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You think in terms of 2 fundamental parts of the mind - the first part is your conscious mind. Your conscious mind is quite logical, sensible and reasonable. It’s “straight-line” thinking, coming to rational conclusions from the facts as you perceive them. Your everyday, waking mind. It’s easily overloaded since what it’s trying to do is complex.
The second is your subconscious (or unconscious) mind. Among other things it’s your survival mind, using imagination, emotion, creativity, rhythm. It’s working below conscious level so you’re not aware if it. Yet it is “on” 24 hours a day - e.g. dreaming when asleep, helping you react quickly to emergencies or danger. It also has a learning function, so if you learned how to drive, you’ll know it started out as consciously difficult, but is now unconsciously easy to do - you don’t think about it now.
Your subconscious is immensely useful to you, helping you do things automatically and quickly. If you always had to think consciously about walking it would be exhausting! It seems to accept habits as fine things to learn and automate whether good or bad - it doesn’t judge.
So “bad” habits like smoking or overeating are difficult to stop as this part of your mind controls your emotions and much of your behaviour quite powerfully via the nervous system. Emotional problems like anxiety or phobias get into the subconscious through one-off upsetting or painful events (it “learns” these circumstances are to be avoided), or through family or other conditioning.
When you’re thinking more subconsciously, but not asleep you could describe this as a state of hypnosis to greater or lesser degree.
Hypnosis is more like a form of daydreaming rather than natural sleep. This has been proved by EEG traces taken of people in hypnosis, compared to various stages of sleep.
Think of a time when you were reading a good book and your imagination carried you away as you read on. Or you were a car or train passenger and as the scenery went past you were caught up in a pleasant drift of ideas. You weren't asleep, but you were in an pleasant altered state of awareness where you were relaxed and focused on your thoughts. TV ads use “waking hypnosis”.
Someone might be skilled in hypnosis but do they know what to do properly with anxiety or depression for example? These usually need the more advanced skills of analytical hypnotherapy (or hypno-analysis).
The ability to do self-hypnosis is often a key skill needed and is something I train people to do for certain problems.
Taking a problem away is one thing; but it can also be important to learn skills or techniques through counselling, coaching and reading.
Q. Will I go "under"?
A. "Under" is usually thought to be "unconscious and out of control". The short answer is no.
Q. Is it like stage hypnosis?
A. Hypnotherapy’s purpose is to help, not entertain.
Q. Does it conflict with my moral or religious beliefs?
A. Not unless you feel that way. And I am not here to judge your views.
Q. Will I reveal things I don't want you to know?
A. You'll only talk about things if you want to.
Hypnosis is not something done to you. You remain in control and are allowed to go at your own pace. Only with your agreement can you make progress.
Registered therapists are bound by a strict code of ethics and confidentiality. I subscribe to the NCH and GHR Codes of Conduct - a condition of membership
A professional therapist proceeds on the basis of a sound understanding of their client’s case.