How Does Hypnotherapy Work?

By David Heard-Smith D.H.P.

Everybody has their own idea of what hypnosis is and they are most firmly fixed in their belief. Generally this belief is based purely on total ignorance of that about which we speak, but try as you may, you will not shake this absolute knowing of what hypnosis is. For 18 years now I have been a practicing hypnotherapist and, amazingly, still, I discover that so many people, who have never experienced it, know far more about it than I do. This is one of the wonders of the human condition. Ignorance is the foundation of so many peoples existence and they will not change it to save their lives.
Now in my opinion and that of other hypnotists, of which there are thousands, hypnosis is a state of deep relaxation in which the conscious mind is so relaxed it just cannot be bothered to take part in what is going on. It is nothing more nor less than that. The mind and body is so deeply relaxed, that, although it knows what is going on all around it, it just is not interested enough to take any real notice unless, and this is important, whatever is going on is against the personal moral or ethical standards or judgement. This one can be a thorny problem when it comes to one’s attention.
Hypnotherapy is therapy carried out whilst the person is under the pleasant influence of hypnosis. Now, at this point I must say that all thoughts of stage hypnosis, for the purpose of entertainment must be forgotten! Therapy and entertainment are very different words and have very different meanings. If I or any other therapist is conducting therapy the last thing they want is the client running around the room, clucking like a chicken and pretending to lay eggs, or something equally ridiculous.
Entertainment, is one thing, therapy is something very different!
Right, I have stated what hypnosis is, and believe me or not, I know.
Hypnosis is the finest state of mind a person can possibly be in for therapy. Why? Because the conscious mind, takes no part in the procedure and therefore does not exercise any disruptive input.
The subconscious mind is that part of the brain that is buried at the lower rear area of the skull and is involved with all the automatic functions of the individual. This includes functions such heart beat, respiration, digestion, hormone production, hair growth, reactions to various circumstances, mood swings and a multitude of functions besides. Its overall purpose in life is to look after you and protect you. Everything that you do not consciously make happen is caused to occur by your subconscious and this includes driving. The difference between a private driver and a highly trained professional driver is that the professional is thinking all the time as to what he or she should be doing. Taking notice of what is going on around them. We have, I am certain, all seen a police driving film in which the driver is reporting to his co driver everything that is going on. That is conscious driving! However as soon as that person gets into his or her car to go home all that is put behind them and they then drive like the rest of us, subconsciously. This is a very safe way to drive under normal circumstances. Remember, its purpose is to protect you. However, one basic requirement is that you have learned how to drive properly in the first place!
OK so you now know some of what your subconscious does. Emotions, fears, habits, beliefs and behaviour, all these and many more have to be laid at the door of your subconscious. Yes! You know your belief or opinion is the right one. Of course you do. Heavens above! what a boneshaker that would be if you were wrong. If that belief were wrong could, perhaps, others be wrong? Indeed do you actually have any beliefs that are correct? This could be worrying stuff. Take heart! None of us are all wrong but sometimes the way we see things are based on something that we may well have misjudged, and therefore our evaluations are erroneous.
Believe it or not, almost all personal behavioural and habitual functions are formed in the years up to around 8 years of age, most of them, well before that. Those people who are bad tempered, learned to be so for what they thought was their benefit, before they were 5-8 years old. For the rest of their lives they never learn how damaging a bad temper is to their cause. Phobias normally have their origins in those very early years as does our reaction to stress, along with our understanding as to how we should behave as an adult toward the opposite sex and how relationships should be conducted with our peers. Our basic opinions toward the matters of race and religion are generally set well on their path in those early years. Brainwashing is alive and thriving. We do become a recording of those views and opinions of our elders and peers even though for a short time around the late teens, early twenties we are apt to rebel and class is a big one for us to cope with. Unfair treatment by our parents, abuse by elders and siblings, all these things affect us for the rest of our lives, unless we go back and re evaluate them.
Panic not dear reader! All is not lost. Things can be redeemed.
With the aid of hypnotherapy we have the opportunity, if we want to take it, to go back into the recesses of our subconscious and find, understand and re assess those experiences that have shaped our behaviour and reactions to life. We can confront and debate the behaviour of others towards us, and then understand or forgive them for their genuine mistakes and evaluate our re actions to those events. To persuade our subconscious to behave differently in the future and to subtly change the way we react so as to limit the ill effects to our person and those around us. To re learn some of the basic facts of life, and the way in which we can deal with events and occurrences to our advantage.
Just as a cake is a result of the ingredients that are put into the mixing bowl so we as people are a result of the experiences of our life. Each new experience changes us to a smaller or larger extent and never more than when we are young and inexperienced. The limited knowledge, that as a child, we can bring to bear on each experience, ensures that our judgement is flawed.
Regression under hypnosis (ANALYSIS) for the purpose of re evaluation is the most powerful and simplest tool at our disposal to affect a change for our future wellbeing. Believe me it is also very interesting to find out why we have persisted in getting it wrong for so long.
All you need is an open mind and a strong desire to really improve your life, combined with a willingness to accept that you just may not be as right every time as you think you are. That one is the real shaker!
Fear, and particularly fear of change, is a very powerful inhibiter but it can be overcome when there is a deep desire or want for positive improvement.
Medical intervention with the aid of drugs is frequently of great assistance to the sufferer but often the side effects can make the cure a double edged sword. With many conditions it is the only source of relief and I would never suggest that one should not visit a doctor for advice, diagnosis and treatment, nor would I suggest that hypnotherapy is a cure all and efficacious in every case. However I will suggest that a considerable range of psychological, emotional, physical and behavioural problems can benefit from hypnotherapy.

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