Hypnosis is a simple shifting back and forth between the conscious and the subconscious mind. Studies show that all humans experience this between 80-90% of the day.
Let us understand what the functions of the conscious mind are. When we are in the daily activities of thinking, debating, analyzing, doing mathematics, figuring things out or trying to remember, we are using the conscious mind. These, of course, are very important activities and we need our conscious mind in order to process our everyday activities. The surprising part of this, however, is that the daily activities and requirements of the conscious mind only comprise about 10% of the total capacity of the mind. The other 90% of our mind is taken up by the subconscious. The subconscious controls all the activities which the conscious mind is largely unaware of.
In fact, a very good analogy for these two parts of our mind would be a computer and its memory system. All the programming in the subconscious part of the mind is akin to the files we store in our computer. So for example, the conscious mind can remember certain experiences, but only up to a certain point. When we ask a group of people how far back in their life can they remember, there is a wide range of answers. Most cannot remember younger than being 5 or 6 years old. And many people say, jokingly, things like, “My memory is not as good as it used to be and I can hardly remember what happened last week.” So the conscious mind is like our e-mail. It contains the current information, but is very limited in access to the archive.
With hypnosis, the subconscious mind can actually search (similar to a search engine like Google) the memory files as far back as required in order for the individual to see patterns that have developed that they may be looking to change. Each unhealthy current behavior, such as smoking, losing one’s temper, excessive alcohol consumption, or compulsive overeating has a chain of events that laid the foundation for all of our current unhealthy choices. Through the “memory chip” that has been laid down in the subconscious mind, we can trace back the experiences and subconscious decisions we made as children that may be leading us to the behavior that is no longer healthy for us. An example might be a husband who flies off the handle whenever his wife or children question his authority. He would prefer to have a more gentle approach to his family discussions, but he can’t seem to stop his triggered response of anger.
With the help of a certified hypnotherapist, our client can join us on the internal search through the stored files of the subconscious mind. Perhaps he discovers that as a child one of his caregivers was very explosive, which terrified him. We often make life decisions from these young experiences that continue to be operating until they are discovered and changed. As a young child he may have made the decision that, “power is scary and I must puff up and get bigger in order to keep myself safe.”
This decision has been stored deeply in his subconscious mind and surfaces whenever his power or authority as a father, boss or husband is threatened. Now that he has, through hypnosis, access to the childhood computer program that was installed, only he can change it. With the help of a certified hypnotherapist our client can discover what the destructive subconscious programs are, where they are stored, and how to effectively change them. When the unhealthy programming is changed on this level, the computer can easily be reprogrammed with much more mature and effective responses. This is the beauty of hypnosis and its use in hypnotherapy!