Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Power of Suggestion

I think most of us have been exposed to the concept of visualization - being able to produce changes in our lives by visualizing them occurring or using some similar method to keep us at least subconsciously aware of them, and thereby working toward them. I've read countless books about how it helps to have a collage of the things you want to have in life (a house, a car, vacation, etc) somewhere you can see it frequently - because even if you're not really focusing on it, your brain is still noticing it.

How many of us have put a picture of ourselves in a younger/thinner/happier place in life on our desks or refrigerators, to spur our brains to subconsciously get us back to that state? How many commercials or ads have you seen or listened to that you didn't even realize made an impression on you until weeks later, when you're in a situation where that product or service is suddenly needed or desired? All of those ideas are based on the ability of the human mind to react consciously and maybe more importantly, subconsciously to suggestion and to store that information or suggestion indefinitely at a subconscious level.

You know how well some of those tv commercials work to suggest to our brains that we're hungry, or need a new vehicle, or want to try a new product - and those are via 20-30 second spots, just catching you when you're relaxing comfortably in front of the tv. Now imagine really focusing your brain on something specific using similar theories for a focused period of time, while you're even more relaxed... imagine the changes you can make in your life! That is what therapeutic hypnosis is all about.

Many of you probably saw the poll in the right sidebar about hypnosis this past week. 50% of the people who responded said that either they themselves, or someone they knew, had used hypnosis to help with a health issue or unwanted behavioral issue and that hypnosis had been beneficial in helping them change their lives. The next largest group of respondents said that they wanted to learn more about it before they formed an opinion about it. Well, here is your opportunity.

Some of you may have noticed my little "handmade highway" button at the top of my blog. Kym Tolson LCSW, from Hypnotransformations, is one of my fellow hitchhikers on the handmade highway, and agreed to spend some time answering some of my questions about hypnosis. Kym is a Hypnotherapist certified by the National Board for Certified Clinical Hypnotherapists, as well as a licensed therapist with a Master's degree in social work. I'm a believer, having been hypnotized for the first time when I was 17, because I know it can help in so many different situations like relieving pain and unpleasant symptoms in cancer patients, as a way to reduce symptoms caused by stress, behavior modification for weight loss and smoking cessation, and so many other areas of our lives that we'd like to change. Here are the questions I asked Kym to answer to help you learn a little bit more about hypnosis, but if you have others, please post them here in the comments and Kym would be happy to address them for you!

Without getting too technical, can you explain a bit about brain wave states and how they relate to hypnosis? There are four major brain wave states, Beta (waking or conscious state), Alpha (Daydreaming or relaxed), Theta (hypnotic or meditative), and Delta (unconscious or asleep). Hypnosis is most effective during Alpha and Theta states. I find Theta is the most effective for hypnotic change. I use music in my sessions that is specifically orchestrated to induce the theta brain wave state. In Theta you can easily access past experiences and emotions even hypnoanesthesia (an alternative to anesthesia) can be induced in this state.

You can't really turn me into a bank robber who clucks like a chicken, can you? Lol!! Actually, a person will only do what they want to do in a hypnotic state. Hypnosis is just a state of deep relaxation. When a person is in hypnosis, they are always aware of what’s going on around them, they remain in control of everything they say and do. We have all seen stage hypnotists that make people cluck like a chicken but the truth is, the stage hypnotist chooses people that seem more likely to “perform” on stage.

How long has hypnosis been used as a medical therapy and what conditions does it produce excellent results for in most people? Anton Mesmer (1734 - 1815) is widely attributed as the modern father of hypnosis. Hence the word mesmerized. Ever since then, hypnosis has been used to treat medical conditions. I can best explain medical hypnosis by relating it to the placebo effect and the power of the mind. Hypnosis is about trance and if your mind believes the messages it is receiving, the body will believe it too. Hypnosis has been widely successful in treating chronic headaches, back pain, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, panic attacks, depression, obesity, and many more. It not only treats medical problems but many psychological issues as well. Some of my most popular hypnosis sessions treat self-esteem, poor organization, poor concentration, procrastination, and codependency to name a few.

