What is Self-Hypnosis?
The first step in getting into self-hypnosis is relaxing. When you are relaxed enough the part of your mind that worries and nags you is turned off. That part is called the Critical Faculty. Then you relax even more and enter a light trance state. In self-hypnosis you are relaxed and more in touch with your feelings and your body. You have shifted control from your conscious mind to your deeper unconscious mind. Now you are ready to make changes.
(For more on the science of self-hypnosis, see the last question.) (Have a different question? Go to ASK DR. GLESS)
How does self-hypnosis work?
In self-hypnosis you can make changes because you are more connected to your automatic programming which is stored in your unconscious mind. It is very difficult to change your automatic behavior with will power. Will power is controlled by our conscious mind.
If you have a problem with low desire for sex or with premature ejaculation, it is almost impossible to use will power to change that. You have to get down to the place where your automatic programming lies in your unconscious mind. And since self-hypnosis gets you in touch with your unconscious mind, you can make changes.
The big plus to self-hypnosis is that your critical faculty is turned off. The critical faculty gives you messages like, “I’ve tired and I just can’t change. I’ll never get over this problem.” When the critical faculty is turned off, all that negative thinking is turned off too. You are now able to re-write your automatic programming and get the results you want and need in your life.
Can I go into self-hypnosis?
The amazing thing about self-hypnosis is that we do it all the time. Hypnosis and self-hypnosis are really just focused attention. Whenever you are concentrating on a task such as watching a TV show, reading a book or communicating on the Internet, you are focusing your attention and entering a light hypnotic state that increases the power of your mind. Self-hypnosis channels this power and concentrates it on changing the old programs that produce self-defeating behavior.
Some people have difficulty going into self-hypnosis because they are extremely intellectual and analyze every word. They won’t let themselves relax and let go of an overactive critical faculty. Others are very anxious and fearful, making it difficult to relax. For those who are willing to relax into the hypnotic state, self-hypnosis is easier and becomes easier with each session.
I have heard stories about how self-hypnosis have really helped some people and how it has failed to help others. Why is that?
For self-hypnosis to work, you have to allow yourself to go into a deeper state of awareness. Those who are either anxious or very intellectual or both may experience difficulty getting into self-hypnosis. However I have seen people with these problems get results when they were willing to take a chance and let go.
People who really get into the experience of self-hypnosis and feel the changes in the bodies and their minds get the best results from self-hypnosis. If you can let the program do its work and trust in the wisdom of the deeper levels of your mind, you will get great results.
Another problem is that most self-hypnosis programs get you into a self-hypnotic state and then deliver simple suggestions to change. Sometimes this works, but often it isn’t enough. Suggestions will work if you already know what the change you want feels like and have a good idea of what it is. For example, if you know what giving a speech with confidence feels like, a few simple suggestions to be confident in front of a group may be enough. But if you don’t really know what real confidence feels like, the suggestions won’t help. The bottom line is that to make changes in your life you need positive suggestions and a good experience of the change you want to make.
Is your program any better?
The difference between run-of-the-mill self-hypnosis cds and ours is that our self-hypnosis sessions guide you into a powerful experience of the change you want to make. Then we give you suggestions to make that change.
When you experience the change you want to make in a self-hypnotic state, your deeper mind sets to work to make that change a reality. The right hemisphere is more open to experiences and feelings than it is to suggestions. Suggestions have value, but, like a picture, an experience is worth a thousand words.
Am I going to be controlled?
This is both the hope and the fear of people who are interested in hypnosis but have never experienced it. People secretly want to be controlled and forced to change while at the same time they are afraid of what might happen if they really change. One big advantage of self-hypnosis and the use of self-hypnosis CDs is that you know you are fully in control. Any time you want to, you can stop and turn off the CD.
There are no hidden or subliminal suggestions on these CDs. What you hear is what you get. Research shows that subliminal suggestions have very little real value. By relaxing and letting positive images and suggestions flow into your unconscious mind, you begin the process of transformation. You really are in the driver's seat.
What does self-hypnosis feel like?
Usually during a self-hypnosis session you will feel comfortable and relaxed. Sometimes you will enter a deeper state and experience a comfortable drifty feeling somewhat like daydreaming. Some people report that at times they felt like "my mind just went somewhere else for a while." This is the experience of deep relaxation and letting the unconscious mind take charge. It is a special time during which your unconscious mind is reorganizing its understandings and developing new abilities. This may last for a few minutes or for just a second or two.
The depth of self-hypnosis doesn't matter when it comes to therapeutic results. A light relaxed state is as effective as a deeper state. What makes a difference is the extent to which you are open to new understandings and abilities. When you just relax and let it happen, you have the most wonderful results.
Is there any scientific proof that self-hypnosis exists?
Until recently we had no idea how self-hypnosis and hypnosis really worked. There were lots of theories, but no scientific proof. Now we can state with certainty that there are four steps to entering hypnosis. This is based on the results of scientific research by Dr. Helen J. Crawford of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute.
The first thing to understand is that hypnosis and self-hypnosis work in the same way. You go through the same steps in getting into the hypnotic state in both hypnosis and self-hypnosis. It all begins with relaxing and focusing your attention. You may listen to the hypnotist’s voice or count your breaths or stare at a candle. This puts your left hemisphere to work. Your left hemisphere is in charge of directing your attention and thinking logically. The left hemisphere is the analytic part of the brain. It handles mathematics and complex reasoning.
The next step is calming down the frontal part of your brain. This is the part of your brain that plans things and makes judgments. It is also in charge of worrying and telling you what you can and can’t do. In hypnosis we call this the critical faculty. As this part of your brain takes it easy,
you stop your negative thinking and you are open to new possibilities, new ways of doing things.
The final step is switching from the left to the right hemisphere. The right hemisphere is in charge of the bigger picture. It is connected to your emotions and the process going on in your body. This is also where you store your automatic programming.
So the bottom line is, in self-hypnosis you are relaxed and you have stopped worrying. You are in touch with your emotions, your body and your automatic programming. You are ready to make positive changes in your life.
Thank you and I look forward to helping you,
Karen Gless, PhD