Have you ever wondered how hypnotherapy works?

OK, first of all, we need to think about what makes up the human organism. Traditional medicine is interested only in the physical body and the brain and nervous system. If you visit your doctor, you will most likely be prescribed drugs to alleviate your problem. However, according to hypnotherapy the human organism is much more complicated than that. From the hypnotherapist’s perspective, the human being not only consists of the physical body and the brain and nervous system, but also includes the energy body (consistent with ancient traditions of yoga, reiki, acupuncture, tai chi etc), and most importantly, the conscious mind and the subconscious mind.

So what are the conscious mind and the subconscious mind?

Conscious Mind

The conscious mind operates everything that requires conscious effort, for example all our actions and thoughts, this includes how we question and reason about things and people.

The subconscious mind operates and maintains the physical body, for example when you are fast asleep, all consciousness is lost, but you continue to breathe and your heart continues to beat. While you are sleeping, the subconscious is also busy renewing and restoring cells and monitoring bodily functions; your subconscious mind will wake you up if you get too hot or too cold, if you need to go to the toilet or need a drink.

The subconscious mind also stores all our memories, although while recent or important memories are accessible to the conscious mind, all other memories are stored in the subconscious memory bank. As well as memories, all our learnt skills and habits are stored in the subconscious mind. If you think about when you first learnt to walk or talk, or ride a bike, conscious effort was required in the first place, but once the skill has been learnt, it becomes automatic; the process has been transferred to the subconscious mind and no conscious effort is now required. The same happens to our habits, our subconscious mind safely locks away all our learnt habits, good and bad. All these memories, skills and habits are stored behind a locked door and affect how we think and behave day to day.

The role of the subconscious mind is to protect, it doesn’t analyse, therefore things that you might have been told or seen as a child will have a big impact on you. For example your parents might have told you that children should be seen and not heard, or to be good and eat up everything on your plate. A teacher could have told you that you would never be good at anything. Conversely, you might have had a very positive relationship with a grandparent who secretly gave you money for sweets, and now you eat chocolate and sweets secretly. Hypnotherapy opens the locked door to the subconscious mind to discover the cause of the problem. Once the cause has been established, something can then be done to effect release and positive change.

Lorraine Gleeson, How to be a Hypnotherapist ISBN 9781481286039

Author   Written by Sandy Hector BSc(Hons) Psychology, Registered Hypnotherapist