How does Hypnotherapy work?
To understand how Hypnotherapy works, you need to understand a little about how the brain works.
We have two distinct parts of the brain, our conscious side, which contains all our critical and analytical thoughts, the voice within our head which reasons with us when we make a decision, or think about making plans or changes, and our subconscious side, which basically works like a super computer, storing all our thoughts and movements, and performing ritual tasks in the body, like breathing, standing, walking, eating.
When you make a decision to go to bed for an example, although that is a conscious decision, it is your subconscious that activates all the nerves, muscles, sinews and tissue needed to get you there. You aren’t consciously aware of the difficulty of synchronising all the activity, so you move effortlessly across the floor, navigate the stairs, switch off the light etc.
Habits are all stored in the subconscious mind too. They are the go to program response, for example, I’m thirsty … automatic subconscious response, find a drink. I think of this as an automatic repeat setting for behaviour, subconscious says last action was X, and it worked so let’s do X. Then if you add in the body’s natural survival reaction, which you may have heard of as flight or fight, your body, rather like a drama queen, tends to over-react to situations, to overcompensate, giving you the very best survival possibility. For example, I’m hungry, a rational response would be, how hungry, do I just need a carrot? The body’s response to I’m hungry, tends to be QUICK, let’s get some high calorie, instant gratification in here now, the body is hungry, how can it possibly escape attack if there are no instant calories to burn?… we look for instant high calorie, the subconscious then kicks in with “Last time there were doughnuts in the kitchen”, we NEED doughnuts. You see how it works?
So when you make a conscious decision to change a life held habit, “Next time I see a spider, I am not going to run out of the room screaming, I’m going to get a glass and a piece of card, and trap it, after all it’s a living creature, which is tiny, logically, I really just need to get over this”. You see a spider… your body responds automatically, you run hysterically from the room screaming. It is your programming. If you fight this programming you CAN beat it, but it usually brings up some pretty interesting side effects, rooted to the spot in fear, sweating, headache, pretty much your whole body yelling at you “NO, this isn’t right! Follow the programme! It always worked before, it’s the way to go!”
So hypnotherapy, isn’t a magic wand to be waved at your fears, phobias, habits and addictions, but is a way of accessing the records held in the subconscious mind, and either, reprogramming them with a new appropriate response, or, going back to the very first instance of the behaviour, and understanding why the pattern was made, and seeing how a better response could have been made at that point in time.
You will note that this is two different approaches. You and your hypnotherapist can decide which approach you would rather take, suggestion, creating a new go-to belief or pattern to overwrite the existing one, or regression, going down through the memory records to the first instance of the behaviour and rewriting behaviour at that point.
Of the two approaches, suggestion is often the quicker, as when using regression to find the initial habit can be a little time consuming, what we think is the first instance of the behaviour often isn’t , and so we have to clear many blockages to get to the root of the problem.
So basically Hypnotherapy works, by getting your subconscious on board with your conscious decisions, so instead of automatically sabotaging your efforts, it actually backs up your new and improved behaviour.