Hypnotherapy - The Mindful Application of Consciousness
Almost every aspect of life is consequential of the way our brain and mind function (and the mind is a mere function of the brain itself); although one exception to that is our reflex responses. So, that being the case, any change we make in thought, behaviour or feeling must also have a corresponding change in the way our brain-mind functions! When it comes to the difficulties we can experience in our lives, it is usually the case that a novel and/or series of similar, sometimes opposing, events progressively have occurred and these have the potential to strengthen our neural activity, often to the point where it becomes habitual. One notable exception being our fear and defence system, the fight or flight response. This is simply because we may not have the luxury of repeated attempts to avoid a life-threatening situation. In that sense, our defensive systems will respond to known, suspected or novel stimuli, often without awareness of the exact cause!
In that vein, anxiety disorders rarely occur instantly, they are usually progressive in nature and often lead to (subconscious) avoidance strategies, i.e. if I don't do this . . . . then I won't become anxious. The same logic applies to almost all human psychological disorders or issues. Using this as an example, it becomes easier to understand that hypnosis affects change by making alterations in brain activity. Eventually, these changes also become habitual and therefore; permanent. Hypnosis is a process akin to the natural way that the brain consolidates and reconsolidates memories, while we are in sleep states. Hypnosis, as a treatment, occurs when we are in these sleep states, i.e. theta brainwave activity, wherein we experience REM and NonREM sleep. The world of dreams is seemingly the same world as that of hypnosis! A modality that works with the brain, in its own unique way, a state of mindfulness.
As an example, have you ever said something that was misconstrued, maybe even twisted or distorted? These anomalies mostly occur in the mind of the listener(s) and more often than not, the listener will have an awareness of a change in their emotional state, a nice state if they have a positive misinterpretation and an unpleasant one if it is negative. However, it is when we are the listener; the one that misconstrues, twists or distorts the messages from the outside world (verbal and nonverbal), that a disorder can develop. The solution to the problem is achieved by changing the way the brain processes these messages from the outside world. These messages come in the form of sensory input through our five senses; although I believe there is sixth, almost ubiquitous, sense; the subconscious! In a general sense, positive life change occurs when our ability to self manage the mind brings about neural adaptions to brain function. The Hypnotherapist assumes the role of a facilitator, who initiates and inculcates the desired changes, at a neurological level, the client seeks. That said, this is usually only possible with a normally functioning brain. The presence of psychopathology or organic brain disorder may indicate the necessity of a mainstream medical intervention.
Because Hypnosis taps into the functioning brain, via the subconscious, it is akin to rewriting our neural code. This is similar to making a change to the code in a computer programme. The change occurs on the computers hard drive (brain), via a keyboard, mic or other methods of communication (subconscious mind), change the code, change the outcome! The subtle way in which a hypnotic prescription (the words used) is delivered while the client is in a hypnotic trance, is the core reason for the effectiveness and permanence of any hypnotherapeutic intervention. This deep brain/mind work is the essential link that enables the necessary parts of our neural world and is a vital component for resolving or healing emotional and psychological disorders.
The way this occurs is through the natural processes that the brain goes through while we sleep at night. The hippocampus is the seat of most of our memory and it is also the place where certain neural stem cells (nsc) come from (subgranular zone of the dentate gyrus). These, nsc, play an important role in the formation of new and evolving memories. In addition to that, theta brainwaves also emanate from the hippocampus, which plays an important role in memory consolidation and reconsolidation. When we go to sleep at night another set of brain waves join the process, these are called PGO (ponto-geniculo-occipital) waves, which are short electrical bursts of neural activity. PGO waves precede REM sleep and once we are in REM sleep, the production of norepinephrine is almost totally shut down. Norepinephrine is produced in the locus coereleus, part of the brainstem, near where the PGO waves begin. Norepinephrine is the precursor to the stress response, so almost shutting that down aids in providing calmer states, presumably to help us get a good nights sleep but also to aid in the process of memory consolidation. While we are asleep the brain converts new memory from a labile, unstable state, to a stable one, long term memory! When we recall a memory it again becomes unstable and, through sleep, gets reconsolidated (changed/updated). It is this process that has the potential to distort and/or corrupt childhood memories which either lead to a psychological disorder or change or adapt an existing one. Hypnosis appears to work with the consolidation/reconsolidation process because PGO waves are stimulated by auditory signals (the hypnotist's voice), which, theoretically, means the normal dream/consolidation process is enhanced through the addition of mindful hypnotherapeutic interventions.
Sometimes, for unknown reasons, some people can make these, hypnotically induced, changes at an alarmingly fast pace but for most of us it takes a little more time and effort; hence the need for multiple sessions. My experience, understanding and acceptance of this difference led me to develop different types of treatment strategies, therefore creating a more balanced and tailored treatment for each individual client. My Trans4mational Therapy is for the treatment of the vast majority of "normal client" issues and Rapid Session Therapy is for those clients who respond very profoundly to hypnosis (somnambulists). Essentially we all respond differently to different things and the various ways individual clients respond to hypnosis does not imply any deficiency in who we are, merely that we are different; if not unique! Therefore it makes perfect sense that different strategies, that maximize each client's hypnotic capability and experience, be applied to produce the best effect for the overall treatment!
Not unsurprisingly, one of the best ways to make an informed decision is by experience. That is why I offer a Free, No-Obligation Consultation. During the Free Consultation, you are invited to try Hypnosis. It is following this Hypnotic experience that you are better able to make an informed and more effective decision about your forward options for creating the difference you want in your life. You can find more information about my Free Consultation here