my mind to agree with my eyes; or my eyes to agree with my mind. Then I noticed a whole flock of ducks swimming so pleasantly, as ducks do. Not looking at all in a hurry, just relaxing and swimming rather close to shore. Meandering in circles, floating around like there's nothing better to do. Just soaking in sun, breeze, warmth..........