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What is Hypnosis and how does Hypnotherapy work?

Hypnosis has been a thing since the 1800s. While nobody can actually agree on a single definition of what hypnosis actually is, here’s an explanation of how it works and the purpose of it. 

What is hypnotherapy and hypnosis?

What is hypnosis?

Hypnosis is a goal-directed communication process between a hypnotist and one or more subjects. It involves the hypnotist giving instructions and suggestions to the person that, if accepted and acted upon by them, facilitates conscious and subconscious learning, and that learning creates a temporary or permanent change in the person’s subjective reality. 

In other words: 

Hypnosis is a state of hyperfocus and suggestibility, tapping into the unconscious mind. It’s goal-directed so it always has a purpose and intention behind it, and is a communication process where suggestions are made to unconsciously change the way a person thinks, feels and behaves, in order to create change in their reality, either temporarily or permanently. 

It can be used to help with changing beliefs and unconscious behaviours and thought patterns that are unhelpful and limiting to a person’s life. It’s a way of helping you to change your mindset, which in turn will change how you feel, how you act, and ultimately your outcomes in life. 

The client plays an active role in programming themselves. Everything we’ve learned is a part of our neural network, and hypnotherapists work with neuroplasticity to fast track change. 

During a Hypnotherapy session, the conscious mind takes a back seat, and the subconscious mind becomes more open to suggestions for changes and new ways of thinking. 

Hypnosis is a heightened state of suggestibility. There's a trance-like state through relaxation techniques, allowing access to the subconscious mind. 

the unconscious versus conscious mind

The conscious versus unconscious mind 

There’s no such thing as a conscious and an unconscious mind. You have one mind.

However, the conscious and unconscious mind is commonly used as a metaphor for explaining the difference between what we’re consciously thinking about, and what’s in our mind but not being consciously thought about (the unconscious). 

If you’ve heard of Freud’s “Iceberg model’, he said the unconscious mind is like an iceberg. The part of what we see is the conscious mind, but what we don’t see is the other 90% is unconscious and it has the most influence on our automatic thoughts, behaviours and way of interacting with the world. 

The conscious mind 

This is seen as the limited part o f the mind that allows us to be aware of things. Things in our immediate awareness are in our conscious mind. We have the ability to analyse things, make judgements about what’s right and wrong, and it’s the part of the mind that tells us what’s possible. 

The unconscious mind 

This part of our mind is a storehouse of all the experiences we’ve had throughout our lives and everything we’ve learned. It’s responsible for determining how we interact and respond to the world around us, and is on autopilot. It’s not as rigid or analytical as our conscious awareness, and this is the part of the mind that stores our beliefs and that hypnosis aims to work on. 

The purpose of the unconscious mind is survival - we’re wired to react for our survival without needing to think. 

Your mind’s awareness is changing all the time. Instead of it being like an iceberg it’s more like a basketball floating on water, where you only have a small amount in your awareness at any given time, the rest is under the surface, but can come up at any time. 

Hypnotherapy enables us to tap into the unconscious and facilitate change at an unconscious level, which then changes the way we think, feel and behave in general. 

Have questions or want to learn more?

If you’d like to try hypnotherapy, book a free consult with me – I’m a certified life coach, hypnotherapist and accredited cognitive behavioural therapy practitioner who specialises in helping ambitious peeps like you to reinvent themselves from the inside-out and achieve their biggest goals. 

Thanks for reading! If you want more, check out my other blogs, follow me on TikTok: @janelle.keesue and Instagram: @janellekeesue. You can also book a free session with me here

About the author, Janelle Kee-Sue

Janelle Kee-Sue is a Certified Life and Mindset Coach, accredited Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Practitioner, Self-Hypnosis and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) Practitioner, and is completing a Diploma in Advanced Clinical Hypnotherapy and NLP with the New Zealand School of Professional Hypnotherapy. Based in Wellington, New Zealand, she specialises in helping people to change their thinking so they can change their lives; to reprogram their negative thought patterns, banish limiting beliefs for good, learn techniques for being less stressed and anxious, more emotionally regulated, positive and resilient, so they can achieve any goal, and lead happier, more fulfilling lives. In her spare time, you’ll find her at the gym, working on her novel, or hanging with her floofy Samoyed Zeus and her husband Ricky. Learn more about Janelle.


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