To understand how hypnosis works, we must first decide how the brain works. I am no biologist and have never seen a brain close up before so you will have to stick with me. I will describe it how I understand it to work and in turn how hypnosis does. The brain is split into two bits called states of consciousness. So let’s imagine the brain as a pie:
The Conscious Mind
The conscious mind was described In Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theory of personality, the conscious mind consists of everything inside of our awareness. So like me, you may well be thinking, what does that mean?
Well simply put it is the bit of the brain that stores memory’s (stored in our precociousness), controls feelings and emotions. As well as this, our inhibitions, our fears, and our habits are stores here as well. Simply put, the conscious mind is…… well it’s you.
Now this Sigmund Freud’s person (a very clever individual) says that the unconscious mind is the bits are stored that aren’t in our conscious mind are stored (a lot of it bad stuff we want to forget). The important bit here is that these thoughts, memories, and feeling stored in the unconscious mind play a big part in the way we act while our conscious mind is in control. In fact, the unconscious mind processes a lot more information than the conscious mind at any one time.
So… What Does That Have To Do With Hypnosis?
Well, hypnosis, in a nutshell, distracts the conscious mind (like when you walk past a candy store and point out something in the street so your kids don’t notice….. Just me???) and interacts with the unconscious bit.
Let’s put things in perspective here. We have all done things using our unconscious mind. How many times have you driven to work and got there without really realizing? Well, that’s because your unconscious mind controls and processes it for you. If you had to consciously think about everything you did, you would never get anything done.
So hypnosis works by re-programming the unconscious bit of your mind while the conscious bit is distracted. This makes all those habits like smoking and overeating become….. well…. less of a habit I guess.
So when you come to learn hypnosis, the first thing you will/should do is learn all about this. You will then learn how you distract the conscious mind to allow you to delve into the unconscious and start to alter people’s perceptions and habits.
One thing that may be worth noting here is that although it is the client’s unconscious mind you are working with, the conscious mind stays in control. What that means is that if you tried to hypnotize someone to act in a manner they would not like to do (rob a bank for example), then stop now because it won’t work.
Learning how to hypnotize someone is not a get quick rich scheme or something that can be achieved in a few hours. It takes real dedication and commitment to do it but once you have, you won’t look back. Learn more about hypnotherapy schools.
Past To Present – A History Of Hypnosis
Hypnosis has been around in various forms since history began. It was used for religious practices and the healing capabilities that hypnosis offers. It has also been used in unexpected areas such as when rearing livestock in the 16th century to psychological experiment in the 18th century. Hypnotic trances have been around for over 3000 years.
In ancient India, the Hindus took the sick to “sleep temples”. Here they could be treated by the power of suggestion. Some more precursors to modern day hypnosis include Apollonius of Tyana in the third century CE and special “temple sleep” practices of the Asclepian cult in ancient Greece. Hypnosis is even mentioned by William Shakespeare who describes an altered state, resembling hypnosis.
Dr. Franz Anton Mesmer (1733 – 1815) was recorded to have cured a female patient who suffered convulsions using his “cosmic fluid” theory to direct her energy flows through her body to cure her illnesses. His animal magnetism was the foundation of modern-day hypnosis but its benefits were given little credit. It is here, however, the term mesmerization was coined.
James Braid developed the term hypnosis (meaning sleep in Greek) in 1842 and it has been medically approved for over 115 years. Called The Farther Of Hypnotism, Braid disregarded Mesmer’s theories and explained the physiological process was caused by prolonged attention to moving/bright objects.
Braid’s concluded that hypnotism was due to a physiological condition of the nerves. He believed that hypnotic sleep was brought about by fatigue of the eyelids, or by other influences wholly within the subject. His ideas were supported by a renowned physiologist called Carpenter Neither men could get the medical organizations to give hypnosis any thought or even to investigate its benefits.
Braid used hypnotism to treat both psychological and physical conditions. At the same time as Braid’s work James Esdaile (1808-1859) performed numerous surgical operations in India using an only hypnotic suggestion for anesthesia.
Despite the British Medical Association endorsing the use of hypnosis and its theories in 1892, it was still largely ignored. Fast forward to 1955 and the BMA approved hypnosis in disciplines such as psychoneuroses and hypno-anesthesia, also in pain management for childbirth and surgery.
It was then that hypnosis became widely accepted and the use of modern-day hypnosis techniques for healing and entertainment purposes were developed.