Are people really asleep when they're hypnotized, or are they aware of their surroundings? As I stated before, people in hypnosis are usually in the Alpha or Theta States when in hypnosis. They are vaguely aware of their surroundings and can come out of hypnosis easily if they choose to. Some people do fall asleep while in hypnosis and some hypnotherapists would say this is less effective. However, I have seen positive affects even when people fall asleep during my hypnosis sessions.

Can everyone be hypnotized? Is there anything that can help or hinder a person's ability to be open to hypnotic suggestions? Have you ever driven down the road only to realize later you don’t remember the last five minutes of your trip? If you answered yes, then most likely you can be hypnotized because hypnosis really is just like daydreaming or being very relaxed. Actually, only about 5% of the population cannot be hypnotized, the rest of us will enter into a hypnotic state easily. About 10% of people will be hypnotized very deeply. But deep trance is not needed to have positive therapeutic effects. All that is needed for an effective hypnosis session is the willingness to be open to the process and a desire to change.

How long will it take hypnosis to really create changes in behavior? How long do suggestions last? Can they be "turned off"? Will I need a "booster shot"? I recommend listening to your hypnosis session at least twice a week for the first month and weekly for the second month. Hypnosis is more effective the more you listen so if you can find the time to listen; daily would be preferable. It’s scientifically proven that when you make a change that lasts for 21 days, it becomes a habit so I suggest two months to ensure the hypnosis will last permanently. The results of hypnosis actually compound after each session as you make consistent and effective lifestyle changes. These results can easily last a lifetime. If the hypnosis ever seems to “wear off” you can start the process over again. Usually one or two “booster” sessions will bring back the full effects of the first cycle of listening.

What about self-hypnosis - what is that? Actually hypnosis and self-hypnosis are interchangeable terms. Self-hypnosis better describes the experience of hypnosis because we are the only ones who can choose to enter into a hypnotic state. We can use a hypnotherapist as a conduit to enter the theta or alpha state or we can work towards training ourselves to become hypnotized. Self-hypnosis allows the mind to become more susceptible to suggestions than in a normal state of consciousness. With self-hypnosis, you can speak directly to your subconscious mind, and this will allow you some control over the ideas that are planted there and some ability to change those ideas.

Can I listen to your CDs at any time - like when I'm driving or doing precision work with my power tools? Choose a quiet place to listen to your hypnosis CD or mp3 download. Choose somewhere where you can relax without being disturbed for the duration of the session. You can listen if you have time during the day or at night right before bedtime. It is never suggested to listen while trying to operate heavy machinery or during a time where you need to be alert and aware of safety issues.

What kind of training is required to become a licensed hypnotherapist? This is a very interesting question and you will find many different opinions about the type of training that is necessary to become licensed hypnotherapist. I am licensed in my state as a Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). To become licensed I obtained my Master’s degree in social work and then after 2000 hours of supervised clinical work, I sat for an exam, which I passed to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. I then pursued my hypnotherapy training, which I learned over 80 hours of training. I was able to obtain the certification only after verification that I was licensed by the state to practice therapy. I highly recommend seeing a hypnotherapist that is licensed in the helping profession. I feel the clinical training is important in understanding the core issues relating to a specific issues.

A note from Kym - Thank you for taking the time to learn more about hypnosis. If you are interested in any of my sessions please feel free to contact me to discuss the process and content of the session. I would love to offer a 20% discount to any one that uses “mysticwynd” as a discount code during the checkout process. http://www.etsy.com/shop/Hypnotransformations.

A note from me - If you've ever considered hypnosis, now is the perfect time to make the decision to try it. Kym's shop has an amazing variety of CDs and MP3 downloads available to help you focus on many of the most common life issues. She also has some wonderful meditation tapes if you just need some help "quieting your mind." (and I will vouch that these types of meditation tapes work wonderfully well even if you're the type of person who really has trouble "relaxing" - like me!)

Once again, if you have any questions, please post them here (especially since someone else may have the same question but be a bit shy about asking) or feel free to contact Kym via her shop on Etsy - hypnotransformations - or her blog http://www.hypnotransformations.blogspot.com/ .
Transform your life!

Illustration - Green Goddess - 8x10 Print - available at EmilyBalivet on Etsy


Jac-Ber Creations said...

Thank you that was very imformative

Jess // CLineCreations said...

That was so interesting, thank you!

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