Hypnosis is simply an altered state of consciousness that we all experience regularly without even realising it. Have you ever daydreamed? Ever driven somewhere and not remembered the journey? Got so engrossed in a task you haven’t noticed what's going on around you? Those are all forms of hypnosis. Athletes, artists and performers also use it to train the mind-body connection and get into the ultimate state of mind for the task in hand. In fact it’s so powerful, it’s used in place of, or as well as anaesthesia in many surgeries, including brain surgery.
Hypnotherapy is the therapeutic and clinical use of hypnosis. It is thought the REM state (when one is in the hypnagogic state, like just before you fall asleep) is when hypnosis is most valuable, this is when the unconscious mind is more suggestible and receptive to ideas and positive change.
Everything we’ve ever experienced through our five senses gets stored on the mind, much like data on a computer. By strengthening, forming, and repaving neural pathways, we can change old, negative thought and behaviour patterns with healthier, more productive ones. This can be done consciously by repeating and practising new thoughts, habits and behaviours which will eventually take over the old ones, but when we harness the power of the subconscious mind by cementing these new patterns with hypnosis, we can make big changes much more quickly and sustainably without our conscious minds creeping in and allowing us to sabotage our efforts.
Hypnosis has been used therapeutically for centuries, with the earliest references dating back to ancient Egypt and Greece. It was used to induce dreams to then analyse them. The word ‘hypnos’ is the Greek word for sleep and the name of the Greco-Roman god of sleep. A prevalent pioneer of hypnosis was Franz Mesmer (1734–1815). Interestingly, the word mesmerise derives from his name. More recent pioneers include Milton H. Erickson (1901-1980) and Dave Elman (1900-1967).
It’s a safe and effective method to treat a wide range of physical, mental and emotional issues.