How does hypnosis work?

Nobody really knows for sure. There are many theories and models but perhaps one of the most widely quoted, and useful because of it’s simplicity, is the Mind Model.

So imagine the mind being simplistically split into 2 parts, the conscious and unconscious. The conscious mind is what you would normally regard as you, it’s where you do your rational thinking. The unconscious mind is responsible for all of your unconscious processes including your biological functions. It’s also where you store all of your long term memories, beliefs and attitudes which are often the driving force behind your thoughts and emotions. Sure these can be brought up into the conscious sometimes just as a computer can pull data up from disk memory to be reviewed in the RAM.

However normally it’s locked safely in the unconscious where it continues to exert a dominant control over our emotions and behaviour below the radar ofour conscious unawareness. Now if you accept that beliefs lead to thoughts which lead to feelings and ultimately behaviour, then you can transform your life simply by changing your beliefs. This is the basis for CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy).

However, if you’ve ever tried to change your beliefs as an adult you’ll know it’s not so straight forward. Simply telling yourself something you want to think or believe may have some limited affect, however more often than not we find ourselves automatically challenging the new thought. According to the Mind Model part of the conscious mind, the Critical Faculty will process the new information, referencing it against existing beliefs stored within the long term memory.

Where the new information is inconsistent with established beliefs, it will most likely be rejected and will fail to access long term storage within the unconscious mind. Now of course there are ways to bypass the Critical Faculty, for example long term repetitive experience or even a single but powerful (traumatic) experience can push through and update the model of the world stored within our subconscious.

Hypnosis offers a fast and painless alternative. In the trance state it’s as if the Critical Faculty has gone to sleep. Its negative assumptions and resistant arguments are all suspended, so leaving your subconscious open to positive suggestions which can be absorbed and stored at a deep and durable level. This offers the potential to re-write faulty learnings and unhelpful beliefs replacing them with a new mindset that really  makes your life work.