About Hypnosis

This article is about hypnosis in general. For a more specific article about spiritual hypnosis, see About Spiritual Hypnosis

Hypnosis is a powerful tool for giving control of your life back to you.

Many people have the misconception that hypnosis allows another person to control you. Nothing could be further from the truth. No hypnotist can ever make you do anything you don’t want to do. Of course, in the movies and on television, fictional hypnotists are shown making people do all sorts of evil things, but that is all just fiction. In reality, if a hypnotist were ever to suggest that you do something immoral, illegal or something you just don’t want to do, you would pop right out of hypnosis and leave.

So what is hypnosis? Hypnosis is a beautiful, relaxing state of mind. It is perfectly safe, and you can always come out of hypnosis if you want to or need to. We have all been in hypnosis, many times. Daydreaming is a form of hypnosis. And that twilight state you enter right before you fall asleep at night is a form of hypnosis. To understand how hypnosis works, you have to understand how the mind works. For our purposes, the mind has two parts: the conscious mind and the unconscious mind.

The conscious mind is the voice inside your head that speaks your thoughts. It is your rational, logical, adult side. The conscious mind is also the seat of “will power.”

The unconscious mind is where all your feelings, desires, fears and memories live. When you win a debate or file your taxes, it’s your conscious mind at work; when you fall in love or feel happy, it’s your unconscious mind.

Your unconscious mind is a lot like a computer–it is programmed by your life experiences, especially your childhood experiences, to act in a certain way. All the programming it gets determines what kind of person you become. This programming often takes the form of habits–everything you do without thinking about it. And, the unconscious mind’s absolute, number one purpose is to protect you and provide you with security. Habits are simply the way the unconscious mind has been programmed to protect you.

So on the one hand, you have the conscious mind, which gives you will power and reason. On the other hand, you have the unconscious mind, which gives you habits and emotions and works to protect you. It’s an effective system when they work together.

Unfortunately, sometimes the programming of the unconscious mind is unhealthy and dangerous. The unconscious will sabotage efforts to quit smoking, drinking or overeating if it thinks it has to do that to protect you. The unconscious mind always has a reason for creating and keeping these bad habits, even if the reason doesn’t make sense to us. Why would it think that these terrible habits are protecting you?

In the case of overeating, it’s because when babies cry, they are given a bottle or their mother’s breast to feed. Immediately a connection is made in the unconscious mind between feeding and the safety of a parent’s attention. Every time in your life that you have ever felt anxious or depressed or stressed out and ate to feel better, you reinforced that habit. So for many people, this habit has been reinforced over the course of their entire lifetime.

In the case of smoking, it’s because when people start smoking–usually between the ages of 12 and 18–they realize that to survive, they must connect with other people outside their own family. So they’re waiting for the school bus, and they see all the kids who smoke turn towards each other, and away from everyone else. So the unconscious mind realizes that if you become a smoker, then you’ll be part of the group, and that will protect you.

And in the case of drinking, the unconscious mind believes that drinking protects you because it keeps you from feeling all the negative and painful feelings you might otherwise feel. And, for most hard-core alcoholics, alcohol makes them temporarily feel as good as anyone else, and whatever feelings of low self-esteem they have just get washed away. Until they sober up.

Now these are just generalizations, and the details may be different for different people. But for any problem we might have, it can be traced back to some poor programming of the unconscious mind.

The reason habits are hard to break is because the unconscious does not like change and wants to protect you from the unknown. Will power can help for a while, but will power is designed to achieve short-term results. That’s why will power usually breaks as soon as you let your guard down, and the habits of your unconscious mind come back as strong as ever. That’s why it’s so hard to lose weight or quit smoking.

So what do we do about this? Here’s the thing: The unconscious does what it is programmed to do. It has no choice in the matter. That’s how the brain works. And you can program your unconscious mind–it will do whatever you tell it to do. So you want to be healthy, wealthy and happy? You want to meet the man or woman of your dreams? Of course you do! So, if your unconscious mind does whatever you tell it to do, how come it hasn’t made these things happen?

Because your unconscious listens to everything you tell yourself.

All the times you’ve ever doubted yourself, all the times you’ve ever thought you weren’t good enough, all the times you ever thought you didn’t deserve what you wanted were interpreted by your unconscious mind as direct commands to fail. At the end of the day, your unconscious weighs all the good suggestions you’ve given yourself–maybe 20 minutes a day?–and all the bad suggestions you’ve given yourself–how often was that?–and whichever is more wins.

In hypnosis, however, the door to the unconscious opens wide–the unconscious opens to positive suggestions from the conscious mind and really acts on them. Because of that, hypnosis can dissolve the link between feelings of security and harmful behaviors like alcoholism, smoking and overeating. Hypnosis allows your mind to overcome irrational fears, conquer the addictions that have been holding you back, and create the kind of life that you really want to live.

Hypnosis gives control of your life back to you.