Why Does Hypnosis Work?

Creating Stories in The Mind

The mind is the greatest super computer we know. It is designed to adapt to the ever-changing circumstances that life presents to it. This is done with the assistance of the 5 senses, and dare I say it, the psychic 6th sense. The stimulus from the outside world constantly bombards the individuals senses, which then get interpreted by the brain and nervous system.
Now essentially, each individual has to figure out methods in order to survive, since we are born with very few built-in survival instincts. We all share 2 common fears which serve to assist our survival and that is 1) a fear of falling, and 2) a fear of loud sounds. However, for the most part, we need to be able to constantly adapt to our ever-changing environment. This is where the power of our internal stories come in to play. The brain is a master at combining feelings with associated internal images. Once an association is made, and the neural pathway has been secured, a memory is created, which can go on to create beliefs, values, habits and behaviours. This is a vital component to the energy saving needs of the brain, as once a snapshot is created, it can be used over and over again, any time a similar event happens that require the same or similar coping mechanisms that helped the individual survive its last encounter with that environment situation. In order for a sense of reliability to be created, the brain must recognise which strategies it used to help the individual survive the situation that is was presented with. Once recognised, it can store all of this like a template for future use. Most people aren’t even aware all of this is happening, but it can become a bit more clear when we consider how some people over-react to situations, where others will not react at all. This can be noticed in things such as irrational phobias and anxiety triggers. Such as when a person is afraid of spiders, their brain will exaggerate the experience so the person can get to “safety” as fast as possible. The story in that person’s mind is highly dramatized compared to someone who has no such fear.

Hypnosis And Change-Work

While phobias are an obvious example, it is important to recognise that similar coping mechanisms are happening to everyone, all the time, as we go through life. While it can often be difficult to identify “less than” constructive behaviour patterns, it can often be quite noticeable to an individual that there does seem to be some sort of pattern in their life that keeps repeating itself, even though on the surface, it doesn’t comply with the person’s current needs and values.

This is where the effective strategies of hypnosis can be used to create the changes that are required.
Hypnosis shares many similarities to a state in sleep known as REM (rapid eye movement). During a REM cycle a person will most likely experience the visual fantasy of dreams that can evoke powerful emotional reactions.
While hypnosis is not sleep, it does seem to be able to access those parts of the brain that allow the creation of the inner visual/emotional story. While the brain may not be creating actual visual stories at the moment when a coping mechanism is created, it does give the output of a visual story for the conscious mind to hold on to. At this point, it is important to remember that even though events in life are real, the memory of those events are nothing but mere fantasy. It only seems real to the individual because there is an associated emotion connected to the event that gets triggered in real time to bring the story to life. For example, think of something unfair that happened to you recently… Got it?… Right. Now feel the emotion that is currently coming up. That emotion is as close as you will ever get to the reality of that past moment. The memory of it is just an assumption of what may have happened, and tends to discount most of the bits of reality surrounding that event that your mind felt were irrelevant to the memory.

The above is important to recognise because it is displaying the story to the conscious mind, so that should you want to create positive changes in your life, it will be these kind of stories that, while in the hypnotic state, will be addressed and altered. During hypnosis, we show those parts of the mind that while its old coping mechanisms may have worked in the past, that currently it may be holding the person back from living a fulfilled life. We also show that part of the mind that time has moved on, the person has grown and become wiser as a result, and can therefore “update” its own story with more empowering and confident strategies. This can all be created, rehearsed, and acted upon in an almost simulation-type environment during hypnosis, which is commonly known as change-work. The interesting aspect of this change-work process is that once there is a positively stimulated emotion that gets associated to the simulation, the brain will not be able to distinguish reality from fantasy. Why this is so fascinating is because new neural networks will be created so that a “template” of the situation can be designed, which will then become a new reliable coping mechanism for the individual. This new coping mechanism will have all the right configurations to help the individual make better decisions and life choices in the future. Therefore, freeing the person from the negative cycle of the past.

Thanks for reading,

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