Let’s start with the mind. There are two parts to the mind – the Conscious and the Subconscious. The Conscious Mind is our everyday “waking” mind and awareness. It is the home of our short-term memory and will power. The Conscious Mind is logical. On the other hand, the Subconscious Mind lies under the surface and it is the home to our long-term memory, creativity and emotions. The Subconscious Mind is constantly working to protect us, but it is also illogical.
The Conscious Mind makes up approximately 5-10% of the mind and the Subconscious Mind makes up the other 90-95%.
So why is this important?
We all receive messages throughout our lives from many sources, including family, friends, media, teachers, coaches, etc. We also receive cultural messages from the people and institutions around us.
Some of the messages we receive are beneficial, some are neutral, and some don’t serve us well at all. Often, we are able to use our Conscious Minds to sort through the messages and dismiss the neutral or negative ones, but at other times, those messages get deposited into the Subconscious Mind. This tends to happen when we are stressed, tired, emotional, or receiving messages from people we consider to be authority figures. It also happens when we are young, since the Conscious Mind is not fully developed until 8 or 9 years old.
The main function of the Subconscious Mind is to protect us. It acts on the information it has stored within, but this can be problematic because the Subconscious Mind is also illogical. So, the Subconscious Mind keeps working away using those old messages as truths. For instance, sometimes the Subconscious Mind doesn’t recognize that a frightening situation from the past is no longer happening in the present. It can make us afraid of all similar situations, in order to protect us, but that can create barriers and challenges that interrupt our everyday lives.
I get it, but how does it work when it comes to physical pain or discomfort? Are you saying it is all in my mind?
No, not at all. Pain and discomfort are very real, and not “in your mind,” but the mind plays a significant role in how we experience physical sensations.
The brain takes sensory signals and processes them in complex ways. There is a quality to how we experience physical pain (or other uncomfortable sensations), but we can also have beliefs, expectations and associations around pain and discomfort that influence our experiences with them.
For example, someone who experiences chronic pain and grew up with a parent with chronic pain may believe (or expect) that pain “just is” and must be tolerated (nothing can be done to alleviate it). That belief may feed into the pain and prolong it, or contribute to a heightened awareness of the pain, making it show up as a constant in life. Another example is when pain or discomfort seem to show up at certain times. There is a phenomenon where some people tend to get nauseous or sick on Sunday nights – the night before starting the work week. The nausea or illness is very real, and is not being faked, but may possibly be showing up as resistance to the work (and that resistance can be in response to something more specific such as a particular co-worker, the workload, not being validated, etc.).
We may not even be aware of the messages we have received (or are receiving) about pain and discomfort, but just doing our best to cope and manage. With hypnotherapy, we can change the way the mind interprets the physical pain or discomfort, but also uncover and address the source(s) of any messages that may be supporting or feeding into the pain or discomfort.
How can Hypnotherapy help?
In Hypnotherapy, we are able to help you reach your goals by accessing the Subconscious Mind and updating its messaging. This helps clear the barriers and get the Conscious Mind and Subconscious Mind aligned and working together in a positive way.
How is the Subconscious Mind accessed?
The Subconscious Mind is accessed by being in a Hypnotic State.
A Hypnotic State is similar to a Natural Trance State, and we all experience Natural Trance States every day. Have you ever noticed that dreamy mind space between being awake and being asleep? Have you been driving and then suddenly you arrive at your destination without remembering the journey? Have you ever been so immersed in an activity - such as reading a book, watching a movie or playing a sport – that the outside world does not exist? Those are all Natural Trance States. It may feel like “zoning out” but it is actually a state of focused awareness.
In Hypnotherapy, we access the Hypnotic State/Natural Trance State, and for most people it feels like a pleasant relaxation. In this state, we have access to the Subconscious Mind, and by doing therapeutic work in that state and with that part of the mind, meaningful changes can be made. And it makes sense because the Subconscious Mind is 90-95% of mind, and that’s a significant portion of your mind power! So, when the messages in the Subconscious Mind are aligned with the goals of the Conscious Mind, real change can happen.
What do you mean by “doing therapeutic work” in Hypnosis?
Hypnotherapy is a form of therapy so there is some personal exploration involved. I use the information from our discussions to create personalized sessions to address the challenge(s) you are facing.
In a Hypnosis session, you are sitting in a recliner with your eyes closed, in a relaxed Hypnotic State. I am sitting next to you, speaking to you and guiding you through visualizations (or imaginings) as well as explaining the updated messaging that will help you reach your goal(s).
So what does it feel like to be in a Hypnotic State/in Hypnosis?
Each person has a unique experience while in Hypnosis, but it generally feels like a pleasant relaxation. Some people follow along with what is being said by the Hypnotherapist, while others feel like they have drifted away and fallen asleep (although they aren’t actually asleep!). Some people report feeling a lightness throughout their bodies, while others report feeling a relaxed, heaviness in their limbs (as if it would take a lot of effort to even lift a finger).
It’s important to know that throughout Hypnosis, you are in complete control. You can speak, do anything to feel more comfortable - you can move and adjust your body - and you can come out of Hypnosis at any time on your own. Your comfort is my number one priority.