I have been a Consulting Hypnotist for more than a decade, practicing in Palo Alto, California. Not only do I feel blessed by our beautiful weather, but also by the openness that hypnosis has received in this area. People here are very welcoming to alternate ways of healing and self-improvement, as complements to mainstream medical and therapeutic approaches. Only occasionally do I get a mostly jokingly surprised look by someone, saying, “Are you going to put me in a trance and make me do something silly when I look into your eyes?”
The truth is that a skilled hypnotist doesn’t so much put you into a trance rather he or she knows how to guide you out of your trance into a place of peace where you can see and live your full potential.
Let me explain what I mean.
Have you ever been in a very peaceful, calm and centered internal place and noticed how clear and focused your mind was, how easily you could access your intuition? A moment when you just knew what was right for you and you made decisions that were in your best interest easily and effortlessly. A moment where you simply felt at one with yourself knowing who you are.
Contrast this with what happens when you are experiencing a strong emotion like fear. Can you still think logically? Is your mind clear and focused? The answer is most likely “no” and it is not supposed to be, because fear activates the fight-flight or freeze response for survival. When in a situation of real or perceived harm or danger this fight-or-flight mechanism activates a cascade of chemical responses that prepare the body to either “fight or flight”. One of the most noticeable physical effects is an increase in heart rate, as well as blood flowing to the periphery of your body, away from the brain to the extremities. When this happens you might feel like you are having tunnel vision. In a situation like this there is no time to think. It’s time to act. That’s why, when fear hits us like this, we often experience a temporary impairment in our ability to make rational decisions.
For example, have you ever been talked into buying something out of fear that you might never need because it gave you a false sense of safety? I don’t know if you have noticed that a lot of advertisement is based on this principle. First they instill fear and then magically they have just the right solution to keep us “safe”. Fear is a great hypnotist because in a state of fear you don’t think clearly. It has been used by many leaders and emperors throughout history as a very effective tool.
Believe it or not, calm and peace is supposed to be our most natural state of being. This is where we function our best. How often do you find yourself in this place, especially with all the horrible news we hear every day, let alone our own daily stressors that seem to threaten our survival. Many of us find ourselves in a state of constant fear or worry. Fear leaves us vulnerable not smart. It keeps us from living up to our full potential. Some people stay in unhealthy personal or work relationships because they fear to be alone or not finding a better job that pays their bills. Fear is a powerful hypnotist. It keeps us in a trance.
Allow me to be even a little more specific.
In hypnosis we use a term called the Conscious Critical Faculty (CCF). In fact, the US government defines hypnosis as “the bypass of the Critical Faculty and the establishment of acceptable selective thinking.”
The CCF is used to describe the ability of our brain to compare new incoming information from our sensory organs to what we already know/ believe to be our “truth”. For example, people who grew up in a very safe and loving, supportive environment often feel very safe and secure in themselves. However, individuals who grow up constantly hearing how stupid or unlovable they are most likely learn to perceive themselves as just that. It has nothing to do with their innate truth, yet they start to believe and act as if it was true. When these individual later in life get praised for something well done or a confirmation of their lovability they might not be able to accept or even recognize it. The positive reinforcement is too foreign to the belief they already hold about themselves.
In healing hypnosis we use various techniques to bypass the Critical Faculty to access those subconsciously held beliefs and challenge them so the individual can live in harmony and alignment with who they really are. Creating happier, healthier more successful lives.
One might ask: “How did those erroneous beliefs get in there in the first place? Wouldn’t it be easy to just reject them?” It’s quite simple, strong emotions like fear also create a bypass of the Critical Faculty and suggestions, even if not true are more readily accepted especially when given repeatedly. Most of us have been surrounded by “hypnotists” throughout life to various degrees without even knowing it and a lot of this happens unintentionally. It doesn’t have to be an ill-meaning parent. Even a very loving parent/caregiver can create a fear-induced suggestion because they want to protect their loved ones from harm. I was working with a client once who was very afraid of dogs and didn’t know why. As I was working with her we uncovered when she was a baby her nanny always grabbing her to protect her when a dog would come close. Fear combined with the action created a message for the little girl that dogs are something to be afraid of. Children are by nature more susceptible to suggestions, especially until the age of 6.
However, adults can be equally receptive to powerful suggestions given by others especially authoritarian figures when combined with fear. Bruce Lipton describes this in his book “The Biology of Belief” as the “nocebo” effect, the power of negative beliefs, where a man diagnosed with esophageal cancer dies a few weeks after his diagnosis. Everyone in the medical community “knew” he would. The autopsy however, found very little cancer in his body. He might have died with cancer but in his case it was agreed upon that the cancer was not enough to kill him.
Once we undo fear we can uncover misbelieves and challenge the mind to a new and better belief system. We “un-hypnotize” the mind so to speak. As for the above example it is well known by now that hope and positive believes (the opposite of fear) have tremendous impact on the healing and recovery from illness. If the fear remains unchallenged we continue to live with limitations.
Especially in this time and day we all need a sense of community, belonging and support for each other in order to feel safe, happy and healthy. We are all in this world together. Togetherness not separation empowers and makes us feel safe. Fear creates invisible boundaries, isolation, and competition and can keep us from living to our full potential. People have been under the spell of fear for a long time. Now is the time to get UN-Hypnotized.
You might already know a professional hypnotist in your area who can help you with this. Make sure this person understands how emotions impact our mental and physical wellbeing and how to help you move through those. If you have more questions or would like to work with me in person or via Skype, feel free to contact me via phone 650-996-9911 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.