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What is Hypnosis?

Hypnosis is a very gentle and relaxing slowing of brain waves. It is as natural as sleep and we all experience this “trance” state regularly. The long drive when upon arriving at your destination you realize you don’t remember passing a very conspicuous land mark, not hearing the doorbell as you are engrossed in a novel or not noticing the phone ringing when enjoying a captivating movie. That hazy time when you’re not really awake but aren’t sleeping, these are all examples of a natural state of trance. As a Psychiatrist and a General Practitioner, MD, Dr. Milton Erickson brought Hypnosis back from “stage show” entertainment to practical uses in the medical field. His study of clinical hypnosis and work with patients lead him to develop an in-direct, relaxation techniques which is now known as Ericksonian Hypnosis. Dr. Erickson described hypnosis as multi-level communication and through his work found that by progressively relaxing his patients, their brain waves slowed and he could effectively communicate with all levels of their consciousness. 

Why do we want to communicate on any other level?

Our sub-conscious mind is in the drivers seat, so to speak, this store house of memories, experiences, emotions of all people, places and things processes thousands of thoughts each day. Thank goodness there is a filter! The filter lets the emotions and thoughts that we need to be aware of come through to our consciousness. So before you put that cup to your lips, your subconscious has decided that you are thirsty, that you would like coffee, told your arm to reach out, your fingers to grasp the cup and bring it to your lips, your skin feels the heat and your subconscious will gauge the temperature, by going through all past experiences, to let you know if you need to slow down or go for it. (Simply put of course but you get the picture!) So what happens if our subconscious was misled somewhere along the way?? If somehow someone convinced it that we don’t deserve to be happy, so it directs us to see only the negative aspects of life. Perhaps it had been convinced that a bad habit or activity was the way to win acceptance from our peers. Maybe it has even been convinced that we aren’t smart enough, pretty enough, thin enough, strong enough to reach a goal, be successful or be happy. All of these thoughts, that we aren’t even aware of, get tumbled around and one way or another make it to the surface. Have you ever tried to change a habit and your logical conscious mind figures out just what to do, you are moving in a positive direction and all of a sudden that little voice pops up and sabotages your best intention – you guessed it – it’s your good old sub conscious meddling!!

Back to why Dr. Erickson’s definition of hypnosis is important – when we communicate more directly with our subconscious we can engage its brilliant powerful processes to work with us. We can help it to rethink old beliefs, that may not be true or beneficial to the lives we desire. 

“Your conscious mind are very intelligent, but your subconscious is a lot smarter” - Dr. Milton Erickson