September 7, 2017

Hypnosis and the “Minds”

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:24 am by kellyfdennis

I am excited to have had much interest in hypnotherapy since my previous blog post about it. I have also had people ask more specific questions about the subconscious, unconscious, and conscious minds. While there are many different ideas about this, I think Gerald Kein and Calvin Banyan describe it well when trying to understand how hypnosis works. Essentially, the subconscious mind is really the part of our consciousness that defines who we are and what we do on a consistent basis. All together it makes up our personality. The subconscious mind starts off empty when it is first developed before you are born, and then starts gathering information from our experiences and perceptions about what is going on around you. This gathered information is held in our permanent memory, containing all the information that we gather throughout our lives. It is like a computer database. Unlike a computer database, this permanent memory seems to be unlimited in how much information that it can hold, and it can retain that information throughout our lives (unless the brain is damaged by physical trauma or disease).

Some of this information in the subconscious mind is turned into habits and cause us to react automatically to people and circumstances in our lives. This information is also developed into beliefs. Beliefs are things that we think to be true, even though we may not have definite proof. Having definite proof would allow us to be in a state of knowing rather than a believing.

The subconscious mind resists change, which is mostly beneficial to us. It conserves a great deal of mental energy. This enables us to maintain a consistent personality throughout our lives, but can cause problems when we decide that a change in how we think, feel or behave is in order. This is where hypnosis comes in. Hypnosis allows us to rapidly make changes in how we think, feel and behave.

The subconscious mind is always working to protect us from what we “know” (meaning believe) to be dangerous. As our perceptions about what is going on around us interacts with our beliefs about how things “should be,” it generates emotions. When the Subconscious Mind perceives what it believes to be a dangerous situation it generates fear. When it perceives that you have been treated unfairly, it will generate anger, as an example. Hypnosis can directly affect these beliefs and habits in a way that using the conscious mind alone can rarely accomplish.

The unconscious mind could be thought of as the body’s consciousness. It is developed before birth and is fully programmed knowing how to take care of all the things it needs to in order to keep a body running smoothly. It knows how to breathe, defend itself from infections, digest food, and so on.

The unconscious mind is intelligent and can learn. This was proven by the work of Ivan Pavlov when he showed that these autonomic responses, in this case salivation, could be trained by pairing automatic responses with other stimuli, such as training a dog to salivate to the sound of a bell, after the bell had been paired with a little bit of food.

Sometimes the unconscious mind, meaning well, will program us to do things that are not in our best interest, such as the child who learns to feel sick to avoid going to school. The unconscious mind can then learn to actually generate symptoms such as headaches or stomachaches in order to protect us from stressful situations. The unconscious mind is always working to protect us, and not just against infections and injury. Fortunately, hypnotherapy can be used to overcome this unfortunate accidental programming.

The conscious mind is really a focus of consciousness. It is filled with what we are attending to at any particular moment. It is logical in its approach to dealing with what you are attending to consciously. It is a great protector and problem solver. It does this by thinking through new situations that confront us.

However, the conscious mind is very limited.  It has been said that the conscious mind is only able to hold about seven to nine bits of information at any particular time.

Because the conscious mind is so limited when compared to the subconscious mind it is easy to see why most people find it challenging to make significant changes in their lives through conscious effort alone. Making these changes at the subconscious level creates long lasting change in our lives. Here again is where hypnosis comes in and can help you to make the changes you really want.

What is the “Critical Factor”?

Some say that it is an aspect of the conscious mind. Some find it helpful to think that it is set between the conscious and subconscious mind. It doesn’t really matter where it is placed in the stages of consciousness so much as what it does. The critical factor is the function of the mind that decides that new information is either “true” or “not true,” or at least worthy of significant doubt. That which is deemed to be “untrue” information still enters your subconscious mind, but it goes into that database of Information. This new information is then known to the subconscious mind, but given little or no credibility. There it is unlikely to ever change the existing beliefs or habits. That which is deemed to be “true” reinforces the long-standing habits and beliefs inside of us.

It is the responsibility to the critical factor to keep what is in the subconscious mind consistent. This saves a great deal of mental energy, if the subconscious mind had to regularly rearrange its contents, especially habits and beliefs, constantly reorganizing it would be mentally exhausting.

So unless the critical factor is provided convincing information, so strong that it is able to overcome existing beliefs and habits, new information is simply recorded, but not integrated into our personality and consistent behaviors. It just resides in the subconscious database, not to be acted upon.

This is where hypnosis comes in; it causes a bypass of the critical factor. This allows a person to accept suggestions at both the subconscious and unconscious levels of the mind.

The essence of the critical fact is that of being protective, and as long as the suggestions that are given to you during hypnosis are not going to endanger you, the critical factor will remain in a state of bypass so that the individual can easily accept suggestions. There is no state of hypnosis that can overcome this protective function.

When you work with a hypnotherapist, you will simply be using the natural ability of hypnosis to bypass the limiting beliefs so that you can use more of your mind than you do in the regular state of mind.

Thanks for being curious! Be Well and Have a Wonderful Day!

 

stefdennis

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